United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
JAMES CAMERON ANTHONY GRIFFIN, JR. PLAINTIFF
MATT DURRETT, Prosecuting Attorney DEFENDANT
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff Thomas Wilson
under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. He
is currently incarcerated in the Washington County Detention
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) modified the IFP statute,
28 U.S.C. § 1915, to require the Court to screen
complaints for dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B). The
Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it
contains claims that: (a) are frivolous or malicious; (b)
fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff has
been incarcerated since July 6, 2013, without being brought
to trial. Plaintiff alleges the Defendant, Washington County
Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett, has violated the
"fast and speedy trial" act.
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Additionally, Plaintiff asks for the Federal Bureau of
Investigation to conduct an investigation into the Washington
County legal system and jail.
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen a case prior to
service of process being issued. A claim is frivolous when it
"lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A
claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." BellAtl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). However, the
Court bears in mind that when "evaluating whether a
pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to
state a claim, we hold 'a pro se complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, ... to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'"
Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
damages claim against Durrett is subject to dismissal, as
Durrett is entitled to immunity. The United States Supreme
Court in Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 427
(1976), established the absolute immunity of a prosecutor
from a civil suit for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
"in initiating a prosecution and in presenting the
State's case." This immunity extends to all acts
that are "intimately associated with the judicial phase
of the criminal process." Id. at 430; see
also Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259 (1993)
(finding that a prosecutor acting as an advocate for the
state in a criminal prosecution is entitled to absolute
immunity while a prosecutor acting in an investigatory or
administrative capacity is only entitled to qualified
immunity); Brodnicki v. City of Omaha, 75 F.3d 1261
(8th Cir. 1996) (holding that county prosecutors were
entitled to absolute immunity from suit).
Plaintiffs request for injunctive relief, prosecutors are not
immune from claims for equitable relief. Supreme Court v.
Consumers Union, 446 U.S. 719, 736-38 (1980). However,
"[t]he federal courts should not interfere in state
criminal court proceedings [by granting equitable relief]
when state and federal law provide adequate legal remedies
and when intervention needlessly threatens the principle of
comity." Smith v. Bacon, 699 F.2d 434, 437 (8th
Cir. 1983) (per curiam) (citation omitted). Generally,
adequate legal remedies exist through the use of state
procedural safeguards and state and federal habeas corpus
proceedings. Rogers v. Bruntrager, 841 F.2d 853, 856
(8th Cir. 1988). Under Arkansas law, a defendant may be
entitled to release from incarceration and/or dismissal of
criminal charges if not brought to trial within the time
provided by Rule 28.2 of the Arkansas Rules of Civil
Procedure. This provides the Plaintiff with an adequate legal
the Court has no authority to investigate matters; rather,
the power to investigate lies with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the United States Department of Justice.
See e.g., Friedman v. United States, 374 F.2d 363,
367-68 (8th Cir. 1967).
Complaint fails to state a cognizable claim under §
1983, is frivolous, and/or is asserted against an individual
immune from suit. The case is DISMISSED WITH ...