United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
LEATRICE L. LITTLE, Plaintiff,
CAPE GIRARDEAU POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court upon the motion of plaintiff
Leatrice L. Little for leave to proceed herein in forma
pauperis. The Court has reviewed the financial information
submitted in support, and will grant the motion. The Court
will also dismiss the complaint, without prejudice.
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.
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,
1981, plaintiff was convicted of first-degree burglary and
forcible rape. Missouri v. Little, 674 S.W.2d 541
(Mo. banc 1984). He filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254, which was granted
by the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in 1987.
Little v. Armontrout, 835 F.2d 1240 (8th Cir. 1987).
The Court of Appeals held that the admission of the
victim's post-hypnotic identification testimony violated
plaintiff's right to due process. Id.
August 13, 2015, plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in this
Court alleging violations of his civil rights. Little v.
Cape Girardeau Police Dept., No. 4:15-CV-1237 DDN
(E.D.Mo). There, plaintiff sued the Cape Girardeau Police
Department, the Brentwood Police Department, and the State of
Missouri for harassment by police officers, seeking $6.3
billion in damages. Id. Plaintiff alleged that
police officers, apparently investigating a rape, visited him
at his place of employment on December 11, 2011. Id.
Plaintiff alleged that the officers yelled at him and stated
that he had gotten off on a technicality. Id.
Plaintiff alleged that he suffered mental and emotional pain
and damage to his reputation. Little, No.
4:15-CV-1237 DDN (E.D.Mo.). Plaintiff's complaint was
dismissed as legally frivolous. Id.
filed a second civil rights action in this Court on December
12, 2016. See Little v. Cape Girardeau Police Dept.,
No. 1:16-CV-285 RLW (E.D.Mo). Plaintiff alleged that he had
been denied due process during his trial and that he had been
subject to false arrest due to improper training by the
arresting officers. Plaintiff further alleged that his
character had been defamed. The action was dismissed as
frivolous as legally frivolous on February 2, 2017.
filed the instant three-count complaint on August 13, 2018.
Named as defendants are the Cape Girardeau Police Department,
Police Hypnotist B.J. Lincecum, and Detective Bill McHughes.
Count I, titled “Violation of Constitutional Rights,
” plaintiff alleges that: he was denied the right to
confront witnesses during his state trial; the victim's
identification of plaintiff lacked credibility;
hypnotically-induced testimony is inadmissible; he was
improperly denied a state-provided expert; the trial court
wrongfully admitted witness testimony identifying plaintiff
as the assailant; the trial court improperly denied his
motion for the appointment of a forensic hypnotist; hypnosis
was improperly used to refresh witness memories; the audio
recording of the hypnotic sessions conducted by the state
were wrongfully destroyed; the identification procedure was
suggestive in that hypnosis was used; and he was effectively
Count 2, titled “Deprivation of Rights under Color of
Law, Title 18 U.S.C. Code 242, Section 14141, ”
plaintiff alleges that he was falsely arrested due to the
lack of (or improper) training of Lincecum and McHughes.
Plaintiff also alleges that the police lineups were
improperly suggestive, that Lincecum should not have been
allowed to conduct hypnotic sessions, that recordings of such
sessions were improperly destroyed, and that identification
testimony was improperly admitted.
is titled “Causing Emotional Distress.” In
support of these counts, plaintiff alleges that he has been
defamed and slandered. He asserts that his emotional distress
has been caused by defendants ...