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Mattox v. United States

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

August 26, 2019

MICHAEL K. MATTOX, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; STATE OF KANSAS; TOPEKA POLICE DEPARTMENT; DOUGLAS COUNTY JAIL; SHAWNEE COUNTY JAIL; KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; LARNED STATE HOSPITAL, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

          DIANE K. VESCOVO CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On March 6, 2019, the plaintiff, Michael Mattox, filed a pro se complaint titled “Civil Lawsuit” against the United States of America, the State of Kansas, the Topeka Police Department, the Douglas County Jail, the Shawnee County Jail, the Kansas Department of Corrections, and Larned State Hospital (collectively, “the defendants”). (Compl., ECF No. 1.) This case has been referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for management and for all pretrial matters for determination and/or report and recommendation as appropriate. (Admin. Order. 2013-05, Apr. 29, 2013.)

         Accompanying the complaint was a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 2.) The information set forth in the affidavit in support of the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis satisfies Mattox's burden of demonstrating that he is unable to pay the civil filing fee. Accordingly, the motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED.

         For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that this case be dismissed sua sponte for failure to state a claim.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT

         In his sixteen-page, type-written pro se complaint, Mattox erratically describes the events precipitating his conviction for criminal discharge of a firearm and the reckless second-degree murder of John Lane. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) As the Kansas Supreme Court fully set out the facts of this case in State v. Mattox, 124 P.3d 6 (2005)(Mattox I) and Mattox v. State, 267 P.3d 746 (2011)(Mattox II), only the relevant facts are discussed infra.

         In October of 2001, the Topeka Police Department found John Lane dead in his vehicle with two gunshot wounds to his head. Five days later, police arrested Mattox on charges unrelated to Lane's murder. After reading Mattox his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), Mattox stated that he wanted to speak with a lawyer. While being booked for criminal trespass charges, Mattox told a corrections officer information regarding Lane's murder. As the corrections officer typed up the information Mattox relayed to him, Mattox began hand-writing the story himself. Subsequently, police detectives conducted a videotaped interview of Mattox. The officers did not read Mattox his Miranda rights again before conducting the interview. In his complaint, Mattox asserts that after he reinvoked his Miranda rights during this interview, the officers continued to question him. At trial, all of Mattox's statements were admitted into evidence and, in April of 2002, a jury convicted Mattox of criminal discharge of a firearm and the reckless second-degree murder of John Lane Mattox. Mattox was sentenced on June 13, 2002 to prison sentence of 176 months. On June 1, 2016, Mattox was released from incarceration. (Compl. 1, ECF No. 1.)

         On appeal, the Kansas Court of Appeals found that Mattox did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his Miranda rights and reversed Mattox's convictions. However, on December 9, 2005, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the statements Mattox made on the videotaped confession were made knowingly and voluntarily, reversing the appellate court and reinstating his convictions. Mattox I, 124 P.3d at 18. The Kansas Supreme Court declined to reach the merits of whether Mattox reinvoked his right to counsel at the beginning of his videotaped interview, finding that Mattox had abandoned the issue by failing to sufficiently brief it. Id.

         Mattox then filed a motion attacking the constitutionality of his sentence pursuant to Kan. Stat. § 60-1507, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel due to his appellate counsel's abandonment of the reinvocation issue on his direct appeal. Although appellate counsel admitted error, the Kansas Supreme Court held that any errors counsel made with regard to the admissibility of Mattox's statements to the detectives were harmless because “the exclusion of those statements would have had no impact on the outcome of his trial given the other evidence against him.” Mattox II, 267 P.3d at 751. On February 8, 2018, the United States District Court of Kansas denied Mattox's habeas corpus petition. Mattox v. McKune, No. 12-cv-3121-SAC, 2014 WL 2772977, at *1 (D. Kan. June 19, 2014). Mattox then filed another appeal, this time claiming that his trial and appellate counsel were “ineffective for failing to obtain a psychological evaluation and by failing to argue that he could not have made a knowing and intelligent waiver of his right to counsel because he was under a schizophrenic episodic attack.” Mattox v. Kansas, 410 P.3d 947 (Kan.Ct.App. 2018), review denied (Oct. 30, 2018). Mattox also appealed on the grounds that his postconviction counsel was ineffective because he failed to argue that Mattox had not voluntarily or knowingly given the detectives his handwritten statement, contrary to the Kansas Supreme Court's conclusion. Id.

         The issues in Mattox's complaint primarily relate to the admissibility of the statements Mattox made to the corrections officer, (id. at 4); the admissibility of the videotaped statements Mattox made to detectives, (id. at 6); the admissibility of Mattox's handwritten statements, (id. at 13); Mattox's inability to waive his right to counsel during these police interrogations due to an alleged schizophrenic episode, (id. at 7); and the ineffective assistance of Mattox's trial, appellate, and postconviction counsel, (id. at 6). Mattox alleges his First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated, which he attributes to the United States of America, the State of Kansas, the Topeka Police Department, the Douglas County Jail, the Shawnee County Jail, the Kansas Department of Corrections, and Larned State Hospital. (Id. at 1.)

         Mattox seeks compensatory damages in the amount of twenty-two zillion dollars, at a minimum, for mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, physical pain and suffering, and various other grievances which Mattox describes over three pages of his complaint. (Id. 1-3.) Additionally, Mattox seeks injunctive relief in the form of court orders instating Mattox as the “landlord of Kansas . . . and over the United States”; making Mattox “the CEO” of the Topeka Police Department, the Douglas County Jail, the Shawnee County Jail, the Kansas Department of Corrections, and the Larned State Hospital; requiring courts to use Mattox's software program to “eliminate wrong decisions via human error of judges”; and various other far-fetched requests of that nature. (Id. at 2-3.)

         II. PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         A. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) Screening

         Pursuant to Local Rule 4.1(b)(2), service will not issue in a pro se case where the pro se plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis until the complaint has been screened under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The clerk is authorized to issue summonses to pro se litigants only after that review is complete and an order of the court issues. ...


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