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Nutt v. Benedict

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

January 22, 2015

RYAN ALLEN NUTT PLAINTIFF
v.
LYNN BENEDICT, Retired, Trooper, Arkansas State Police; JIMMY O. THOMAS, Trooper, Arkansas State Police; JANA BRADFORD, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney; BRYAN CHESSHIR, Prosecuting Attorney; and CLAY JANSKE, Attorney DEFENDANTS

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

This is a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds in forma pauperis and pro se.

The case is before me for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

1. Background

According to the allegations of the Complaint, on September 11, 2011, Plaintiff was

arrested and charged with the second degree murder of Christopher Palmer. Palmer died of a

stab wound in his leg inflicted by the Plaintiff. Among the officials at the scene were Troopers

Lynn Benedict and Jimmy O. Thomas of the Arkansas State Police.

The first officer on the scene was Officer Shona Jordan. When she entered the house,

she found a man, later identified as Christopher Palmer, lying in a pool of blood and another

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(Rev. 8/82)

man, later identified as the Plaintiff, beside him holding pressure on the wound. Plaintiff

admitted to stabbing Palmer.

Trooper Benedict took the lead in the investigation having Plaintiff sign a Miranda rights

form and a permission to search form. Troopers Benedict and Thomas interviewed the Plaintiff.

During the interview, Plaintiff maintains Trooper Benedict exhibited bias when he took the word

of eyewitnesses over that of the Plaintiff.

Plaintiff maintains the witness statements prove he acted in self-defense or committed

manslaughter at best. However, due to the bias of Trooper Benedict, Plaintiff states he was

charged with second degree murder.

Plaintiff maintains Trooper Benedict had a conflict of interest and should not have been

involved in the investigation of the case. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Trooper Benedict was

married to Cathy Palmer who was the second or third cousin of the victim. Plaintiff maintains

Trooper Benedict knowingly concealed this fact.

Plaintiff asserts that Trooper Thomas was aware of the conflict and failed to intervene.

In fact, Trooper Thomas was present during the interview of the Plaintiff but played only a

minimal role in the questioning.

With respect to the prosecuting attorneys, Plaintiff maintains they engaged in misconduct

when they knowingly used false or misleading evidence, biased accounts of the events, and

otherwise used evidence they knew to be tainted or biased in the prosecution of the Plaintiff.

With respect to Clay Janske, his attorney, Plaintiff maintains he failed to properly investigate the

facts and people involved and failed to find the conflict of interest.

AO72A

(Rev. 8/82)

Plaintiff maintains Trooper Benedict's conduct violated Plaintiff's ...


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