United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. He
proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. The
case is before the court 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).
to the allegations of the complaint, Plaintiff was
represented on pending criminal state charges by Blake
Chancellor, a public defender. Plaintiff alleges Chancellor
provided ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of
the Sixth Amendment. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
Chancellor: failed to give adequate time to Plaintiff's
case; did not perform the tasks Plaintiff asked him to; was
overworked; was overly tired and almost sleeping in court;
and otherwise acted in an unprofessional manner.
respect to the John Doe Detectives and Transporting Officers,
Plaintiff alleges they threatened him, made promises, and
questioned him without advising him of his rights in
violation of the Fifth Amendment. Further, he states that at
the time he was sick and suffering from drug withdrawal.
respect to the John Doe Booking Officers, Plaintiff alleges
they violated his constitutional rights by taking a DNA
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to
service of process being issued. 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.
is frivolous if “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.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “In 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 (2007)).
Assistance of Counsel Claim
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that
the defendant, while acting under color of state law,
deprived him of a federal right. In Polk County v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981), the Supreme Court held
that a public defender does not act under color of state law
when performing a lawyer's traditional functions as
counsel to indigent defendants in state criminal proceedings.
Thus, when the claim is merely that a public defender failed
to adequately represent the client in his criminal
proceedings, it does not state a cognizable claim under
§ 1983. See also Gilbert v. Corcoran, 530 F.2d
820 (8th Cir. 1976)(conclusory allegations of ineffective
assistance of counsel do not state a claim against public
defenders under § 1983).
Fifth Amendment Claim
Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides
that a person may not be compelled to testify against
themselves. Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441,
444 (1972). “[I]t protects against any disclosures
which the witness reasonably believes could be used in a