United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Timothy L. Brooks Judge.
has filed this case contending his constitutional rights were
violated during a traffic stop and resulting state court
prosecution. He asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. §§
1981, 1983, 1985(3), 1986, 1988(a), 2000d, 18 U.S.C. §
241 and the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments. He proceeds pro se and in forma
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court has the obligation
to screen any complaint in which an individual has sought
leave to proceed IFP. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). On review,
the Court is to dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, that is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
23, 2015, Corporal James Collins pulled Plaintiffs vehicle
over. According to Corporal Collins' sworn statement, he
noticed Plaintiff going from the left lane, to the right
lane, and back to the left lane. (Doc. 1 -13). He believed
Plaintiff was "having difficulty maintaining a constant
path." Id. He activated his lights and pulled
the vehicle over. Id.
Collins stated that when he approached the vehicle he
"immediately noticed a very strong odor of burnt
marijuana." Id. After initially denying he had
marijuana, Plaintiff "unfolded his hand" and handed
Corporal Collins a "half-consumed cigarillo that was
filled with marijuana." Id. Plaintiff also
handed over a Ziploc bag containing marijuana. Id.
Corporal Collins then called a wrecker and placed Plaintiff
in the back seat of the patrol car. Id. Corporal
Collins reported that he located several other Ziploc bags of
marijuana and a digital scale in a backpack on the front
passenger seat. Id.
result of the stop, Plaintiff was charged with possession of
a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) with the
purpose to deliver; possession of drug paraphernalia; driving
while his license was suspended; and careless and prohibited
driving. (Doc. 1-43). Later, Plaintiff was charged as a
3, 2017, Plaintiff entered a plea of guilty to the drug
possession, paraphernalia possession, driving without a
license, and careless and prohibited driving charges. (Doc.
1-2). Plaintiff signed the plea statement acknowledging his
understanding of the agreement, his guilt of the charges,
that he was entering into the plea agreement freely and
voluntarily, and that he had discussed it with his attorney,
Lee Short, and was satisfied with his services. Id.
filed this case on May 18, 2017, asserting that the traffic
stop and search of his vehicle were unlawful. Plaintiff also
maintains that the statements made by Corporal Collins in his
report are false and the evidence from the search should have
been suppressed. Plaintiff believes he was denied his right
to a fair trial, to a speedy trial, to due process, and to
equal protection under the law by the state court trial
judge, the Honorable John Putman. Plaintiff also maintains
that he was also forced into taking an illegal plea. He
accuses the prosecuting attorney, Wes Bradford, of
withholding exculpatory evidence, failing to provide complete
discovery, pursuing charges based on fabricated and
manufactured evidence, and otherwise engaging in
the course of the state criminal proceeding, Plaintiff was
represented by Public Defenders Timothy Bunch, Dan (Charles)
Hancock, and Lee Short. He was also represented for a period
of time by a Little Rock attorney named Ronald Davis, Jr.
Plaintiff believes each of these attorneys provided him
ineffective assistance of counsel by, among other things,
failing to obtain complete discovery, not filing the motions
he thought should be filed, lying to him, and not taking
directions from him. At the conclusion of his case, Plaintiff
was represented by Lee Short.
April 27, 2017, prior to filing the instant lawsuit,
Plaintiff had filed a motion to remove his state criminal
case to federal court. The case was promptly remanded to the
Circuit Court of Boone County by opinion and order entered on
April 27, 2017, by Chief United States District Judge P.K.
Holmes, III. See State of Arkansas v. Ausler,
3:17-CR-30003 (Doc. 3). Now he argues that his Fifth, Sixth,
Eighth, Fourteenth Amendment, and Equal
Protection rights have been violated in the course of
his state prosecution and conviction. He also contends the
State of Arkansas employs a policy or custom of subjecting
citizens to deprivations of procedural due process rights
under color of state law.
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 Atl. 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)).
purports to be asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. §§
1981, 1983, 1985(3), 1986, 1988(a), 2000d, 18 U.S.C. §
241, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution, and the Equal
Protection Clause. As discussed above, the Defendants are the
individuals involved in Plaintiffs state court criminal case,
including the judge, the prosecutor, and the attorneys who