United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PARNELL R. MAY PLAINTIFF
MARIANNE SATTERFIELD DEFENDANT
ROY WILSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
screen prisoner complaints that seek relief against a
government entity, officer, or employee. I will dismiss
any part of a complaint raising claims that: (a) are legally
frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (c) seek money from a defendant who
is immune from paying damages. A claim is frivolous if “it
lacks an arguable basis either in law or in
fact.” An action fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted if it does not plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.”
Plaintiff Parnell R. May (“Plaintiff”) alleges
that Defendant Marianne Satterfield
(“Defendant”), a prosecuting attorney, violated
his constitutional rights in a pending state-court criminal
action by amending the felony information against Plaintiff
to include capital murder charges after a jury trial for
murder in the first degree ended in mistrial. Plaintiff's
claims against Defendant should be stayed. In Younger v.
Harris,  the Supreme Court held that federal courts
should abstain from interfering in ongoing state proceedings.
The Court explained the rationale for such abstention as
[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.
Younger abstention doctrine is appropriate where:
(1) there is an ongoing state proceeding; (2) an important
state interest is implicated; and (3) the plaintiff has an
avenue for reviewing his constitutional claims in state
court. Here, Arkansas has an important interest
in adjudicating the charges against May, and he may raise the
constitutional issues before the state court (and he already
has). May has not pled any extraordinary
circumstances that would warrant intervention in the state
proceedings. When, as here, a plaintiff does not seek
damages, his case should be dismissed under Younger,
rather than stayed. Accordingly, May's complaint is
administratively terminated until the criminal charges
against him have been fully resolved.
Clerk of the Court is directed to stay and administratively
terminate this proceeding pending final disposition of
May's criminal charges.
case is subject to reopening upon May's filing of a
motion to reopen the case after such final disposition.
certify, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an in
forma pauperis appeal of this order would not be taken in
 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.