United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff,
Forrest Russell, Jr. (registration no. 189366), an inmate at
Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center
(“ERDCC”), for leave to commence this action
without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons
stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have
sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess
an initial partial filing fee of $24.18. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, based upon a review of
the complaint, the Court will stay and administratively close
this action pursuant to the Supreme Court case of Wallace
v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007), based on the pendency of
an underlying criminal case against plaintiff that arises out
of the same facts.
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
asserting violations of his Fourth Amendment rights. Prior to
this case being filed, a related underlying criminal case was
filed against plaintiff in Missouri State Court. See
State v. Russell, Case No.14SL-CR10130-01
(21stJudicial Circuit, St. Louis County Court).
After a jury trial in St. Louis County Court, plaintiff was
found guilty of three counts of Armed Criminal Action,
Robbery in the First Degree, Unlawful Possession of a
Firearm, Kidnapping in the First Degree and Burglary in the
Honorable Nancy Watkins sentenced plaintiff to a total of
thirty (30) years' imprisonment. Plaintiff subsequently
appealed his conviction to the Missouri Court of Appeals
where the matter is currently under review. See State v.
Russell, Case No. ED105842.
case, plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest, false
imprisonment and malicious prosecution as a result of an
alleged false arrest that occurred on December 23, 2014. He
brings this action against the four police officers who were
involved in his arrest, as well as the St. Louis County
Public Defender's Office and his assigned public
defender, Steven Lewis.
complaint, plaintiff alleges that the defendant police
officers found his vehicle at a crime scene on the night of
December 20, 2014, in Wildwood, Missouri, causing the
officers to believe that he had committed burglary,
kidnapping and armed criminal action. Plaintiff claims that
his vehicle was at the crime scene because the persons who
committed the crime used his vehicle to do so.
states that the police failed to listen to his assertions
regarding why his vehicle was at the crime scene. Plaintiff
alleges that in order to fit their idea of the crime, the
defendant police officers coerced a witness to describe
plaintiff as the assailant even though he did not match the
first description of the man the witness gave to the police.
Moreover, plaintiff states that the victim did not at first
mention that a gun was used in the crime, nevertheless,
plaintiff was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm
after the officers spoke to the witness again and coerced the
witness into believing that a gun was used in commission of
also asserts that his public defender, Steven Lewis provided
him with ineffective assistance of counsel, when he failed to
“represent him” properly or “shift
blame” away from plaintiff.
jury trial in St. Louis County Court, plaintiff was found
guilty of three counts of Armed Criminal Action, Robbery in
the First Degree, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm,
Kidnapping in the First Degree and Burglary in the First
claims in this lawsuit arise under the Fourth Amendment and
include: lack of probable cause to bring charges against
plaintiff; manufacturing evidence against plaintiff;
malicious prosecution; false arrest; and false imprisonment.
Wallace v. Kato, the United States Supreme Court
held ''hat Athe statute of limitations upon a §
1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of
the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by
criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant
is detained pursuant to legal process.''
Wallace, 549 U.S. at 397. The Court observed that
''[f]alse arrest and false imprisonment overlap; the
former is a species of the latter.'' Id. at
388. The Court instructed that where ''a plaintiff
files a false arrest claim before he has been convicted . . .
it is within the power of the district court, and in accord
with common practice, to stay the civil action until the
criminal case or the likelihood of a criminal case is
ended.'' Id. at 393-94. Otherwise, the court
and the parties are left to ''speculate about whether
a prosecution will be brought, whether ...