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 the complaint filed
by plaintiff Marvin Young, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will
dismiss this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
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.
complaints are to be liberally construed. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). However, they still
must allege sufficient facts to support the claims alleged.
Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir.
2004); see also Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282,
1286 (8th Cir. 1980) (even pro se complaints are required to
allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a
matter of law). Federal courts are not required to
“assume facts that are not alleged, just because an
additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger
complaint.” Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15. In
addition, giving 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).
Plaintiff is an inmate at the St. Charles County Department
of Corrections. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against the Circuit Court of Warren County,
Missouri, which is the 12th Judicial Circuit Court of the
State of Missouri. He also names Judge Wesley Clay Dalton and
prosecuting attorney Kelly King as defendants. He states he
sues the defendants in their official and individual
alleges wrongdoing stemming from criminal proceedings in
which he was prosecuted for tampering with a motor vehicle.
He alleges that, on September 21, 2016, his attorney filed a
motion for speedy trial pursuant to Missouri state law, but
that he had yet to go to trial. He alleges that Judge Dalton
did not grant his September 21, 2016 speedy trial motion, and
he alleges that King subjected him to malicious prosecution
by requesting continuances that caused delay. He states that
his due process rights were violated “due to
prejudicial malicious acts of negligence made by Wesley Clay
Dalton and Kelly L. King.” (Docket No. 1 at 7). He
seeks monetary damages of “$2, 500 per day for every
day past the deadline of my motion for a speedy trial that
expired March 20, 2017.” Id. He also asks this
Court to “honor [his] previous motion to dismiss on
grounds that my due process was violated after March 20,
2017, ” and he asks the Court to “have sanctions
put on the defendants' rights to practice law.”
does not identify the state criminal proceedings to which he
refers. However, independent review of Missouri Case.Net, the
state of Missouri's online docketing system, shows that
in State v. Marvin Young, Case No. 15BB-CR00578-01
(12th Jud. Cir. Nov. 14, 2017), plaintiff was prosecuted in
the Circuit Court of Warren County, Missouri on charges of
tampering with a motor vehicle. The presiding Judge was
Wesley Clay Dalton, and the State was represented by Kelly
King. The case proceeded to trial by jury on November 13,
2017. On November 14, 2017, a jury returned a verdict of
guilty of tampering in the first degree. This Court takes
judicial notice of this Missouri State Court record, as
obtained through the public records published on Missouri
Case.Net. See Levy v. Ohl, 477 F.3d 988 (8th Cir.
2007) (district court may take judicial notice of public
state records); Stutzka v. McCarville, 420 F.3d 757,
760 n. 2 (8th Cir. 2005) (courts “may take judicial
notice of judicial opinions and public records.”).
complaint is legally frivolous, and will be dismissed.
Plaintiff names the Circuit Court of Warren County, Missouri
as a defendant. The Circuit Court of Warren County, the 12th
Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri, is immune
under the Eleventh Amendment. See McKlintic v. 36th
Judicial Circuit Court, 508 F.3d 875 (8th Cir. 2007).
also names Judge Wesley Clay Dalton as a defendant, and
claims that he committed wrongdoing when performing his
duties in plaintiff's judicial proceedings. Judicial
immunity grants absolute immunity to judges from civil
lawsuits based on alleged judicial misconduct, subject to two
exceptions: (1) when a judge does not act within his judicial
capacity or (2) when a judge takes judicial action in the
complete absence of all jurisdiction. Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11-12 (1991). Here, all of Judge
Dalton's allegedly unlawful actions were judicial in
nature. Further, Judge Dalton, acting as a judge in the 12th
Judicial Circuit Court, took judicial action pursuant to that
court's jurisdiction granted to it by the Missouri
Constitution. See Mo. Const. art V. Judicial
immunity applies “even when the judge is accused of
acting maliciously.” Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S.
547, 554 (1967). Because Judge Dalton acted within his
judicial capacity and within his court's proper
jurisdiction, he is granted absolute immunity from civil suit
as to plaintiff's claims against him. Plaintiff's
claims against Judge Dalton are legally frivolous, and will
also names prosecuting attorney Kelly King as a defendant,
and claims that she committed wrongdoing while prosecuting
him. Absolute immunity protects prosecutors against claims
arising from their initiation of a prosecution and presenting
a criminal case, even when vindictive prosecution is alleged.
See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31 (1976)
(prosecutors are absolutely immune from civil rights claims
based on actions taken while initiating and pursuing a
criminal prosecution); see also Myers v. Morris, 810
F.2d 1437, 1448 (8th Cir. 1987) (prosecutorial immunity
extends even to allegations of vindictive prosecution);
Brodnicki v. City of Omaha, 75 F.3d 1261, 1266 (8th
Cir. 1996) (“Absolute immunity covers prosecutorial
functions such as the initiation and pursuit of a criminal
prosecution, the presentation of the state's case at
trial, and other conduct that is intimately associated with
the judicial process”). Plaintiff's claims against
King are legally frivolous, and will be dismissed.
to the extent plaintiff can be understood to pursue federal
habeas relief for violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a
speedy trial, or for any other pretrial issues, his claims
are now moot. See Yohey v. Collins,985 F.2d 222,
228-29 (5th Cir. 1993) (claims for federal habeas relief ...