United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
formerly a pretrial detainee at St. Louis City Justice
Center, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this
civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is no
longer incarcerated, and the Court will waive his filing fee.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Furthermore, based
upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the
complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 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, 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 draw on its judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the
Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the
Court liberally construes the allegations.
brings this § 1983 action against the City of St. Louis,
alleging his right to a speedy trial was violated in a state
court criminal matter. He states that he filed a motion
seeking a speedy trial in his underlying criminal case in the
City of St. Louis Circuit Court. On June 1, 2016, the Circuit
Court granted the motion and set a speedy trial date of
November 28, 2016. Plaintiff was not brought to trial before
November 28, 2016. He seeks nominal damages in the amount of
$1 and punitive damages in the amount of $2, 500, 000.
January 22, 2018, plaintiff notified the Court that he was no
longer incarcerated. The Court has no information regarding
the disposition of plaintiff's underlying case, and his
Missouri state court docket is no longer accessible through
Missouri Speedy Trial Act, sometimes called the 180-day rule,
was repealed effective June 7, 1984. Under the current Speedy
Trial Act, a criminal defendant should be brought to trial
“as soon as reasonably possible” after the
defendant indicates he is ready for trial and requests a
speedy trial. Mo. Rev. Stat. § 545.780.1. The
statute provides that the remedy for a defendant who is not
tried “as soon as reasonably possible” is to seek
mandamus. Id. at § 545.780.2.
Plaintiff did not file a state petition for writ of mandamus.
Additionally, Missouri law provides at least two other
distinct avenues for a pretrial detainee to challenge
unconstitutional conduct: filing a declaratory action or
filing a state petition for habeas corpus. See Wayne v.
Missouri Bd. of Prob. and Parole, 83 F.3d 994, 996-97
(8th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff did not pursue any of these
plaintiff filed this action in federal court against the City
of St. Louis for violations of his civil rights under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff cannot sue the City of St.
Louis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because he has not stated a
claim of municipal liability. Liability under § 1983 may
attach to a municipality if the constitutional violation
resulted from: (1) an official municipal policy; (2) an
unofficial custom; or (3) a deliberately indifferent failure
to train or supervise. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs
of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Plaintiff
has not alleged any constitutional violation resulting from a
policy or custom of the City of St. Louis, and therefore his
§ 1983 claim will be dismissed.
construed, plaintiff's filing would be considered a
petition of a state pretrial detainee for writ of habeas
corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Federal courts have the
power to grant writs of habeas corpus under § 2241;
however, they require petitioners to exhaust their state
court remedies prior to pursuing them in federal court.
See Houston v. State of Mo., 4:13-CV-1242 AGF (E.D.
Mo. Jul. 24, 2013), 2013 WL 3852510, *1 n.1 (citing
Neville v. Cavanagh, 611 F.2d 673, 675 (7th Cir.
1979)). Plaintiff filed this action while his state court
criminal action was still pending. Plaintiff has not alleged,
nor has the Court found, that he exhausted his state remedies
prior to bringing this action. Liberally construing
plaintiff's pro se complaint as a petition for writ of
habeas corpus under § 2241, plaintiff's petition was
premature when filed. Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated,
and therefore his § 2241 petition is moot.
based on the Missouri state court docket sheet attached to
plaintiff's compliant, Mr. Holmes' trial was
continued seven times by the St. Louis City Circuit Court.
Two of the continuances were jointly requested by counsel for
the prosecution and defense. Of the remaining five
continuances: the prosecution requested three, and Mr.
Holmes' counsel requested two. See ECF No. 1-2.
Mr. Holmes' fourth trial date, October 24, 2016, was
continued at the request of his own counsel because counsel
had entered his appearance only twenty days prior to the
trial date and had inadequate time to prepare. Id.
The Circuit Court granted counsel's motion for
continuance, and reset the trial date to December 12, 2016,
which fell outside of the 180-day time period that plaintiff
contends applies to his speedy trial rights. This fifth trial
date, December 12, 2016, was later continued at the joint
request of counsel.
defendant or his counsel is responsible for the delays in
trial, the defendant, by law, is not denied his right to
speedy trial. State v. Adams,691 S.W.2d 432
(Mo.Ct.App. 1985); State v. Cannon,692 S.W.2d 357
(Mo.Ct.App. 1985); State v. Daly,731 S.W.2d 315
(Mo.Ct.App. 1987); State v. Clark,723 S.W.2d 17
(Mo.Ct.App. 1986). As plaintiff is aware, his own counsel
sought continuances of his case to adequately prepare for
trial. Because Mr. ...