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Jones v. Hillyard

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

July 20, 2017

QUINCY Q. JONES Plaintiff,
R. HILLYARD, Investigator; M. BUSH, Detective Officer; M. SMITH, Arresting Officer; AMY P. WEIRICH, District Attorney; OFFICER TILLMAN; Defendants.



         On May 27, 2016, Plaintiff Quincy Q. Jones, a pretrial detainee at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex in Memphis, Tennessee, filed pro se a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. In an order issued May 31, 2016, the Court granted Jones 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). The Clerk shall record the defendants as Investigator R. Hillyard, Detective M. Bush, Arresting Officer M. Smith, District Attorney General Amy Weirich, and Officer First Name Unknown (“FNU”) Tillman.


         Jones alleges malicious prosecution based on the fact that Officer Bush, who is not a prosecutor endorsed the indictment. (Compl. 2.) Jones contends that he was bound over to the Grand Jury, even though he was not properly identified at a preliminary hearing. (Id.) Jones further alleges that Defendant Bush is improperly named as the “prosecutor” on the indictment. (Id. at 3.) Jones contends that an indictment is required to contain the name of a prosecutor prior to its submission to the grand jury. “Prosecutor” refers to an individual “who sets in motion the machinery of criminal justice against a person whom he suspects or beleaves (sic) to be guilty of a crime. . . and is not an officer of the government.” (Id. at 3.) Jones alleges that his incarceration has caused him mental stress and prevented him from working to support his family. (Id. at 4.) Jones seeks $150, 000 for pain and suffering plus lost wages. (Id. at 5.)

         On March 3, 2016, Jones was indicted in state court on two counts of aggravated burglary, one count of robbery, one count of aggravated assault, and one count of employing a firearm with intent to commit a dangerous felony. On February 28, 2017, Jones pleaded guilty to the charges for aggravated burglary, robbery, and aggravated assault.


         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 Complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the Court applies 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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