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Alexander v. Mitchell Carter

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga

March 1, 2018




         Before the Court is Plaintiff's pro se complaint for violation of civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2] and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] will be GRANTED and Plaintiff's complaint will be DISMISSED sua sponte.

         I. FILING FEE

          Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), any prisoner who files a complaint in a district court must tender the full filing fee or file (1) an application to proceed in forma pauperis without prepayment of fees and (2) a certified copy of his inmate trust account for the previous six-month period. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). Plaintiff has submitted a fully compliant application to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1], and it appears from the application that Plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the $350.00 filing fee. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] is GRANTED and, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Clerk is DIRECTED to file this action without the prepayment of costs or fees or security therefor as of the date the Complaint was received.

         Because Plaintiff is in custody at the Hamilton County Jail, he is herewith ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2), the custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust account at the institution where he now resides is directed to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 900 Georgia Avenue, Room 309, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402, twenty percent (20%) of the Plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited to the Plaintiff's trust account for the preceding month), but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars ($10.00), until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

         The Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this Memorandum to the Hamilton County Jail to ensure that the custodian of Plaintiff's trust account complies with that portion of the Prison Litigation Reform Act relating to payment of the filing fee. The Clerk is DIRECTED to forward a copy of this Memorandum to the Court's financial deputy.


         Plaintiff, while in custody at the Hamilton County Jail, filed this complaint on March 27, 2015, alleging a violation of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2 p. 1]. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants William B. Mitchell Carter, United States Magistrate Judge; William C. Killian, U.S. Attorney; Christopher D. Poole, Assistant U.S. Attorney (“AUSA”); Jim Hammond, Sherriff; and Rob Honnet, T.F.O, violated his due process rights by denying him a fast and speedy trial in his criminal case prosecution [Doc. 2 p. 1].

         The substance of Plaintiff's complaint, in its entirety, states as follows:

“On the date of Nov. 4, 2013, Magistrate Carter signed and issued a warrant for my arrest for conspiracy to distribute narcotics. After being booked Nov. 4, 2013, I went before Magistrate Lee. The only other time I've [been] before the Judge was June 17, 2014. Since then my speedy trial rights have been violated because for (16) sixteen months, I've been sitting in the Hamilton County Jail without being able to go before the judge to rectify this issue. My right to a 180 day fast and speedy trial is in complete violation to my interest of justice. This unnecessary delay is against my due process right to not be held without a conviction and my trial rights.”

[Doc. 2 p. 2]. Ultimately, Plaintiff requests “immediate liberty from this gross violation of justice, due process, and speedy trial” for violation of his constitutional rights [Id. at 3].

         Although Plaintiff does not identify the basis for the Court's jurisdiction over his claims against the federal Defendants, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics provides a right of action against federal employees in their individual capacities, acting under color of federal law, who violate an individual's rights under the United States Constitution. 403 U.S. 388, 395-96 (1971). Therefore, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Carter, Killian and Poole will proceed under Bivens. See id. However, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Hammond and Honnet, as state actors, will be addressed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         A summary of Plaintiff's underlying federal criminal case is necessary because his complaint is based on allegations of a violation of his speedy trial rights. Although district courts ordinarily do not consider matters outside of a civil rights complaint when deciding whether to dismiss it for failure to state a claim, they may consider public records and any other matters of which the Court may take judicial notice under Federal Rule of Evidence 201 (b). See Weiner v. Klais & Co., 108 F.3d 86, 88-89 (6th Cir. 1999), abrogated on other grounds by Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (2002).

         Therefore, in reviewing Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2), this Court takes judicial notice of the record in the underlying criminal case of United States of America v. Jerry Wayne Alexander, Jr., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga, No. 1:13-cr-128-7. On September 1, 2015, a jury convicted Plaintiff of conspiracy to distribute less than 28 grams of cocaine base, in violation of 21 U.S.C. ยงยง 841(a)(1) and 846 [Criminal Case 1:13-cr-128-7, Doc. 405]. Then, on April 12, 2016, Plaintiff was sentenced to 200 months of incarceration and 6 years supervised release [Criminal Case 1:13-cr-128-7, Doc. 465]. After Plaintiff took a direct appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the ...

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