United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff William
Joseph Metzger, II for leave to commence this civil action
without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No.
2). Having reviewed the motion and the financial information
submitted in support, the Court has determined that plaintiff
lacks sufficient funds to pay the filing fee, and will waive
the initial partial filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). Additionally, for the reasons discussed below,
this action will be dismissed.
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 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 the Court each time the
amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, until
the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
support of his motion, plaintiff has submitted a certified
inmate account statement. (Docket No. 3). The statement shows
that over a six-month period, plaintiff made deposits
totaling only $2.95. As a result, the Court will not require
plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee at this time.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) (stating that a
prisoner shall not be prohibited from bringing a civil action
for the reason the prisoner has “no means by which to
pay the initial partial filing fee”).
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 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief,
which is more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). “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 upon judicial experience and common sense.
Id. at 679. The court must “accept as true the
facts alleged, but not legal conclusions or threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Barton v. Taber,
820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016). See also
Brown v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 372-73
(8th Cir. 2016) (stating that court must accept
factual allegations in complaint as true, but is not required
to “accept as true any legal conclusion couched as a
reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction.
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 (8thCir.
2004) (stating that 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. United States, 508
U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
is a pro se litigant currently incarcerated at the Central
Florida Reception Center in Orlando, Florida. He brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint names
Judge Wesley C. Dalton, Prosecutor Michael Wright, Judge
Keith M. Sutherland, and Prosecutor Jennifer Bartlett as
defendants. (Docket No. 1 at 2-3). The defendants are sued in
their official capacities only.
“Statement of Claim” is contained in a 43-page
attachment to the complaint. His claim arises from his
contention that he was deprived of his right to a probation
revocation hearing before the expiration of his probation on
July 6, 2010, and that he was maintained on probation after
that date due to a detainer. (Docket No. 1-1 at 1).
states that on September 1, 2004, he was charged with leaving
the scene of a motor vehicle accident - injury, property
damage or second offense, a felony. (Docket No. 1-1 at 13). He
explains that while driving on I-70, “a very fast
speeding 18-wheeler” forced him off the road. Claiming
that his cell phone battery was dead, that he was shaken, and
that he did not know what to do, plaintiff drove off rather
than remain at the scene. Eventually, plaintiff was picked up
on a warrant in Illinois and extradited back to Warren
County. (Docket No. 1-1 at 14).
was released on a recognizance bond. He went to St.
Petersburg, Florida, and missed his scheduled court
appearance. (Docket No. 1-1 at 15). A warrant was issued.
Plaintiff was picked up in Florida and extradited to Warren
County. (Docket No. 1-1 at 16).
went to court on July 6, 2005, having not yet spoken to an
attorney. He pled guilty and was sentenced to four years'
imprisonment. (Docket No. 1-1 at 17). The sentence was
suspended, and he was given five years of supervised
probation. (Docket No. 1-1 at 18). Plaintiff states that his
waiver of counsel and his guilty plea was made under duress,
and that he was deprived of his right to counsel, as well as
his right to prepare a defense. (Docket No. 1-1 at 17).
his second meeting with a probation officer, plaintiff used
his SSI check to purchase “a very fair[, ] nice car,
” and returned to Florida. (Docket No. 1-1 at 18). At
some point thereafter, as plaintiff was exiting I-10 on his
way to Highway 275 in Florida, he was pulled over by a state
trooper. (Docket No. 1-1 at 18-19). He was arrested for
D.W.I. and driving on a suspended license. (Docket No. 1-1 at
19). He was taken to the Alachua County Jail in Gainesville,
Wright filed a motion for probation revocation on October 19,
2005. A warrant was issued for his arrest on October 31,
2005, and a detainer placed on him on February 7, 2006.
(Docket No. 1-1 at 19-20). While awaiting disposition of his
charges in Alachua County, plaintiff filed
“several” motions with the Missouri circuit
court. (Docket No. 1-1 at 20). His first motion was a
“motion for modification of sentence” filed on
April 17, 2006. The motion was denied by Judge Sutherland.
Plaintiff also filed a motion for “notice of change of
address” and a motion for “notice of
2006, plaintiff was sentenced to serve two years in the
Florida Department of Corrections. During this time period,
plaintiff filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the
United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Missouri. (Docket No. 1-1 at 20-21). The petition
was ultimately denied.
1, 2007, plaintiff finished his Florida sentence. (Docket No.
1-1 at 21). Upon his release, he was taken to the Washington
County Jail in Chipley, Florida, to be held pending
extradition back to Missouri. He was in the Washington County
Jail approximately twenty days before U.S. Marshals came to
transport him. (Docket No. 1-1 at 22). According to
plaintiff, the U.S. Marshals refused to transport because he
is HIV positive. (Docket No. 1-1 at 7-8). Thereafter,
plaintiff states that he was released, and then “taken
to the county line” by a sheriff's deputy and left
at a gas station approximately one-hundred miles from where
he “was needing to go.” (Docket No. 1-1 at 22).
He states this situation arose ...