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Sanders v. Byrd

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

August 19, 2016

KEVIN SANDERS PLAINTIFF
v.
TERRY BYRD, JR., et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          J. LEON HOLMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Kevin Sanders, an inmate at the Mississippi County Detention Center, filed this lawsuit pro se, and submitted an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). Documents #1, #2, #6. Because Sanders has provided the necessary documentation, his motion to proceed IFP is granted.

         I. In Forma Pauperis Application

         Even though Sanders may proceed IFP, the law requires him to pay a $350.00 filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The only question is the amount of the monthly payments Sanders must make from his prison trust account to satisfy the filing fee. Here, based on the information contained in the trust fund calculation sheet and certificate, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $15.76.

         Sanders’ present custodians are directed to collect from Sanders’ institutional account an initial partial filing fee of $30.41, and to forward that amount to the Clerk of this Court. Thereafter, Sanders’ custodians are directed to collect monthly payments amounting to 20% of the preceding month’s income credited to Sanders’ prison trust account each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00, until the $350.00 filing fee is paid in full. Payments should be clearly identified by the name and number assigned to this action.

         The Clerk of Court is directed to send a copy of this order to the Sheriff of the Mississippi County Detention Center, 685 NCR 599, Luxora, Arkansas 72358.

         II. Screening

         Before docketing, or as soon thereafter as practicable, a prisoner’s complaint must be reviewed to identify cognizable claims and must be dismissed if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Although a complaint requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, the factual allegations set forth therein must be sufficient to raise the right to relief above the speculative level. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (“a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do . . . .”). A pro se complaint must contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, not merely conceivable. Martin v. Sargent, 780 F .2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985). However, a pro se plaintiff’s allegations must be construed liberally. Burke v. North Dakota Dept. of Corr. & Rehab., 294 F.3d 1043, 1043-44 (8th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted).

         III. Analysis

         According to Sanders’ complaint, he is being held at the Mississippi County Detention Center without cause. He claims he was arrested for a sexual assault crime that he did not commit. Document #2. He is awaiting trial.

         In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-45, 91 S.Ct. 746, 750-51, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971), the Supreme Court held that federal courts should abstain from interfering in ongoing state proceedings. The Court explained the rationale for such abstention as follows:

[The concept of federalism] represent[s] . . . a system in which there is sensitivity to the legitimate interests of both State and National Governments, and in which the National Government, anxious though it may be to vindicate and protect federal rights and federal interests, always endeavors to do so in ways that will not unduly interfere with the legitimate activities of the States.

Id. at 44, 91 S.Ct. at 750-51.

         Accordingly, a federal court must abstain from entertaining constitutional claims when: (1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding; (2) the state proceeding implicates important state interests; and (3) there is an adequate opportunity in the state proceedings to raise the constitutional challenges. Yamaha Motor Corp. v. Stroud, 179 F.3d 598, 602 (8th Cir. 1999); Yamaha Motor Corp. v. Riney, 21 F.3d 793, 797 (8th Cir. 1994). If all three questions are answered affirmatively, a federal court should abstain unless it detects “bad faith, harassment, or some other extraordinary circumstance that would make ...


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