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Griffin v. Leconte

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Martinsburg

January 2, 2018

MARTIN JOHN LUTHER GRIFFIN, Plaintiff,
v.
PIERRE LECONTE, Acting Residential Reentry Manager, EMILY GILLESPIE, Director of Dismas Charities, and DISMAS CHARITIES, Residential Reentry Center, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ROBERT W. TRUMBLE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         On July 27, 2017, the pro se Plaintiff, who was then a federal prisoner incarcerated at West Virginia's Central Regional Jail, initiated this case by filing an action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), claiming a due process violation, unspecified “discrimination”, and a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. ECF No. 1. This matter is pending before the undersigned for an initial review and Report and Recommendation pursuant to LR PL P 2 and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. Underlying Criminal Conviction in the Northern District of West Virginia case number 1:13-CR-72.

         On September 4, 2013, Plaintiff was indicted in the Northern District of West Virginia in a three-count indictment charging him with three counts of distribution of heroin within 1000 feet of a protected location. ECF No. 1[1]. On November 14, 2013, pursuant to a plea agreement, Plaintiff entered a guilty plea to distribution of heroin, a lesser included offense of Count 1, in exchange for cooperation with the Government, and dismissal of the remaining counts of the indictment. ECF No. 23. On March 26, 2014, the District Court sentenced Plaintiff to 30 months of incarceration, with credit for time served since March 24, 2014, followed by three years of supervised release. ECF No. 37. On April 8, 2016, the Court modified the conditions or term or supervision and ordered Plaintiff to be “placed at Dismas Charities in Clarksburg, West Virginia for 6 months. . . until successfully discharged.” ECF No. 42 at 1. Plaintiff's supervised release began on May 24, 2016. ECF No. 49. On November 4, 2016, an arrest warrant was issued for Plaintiff based on a supervised release violation petition. ECF Nos. 51, 52. On November 22, 2016, the Court revoked Plaintiff's supervised release and ordered him to be imprisoned for 12 months, with credit for time served from November 4, 2016. ECF No. 66.

         On November 23, 2016, Plaintiff appealed the Court's November 22, 2016 judgment. ECF No. 68. On April 10, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment. ECF No. 78. According to the Bureau of Prisons website, Plaintiff was released from BOP custody on November 3, 2017.

         B. The Instant Complaint in 3:17-CV-89.

         Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on July 27, 2017, while serving the 12-month sentence imposed by the Court on November 22, 2016. The complaint alleges three grounds for relief: (1) “Violation of due process”; (2) “Discrimination”; and (3) “Eighth Amendment”. ECF No. 1 at 7 - 8. On the same date, Plaintiff filed a motion to proceed without prepayment of fees, and his Prisoner Trust Account Report. ECF Nos. 2, 3. On August 30, 2017, the Court entered an order directing Plaintiff to file ledger sheets. ECF No. 5. On September 8, 2017, the Fiscal Clerk at the Central Regional Jail filed a letter in response to the Court's August 30, 2017, order which advised that Plaintiff was not incarcerated in that facility until July 10, 2017 and provided records for that time period. ECF No. 6.

         III. Standard of Review

         A. Pro Se Litigants.

         Because Petitioner is a prisoner seeking redress from a governmental entity or employee, the Court must review the complaint to determine whether it is frivolous or malicious. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court is required to perform a judicial review of certain suits brought by prisoners and must dismiss a case at any time if the Court determines that the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         Courts must read pro se allegations in a liberal fashion. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, a complaint is frivolous if it is without arguable merit either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989) (superseded by statute). The Supreme Court in Neitzke recognized that:

Section 1915(d)[2] is designed largely to discourage the filing of, and waste of judicial and private resources upon, baseless lawsuits that paying litigants generally do not initiate because of the costs of bringing suit and because of the threat of sanctions for bringing vexatious suits under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. To this end, the statute accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual ...

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