United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Byron
T. Smith, Sr., an inmate at the Mississippi County Detention
Center, for leave to commence this civil action without
prepayment of the required filing fee. Having reviewed the
motion and the financial information submitted in support,
the Court has determined to grant the motion and assess an
initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will dismiss this case without prejudice.
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
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 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 $10.00, until the
filing fee is fully paid. Id.
did not submit an inmate account statement in support of the
instant motion. However, the Court will not require him to
file one at this time and will instead assess an initial
partial filing fee of $1.00. Any claim that plaintiff is
unable to pay this amount must be supported by a certified
copy of his inmate account statement.
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 may be
granted. An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable
basis in either law or fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it does not
plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). Determining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim for relief is a context-specific task that requires the
reviewing court to draw upon judicial experience and common
sense. Id. at 679. The court must assume the
veracity of well-pleaded facts, but need not accept as true
"[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements."
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
Court must liberally construe complaints filed by laypeople.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). This
means that "if the essence of an allegation is
discernible," the court should "construe the
complaint in a way that permits the layperson's claim to
be considered within the proper legal framework."
Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir.
2004)). However, even pro se complaints must 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). Federal courts are not required to assume facts that
are not alleged, Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15, nor are
they required to interpret procedural rules so as to excuse
mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. See McNeil
v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113(1993).
to the complaint are copies of records from the Missouri
State Court criminal case State of Missouri v. Byron
Smith, No. 14MI-CR00143-01 (33rd Jud. Cir. 2014), in
which plaintiff is charged with first-degree statutory sodomy
and first-degree statutory rape. The Court has reviewed the
records of that case on Missouri Case.net, the State of
Missouri's online docketing system. The Honorable Joe Z.
Satterfield served as the presiding judge in that matter
until July 23, 2019, when a new judge was assigned. As of the
date of this Memorandum and Order, those charges remain
pending against plaintiff This Court takes judicial notice of
the Missouri State Court record before it, 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.").
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Judge Satterfield. He states he brings a claim of racial
discrimination. In support, he alleges that when Judge
Satterfield was presiding over his criminal case, he was
"motivated solely by racism to take my bond without a
just legit cause," and "committed perjury" by
issuing a "frivolous warrant for arrest" that
contained "an unsupported lie that the Bonding Agency
person Lavonda Walker and Walker Bail Bonds was not qualified
in the State of Missouri." Plaintiff also alleges that
on June 4, 2019 his bond was set twice as high as it was when
plaintiff was originally on bond because of a
"fabricated lie and bogus warrant." The complaint
continues in this manner, with plaintiff alleging that Judge
Satterfield told "numerous unproved made up lies"
and was "racially motivated in all his decisions"
regarding plaintiff's bond.
attached to the complaint copies of the arrest warrant and
Judge Satterfield's June 4, 2019 order setting plaintiffs
bond at $500, 000, 10% cash or surety. The arrest warrant
notes that the bondsman and bail bond company that agreed to
insure plaintiffs appearance were no longer qualified in the
State of Missouri, and the bond therefore could not be
enforced. In the order setting bond, Judge Satterfield wrote
he was setting bond at that ...