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Lyons v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

June 6, 2017




         On June 16, 2016, Plaintiff Montreal Romarius Lyons (“Lyons”), who is currently incarcerated at the Northwest Correctional Complex (“NWCX”) in Tiptonville, Tennessee, filed A Pro Se Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) The Court granted Lyons leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 6.) The Clerk shall record the defendants as the State of Tennessee, Former Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Former District Attorney General Williams L. Gibbons, Assistant District Attorney General Stacy McEndree, Attorney Gerald Green, Criminal Court Judge James C. Beasley, and Assistant Attorney General Cameron L. Hyder.


         On February 6, 2003, Lyons was charged with two counts of aggravated battery. (Case No. 03 01051-02130068). On February 19, 2003, Lyons was charged with two additional counts of aggravated battery and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping. (Id.) On March 13, 2006, a jury convicted Lyons on all counts. (Id.) Lyons's conviction was affirmed in two separate appeals, and his two petitions for post-conviction relief were denied. (Id.)

         Lyons now alleges in his Pro Se Complaint that exculpatory evidence showing that he was not at the scene of the crime was not introduced at trial. (Compl. at 3, ECF No. 1.) According to Lyons, two other individuals, Bryant Adair and Jocelyn Parker, pleaded guilty to “the crime” and told the trial court who was actually with them at the time of the incident. (Id.) The victim LaToyna Cooper stated in an incident report that she could not identify anyone because their faces and hands were covered. (Id.) Additionally, Lyons's mother, Janice Lyons, gave Lyons's appointed trial attorney, Defendant Gerald Green, a Greyhound bus ticket, proving that Lyons was not in Memphis at the time of the crime. (Id.) After Lyons's case was from Division 7 to Division 10, new statements identifying Lyons and placing him at the scene of the crime were produced. (Id.) Lyons contends that these statements were inconsistent with the original documents. (Id.) Lyons further claims that he was not originally picked out of a court room line-up. (Id.) Lyons now alleges that he had other alibi witnesses as well as the bus ticket, though none of this evidence was ever introduced in court. (Id.)

         Lyons now believes that his attorney Defendant Green was railroading him. (Id.) Lyons had twice requested that Green be removed from his case but had both requests denied. (Id.) Lyons alleges that after his conviction, Defendant Beasley admitted that Defendant Green was ineffective at Lyons's “36.1 Illegal Sentencing Hearing.” (Id.) Lyons claims that he was sentenced to consecutive terms because Defendant Green had failed to put on a defense. (Id.) Lyons contends that he was denied a fair trial because of Defendant Green's lack of defense. (Id.)

         Lyons's Pro Se Complaint seeks a copy of the Division 7 records with the testimony of Bryant Adair and Jocelyn Parker and a copy of the incident report. Lyons also prays for complete exoneration due to false imprisonment and wrongful conviction and $44 million in damages for evidence tampering and cruel and unusual punishment. (Id. at 4.)


         The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In assessing whether the Pro Se Complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the Court applies the standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). “Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court ‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681) (alteration in original). “[P]leadings that . . . are no more than conclusions . . . are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only ‘fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also ‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”).

         “A complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally. Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 328-29 (1989)).

Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give “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 contentions are clearly baseless.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1915). Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50, a judge does not ...

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