United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
LEATRICE L. LITTLE, Plaintiff,
CAPE GIRARDEAU POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court upon the motion of plaintiff
Leatrice L. Little for leave to proceed herein in forma
pauperis. The Court has reviewed the financial
information submitted in support, and will grant the motion.
The Court will also dismiss the complaint, without prejudice.
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to dismiss
a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. To state a claim for relief under
§ 1983, a complaint must plead more than "legal
conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a
plausible claim for relief, which is more than a "mere
possibility of misconduct." Id. at 679. "A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. at 678. Determining whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to,
inter alia, draw upon judicial experience and common
sense. Id. at 679.
conducting initial review pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal
construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). However, this does not mean that pro se
complaints may be merely conclusory. Even pro se
complaints are required to allege facts which, if true, state
a claim for relief as a matter of law. Martin v.
Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980); see
also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir.
2004) (federal courts are not required to "assume facts
that are not alleged, just because an additional factual
allegation would have formed a stronger complaint"). In
addition, affording a pro se complaint the benefit
of a liberal construction does not mean that procedural rules
in ordinary civil litigation must be interpreted so as to
excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. See
McNeil v. U.S., 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
1981, plaintiff was convicted of first-degree burglary and
forcible rape. Missouri v. Little, 674 S.W.2d 541
(Mo. banc 1984). He filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which was granted
by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 1987.
Little v. Armontrout, 835 F.2d 1240 (8th Cir. 1987).
The Court of Appeals held that the admission of the
victim's post-hypnotic identification testimony violated
plaintiffs right to due process. Id.
August 13, 2015, plaintiff filed a pro se complaint
in this Court alleging violations of his civil rights.
Little v. Cape Girardeau Police Dept., No.
4:15-cv-1237-DDN (August 14, 2015). There, plaintiff sued the
Cape Girardeau Police Department, the Brentwood Police
Department, and the State of Missouri for harassment by
police officers, seeking $6.3 billion in damages.
Id. Plaintiff alleged that police officers,
apparently investigating a rape, visited him at his place of
employment on December 11, 2011. Id. Plaintiff
alleges that the officers yelled at him and stated that he
had gotten off on a technicality. Id. Plaintiff
alleged that he suffered mental and emotional pain and damage
to his reputation. Little, No. 4:15-cv-1237-DDN
(August 14, 2015). Plaintiffs complaint was dismissed as
legally frivolous. Id.
filed the instant five-count complaint on December 12, 2016.
(Docket No. 1). Named as defendants are the Cape Girardeau
Police Department, Police Hypnotist B.J. Lincecum, and
Detective Bill McHughes.
Count I, titled "Violation of Constitutional Rights,
" plaintiff alleges that: he was denied the right to
confront witnesses during his state trial; the victim's
identification of plaintiff lacked credibility;
hypnotically-induced testimony is inadmissible; he was
improperly denied a state-provided expert; the trial court
wrongfully admitted witness testimony identifying plaintiff
as the assailant; the trial court improperly denied his
motion for the appointment of a forensic hypnotist; hypnosis
was improperly used to refresh witness memories; the audio
recording of the hypnotic sessions conducted by the state
were wrongfully destroyed; the identification procedure was
suggestive in that hypnosis was used; and he was effectively
denied counsel. Id. at 1-3.
Count 2, titled "Deprivation of Rights under Color of
Law, Title 18 U.S.C. Code 242, Section 14141, "
plaintiff alleges that he was falsely arrested due to the
lack of (or improper) training of Lincecum and McHughes.
Plaintiff also alleges that the police lineups were
improperly suggestive, that Lincecum should not have been
allowed to conduct hypnotic sessions, that recordings of such
sessions were improperly destroyed, and that identification
testimony was improperly admitted. Id. at 3.
is titled "Defamation of Character." Count 4 is
titled "Slander." Count 5 is titled "Causing
Emotional Distress." Id. at 4. In support of
these counts, plaintiff alleges: "It is obvious that
Plaintiff has been defamated and slandered. The emotional
distress caused has been detrimental and recorded by ...