United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court upon the motion of plaintiff
Michael Goodwin for leave to proceed herein in forma
pauperis. Upon consideration of the financial information
provided with the motion, the Court has determined that
plaintiff is financially unable to pay the filing fee.
Therefore, the motion will be granted. Furthermore, based
upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that this
action should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must 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, 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
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).
titles his complaint "Felony Obstruction of Court Orders
U.S. Code Chapter 73-1509." The named defendants are
Carol Jackson, a retired United States District Judge for the
Eastern District of Missouri, and Richard Sindel, an
attorney. Plaintiffs allegations stem from criminal
proceedings in which he was a defendant. Plaintiff states
that he "is bringing this charge of Felony obstruction
of court orders against Judge Carol Jackson because the U.S.
Court of Appeals ordered the district court to explain how
[his] sentence was calculated without using crack, " and
Judge Jackson denied his request for exoneration of his
conviction due to a defective indictment. (Docket No. 1 at
3). Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Sindel was appointed as his
attorney but withdrew from the case, and that he
"obstructed court orders" because, had he accepted
his appointment, he could have presented certain arguments on
his behalf. Id. at 4-5. Plaintiff also alleges that
Mr. Sindel "should have come to argue for [plaintiffs]
early release due to his understanding of the plea agreement
between his client and the government but refused his
prayer for relief, plaintiff asks this Court to "hold
Judge Carol Jackson accountable along with attorney Richard
Sindel by charging them with Felony Obstruction of Court
Orders in [plaintiffs] case." Id.
Court cannot, as plaintiff requests, compel a criminal
prosecution. See Ray v. Dep't of Justice, 508
F.Supp. 724, 725 (E.D. Mo. 1981) ("It is well settled
that initiation of federal criminal prosecution is a
discretionary decision within the Executive Branch not
subject to judicial compulsion") (citations omitted).
Furthermore, it is axiomatic that plaintiff, as a private
citizen, does not have a constitutional right or any other
basis to compel a criminal investigation or have another
person prosecuted for a crime. See Mitchell v.
McNeil, 487 F.3d 374, 378 (6th Cir. 2007) ("There
is no statutory or common law right, much less a
constitutional right, to an investigation."); see
also Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973)
("a private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable
interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of
another."). Therefore, to the extent the complaint
requests that a criminal investigation and/or prosecution be
initiated against the defendants, the complaint will be
extent plaintiff can be understood to bring a civil lawsuit
against Judge Jackson, the complaint is frivolous and subject
to dismissal. Judges are "entitled to absolute immunity
for all judicial actions that are not 'taken in complete
absence of all jurisdiction.'" Penn v.
United States, 335 F.3d 786, 789 (8th Cir.
2003) (quoting Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12
(1991)). In this case, Judge Jackson's allegedly unlawful
actions were judicial in nature, and as a United States
District Judge in the Eastern District of Missouri, she took
such judicial action pursuant to that court's
jurisdiction granted to it by the United States Constitution.
See U.S. Const, art. III. Finally, to the extent
plaintiff can be understood to bring a civil lawsuit against
Mr. Sindel, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Plaintiff does not allege that Mr.
Sindel withdrew absent leave of court, and because he was not
plaintiffs attorney, he was under no obligation to represent
him in court or present argument on his behalf. For the
foregoing reasons, this case will be dismissed pursuant to
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs Motion
for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Docket No. 2) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is
DISMISSED without prejudice. A separate
order of dismissal will be entered herewith.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs Motion to Appoint