United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon review of plaintiff's
amended complaint. Plaintiff, an inmate at the Eastern
Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center
(“ERDCC”), brought the instant action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he is entitled to seek a
“procedural due process claim” under Skinner
v. Switzer, 562 U.S. 521 (2011).
was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in the Eastern
District of North Carolina, and his case was reviewed for
frivolousness pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
28 U.S.C. § 1915, on June 8, 2017 in the Eastern
District of North Carolina.
initial review, the Court dismissed several claims from
plaintiff's complaint, as well as one of the defendants
from this action. However, in addition to transferring the
matter to this Court, the Eastern District of North Carolina
found that plaintiff's allegations under the Supreme
Court case of Skinner v. Switzer, 131 S.Ct.1289
(2011), may be able to state a claim for relief.
Court ordered plaintiff to file an amended complaint in his
action on June 20, 2017, in order to fully articulate his
claims under Skinner. Plaintiff filed his amended
complaint on July 17, 2017, and the Court is obligated to
review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915 for frivolousness, maliciousness and for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
U.S.C. § 1983 action purportedly concerns
plaintiff's attempts to seek a
secondDNA test in order to allegedly prove
that the evidence was insufficient to provide forcible
compulsion on his state conviction for forcible rape. See
State v. Young, No. 0722-CR3741 (19thJudicial
Circuit, St. Francois County Court). Defendants in
plaintiff's amended complaint are: Sarah Custis (Police
Lab Examiner); Jenna Oakes Smith (Police Lab Examiner); Donna
Becherer (Police Lab Examiner); Beth Hensley Orwick (Asst.
St. Louis City Attorney); Jennifer Joyce (Prosecutor); Sam
Dotson (Chief of St. Louis City Police).
was charged with forcible rape and incest. At trial, part of
the State's evidence included a DNA test performed on a
stain on the victim's underwear that matched plaintiff.
Plaintiff claims in his amended complaint that Ms. Custis,
Ms. Smith and Ms. Becherer testified at his criminal trial.
He claims that the defendants testified that there was
“DNA [on] the victims' underwear which contains (2)
sets of DNA (1) consistent of a mixture and the other one
consistent with the DNA of Darnell Young.” Plaintiff
claims that his due process rights were violated and that he
is entitled to new DNA testing because he believes the three
lab defendants “tampered with DNA evidence.”
Plaintiff has not submitted any evidence or assertions beyond
his own conclusory statement to support his assertion.
also asserts his due process rights have been violated and
that he is entitled to new DNA testing because “[i]f a
post-conviction for DNA testing is granted it will reveal
inconsistencies and flaws in the state's evaluation of
genetic material.” Plaintiff also believes that
defendant Asst. Prosecutor Orwick provided a “false
representation” of DNA evidence, because he believes
she “misled the jury” and maliciously prosecuted
plaintiff. Plaintiff states that Prosecutor Orwick
essentially stopped pursuing a “second
contributor” of DNA on the victim's underwear,
which means she failed to turn over exculpatory evidence and
never proved her case, despite the jury convicting him of
forcible rape and incest. Plaintiff has not made any claims
against Police Chief Dotson or Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce.
seeks $25 million in this action.
State Court Habeas Actions
noted above, plaintiff was found guilty in Missouri State
Court of forcible rape and incest by a jury. See State v.
Young, No. 0722-CR3741 (19th Judicial
Circuit, St. Francois County Court). Part of the State's
evidence at trial, presented by Prosecutor Orwick, included a
DNA test performed on a stain on the victim's underwear
that matched Young. The DNA test was done prior to trial, and
although plaintiff's attorney moved to do a second test
on the DNA immediately before trial, his motion was denied.
The trial court denied the motion because the results of the
testing were available nearly one year before trial, and as
the trial court judge put it, “the law does
say…that trials have to be rescheduled because people
sit on their hands until the last minute.”
direct appeal of his conviction, Young asserted that the
evidence was insufficient to prove forcible compulsion for
the charge of forcible rape. The Missouri Court of Appeals
rejected that challenge. In his amended post-conviction
motion, Young alleged that trial counsel should have obtained
a second DNA test. Plaintiff did not allege
any facts that would have entitled him to a second test under
the rules governing post-conviction DNA testing. ...