United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
CEDRIC L. WINTERS, Plaintiff,
JEREME GEORGE LYTLE, et al., Defendants.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se
plaintiff Cedric L. Winters for leave to commence this action
without prepayment of the required filing fee. Having
reviewed the motion and the financial information submitted
in support, the Court will grant the motion, and assess an
initial partial filing fee of $1.50. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, after reviewing the
complaint, the Court will dismiss this action without
Partial Filing Fee
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil
action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full
amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient
funds in his or her prison account to pay the entire fee, the
Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial
partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the
average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or
(2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account
for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial
partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly
payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income
credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will
forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each
time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10,
until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an inmate
account statement showing only a one-month time period. ECF
No. 3. However, the brief accounting does support
plaintiff's statement in his motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis, that he receives $7.50 per month
for his prison job. ECF No. 2. The Court finds that plaintiff
has insufficient funds in his prison account to pay the
entire filing fee and will therefore assess an initial
partial filing fee of $1.50, which is twenty percent of
plaintiff's average monthly deposit.
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, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 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 pro se complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true,
White v. Clark, 750 F.2d 721, 722 (8th Cir. 1984),
and liberally construes the complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A “liberal
construction” means that if the essence of an
allegation is discernible, the district court should construe
the plaintiff's complaint in a way that permits his or
her claim to be considered within the proper legal framework.
Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir.
2015). However, 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) (refusing to supply
additional facts or to construct a legal theory for the
pro se plaintiff that assumed facts that had not
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
State of Missouri and prosecuting attorney Jereme George
Lytle, in both his individual and official capacities. On
April 3, 2018, plaintiff pled guilty to third degree assault
in the 34th Judicial Circuit Court in Pemiscot County,
Missouri. Plaintiff asserts his claims against the defendants
in one sentence on his complaint: “Mr. Jereme George
Lytle failed Mr. Winters because he filed Mr. Winters with
3rd degree assault then State of Missouri harmed Mr. Winters
by accepting Mr. Winters guilty plea while Mr. Winters were
mentally unstable.” ECF No. 1 at 3. Plaintiff claims
that he has suffered financial and mental health injuries,
including admittance to a “ward for psychotic mental
illness” following his sentencing. Id. at 4.
For relief, plaintiff seeks money damages and dismissal of
the third degree assault charge.
the federal habeas corpus statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2254, and
the civil rights statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, provide
access to a federal forum for claims of unconstitutional
treatment at the hands of state officials. But these statutes
differ in both scope and operation.
a prisoner's challenge to the validity of his confinement
or to matters affecting its duration falls within the
province of habeas corpus and, therefore, must be brought
pursuant to § 2254. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475, 500 (1973). On the other hand, challenges involving
the circumstances of confinement, or how one ended up in
confinement, may be presented in a § 1983 action. Often,
the Court looks to the relief requested by plaintiff to see
what type of action he is seeking. If plaintiff is seeking
money damages for civil rights violations relating to his
conditions of confinement, the case is most likely a §
1983 action. However, if plaintiff is seeking to expunge or
vacate his conviction, the action is most likely one brought
pursuant to habeas corpus, or § 2254.
case, plaintiff is seeking both money damages and to vacate
and expunge his conviction. This appears to be a
“hybrid” action of some sort, where plaintiff is
seeking both relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as
under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court will not allow
plaintiff to proceed under both statutes simultaneously in
one action. If he wishes to bring both ...