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Stokes v. Price

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 17, 2019

GEORGE W. STOKES, Plaintiff,
v.
ERIC PRICE, et al., Defendants.

          George W. Stokes, Plaintiff Pro se.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff George W. Stokes, presently incarcerated in the Atlantic County Jail in Mays Landing, New Jersey, seeks to bring a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Eric Price, Detective John Doe, and the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office. See ECF No. 1.

         At this time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without prejudice. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges Detectives Eric Price and John Doe came to his house in October 2017 and “began questioning [him] concerning charges [they were] planning on charging [him] with.” ECF No. 1 at 5. Plaintiff told them he was represented by counsel, but the detectives told him it was a new procedure. Id. Plaintiff was questioned again on December 6, 2017 without his attorney. Id. He was subsequently arrested after a court appearance on December 6, 2017. Id. at 6.

         Detective Price continued to question Plaintiff while he was detained. Id. John Doe was present for all interrogations but did not stop Detective Price. Id. On June 3, 2019, Plaintiff won a motion declaring that his right to remain silent had been violated. Id.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. The Court must sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and is incarcerated.

         To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). “‘A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Claims Based on Suppressed Statements

         Plaintiff seeks damages for being incarcerated on charges that he was indicted on after the violation of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

         To the extent the complaint alleges violations of Plaintiff's Fifth Amendment rights, he has failed to state a claim. “[V]iolations of the prophylactic Miranda procedures do not amount to violations of the Constitution itself.” Giuffre v. Bissell, 31 F.3d 1241, 1256 (3d Cir. 1994); see also Chavez v. Martinez, 538 U.S. 760, 767 (2003). “[I]t is the use of coerced statements during a criminal trial, and not in obtaining an indictment, that violates the ...


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