United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge
Zachary Charles Crockett, who is currently an inmate at the
Pulaski County Detention Center, filed a pro se
complaint, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on October 31,
2018, naming as defendants the Little Rock Police Department
and Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas (Dkt. No. 2).
Pending before the Court is Mr. Crockett's second motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (Dkt. No. 5).
In Forma Pauperis Application
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), a
prisoner who is permitted to file a civil action in forma
pauperis still must pay the full statutory filing fee of
$350.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The only question is
whether a prisoner will pay the entire filing fee at the
initiation of the proceeding or in installments over a period
of time. Ashley v. Dilworth, 147 F.3d 715, 716 (8th
Cir. 1998). Even if a prisoner is without assets and unable
to pay an initial filing fee, he will be allowed to proceed
with his § 1983 claims, and the filing fee will be
collected by the Court in installments from the
prisoner's inmate trust account. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). If the prisoner's case is subsequently
dismissed for any reason, including a determination that it
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief, the full amount of the $350.00 filing fee will be
collected, and no portion of this filing fee will be refunded
to the prisoner. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Crockett has submitted a declaration that makes the showing
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (Dkt. No. 5).
Accordingly, Mr. Crockett's motion to proceed in
forma pauperis is granted. Based on the information
contained in Mr. Crockett's account information sheet,
the Court assesses an initial partial filing fee in the
amount of $5.12. After the filing fee is collected, Mr.
Crockett will be obligated to make monthly payments in the
amount of 20 percent of the preceding month's income
credited to Mr. Crockett's prison trust account each time
the amount in the account exceeds $10.00 until the balance of
the $350.00 filing fee is fully paid. 28 U.S.C. §
Crockett alleges that he was biking to his job at the
Greyhound bus station in the predawn hours of July 10, 2018,
when he noticed a Little Rock Police Department patrol car
(Dkt. No. 2, at 4-5). Eventually, the car stopped behind Mr.
Crockett at a stop sign, then followed him for one-and-a-half
blocks before pulling him over (Id., at 5). The
officer explained that he stopped Mr. Crockett because he
observed Mr. Crockett pause at a car with an open window,
then ride off after he realized he was being watched
(Id.). Mr. Crockett alleges that the officer lacked
probable cause to pull him over and maintains that racism and
racial profiling prompted the stop (Id., at 5-6).
Crockett, who has been convicted of a felony, denied consent
for the officer to pat him down and fled on his bicycle; he
was in possession of a firearm and feared the officer's
reaction if the officer found out (Id., at 6).
Apparently, the officer gave chase and ultimately found the
firearm, as Mr. Crockett explains that he ended up with three
stitches and criminal charges that remain pending
(Id., at 6-7). He is currently detained awaiting
trial (Dkt. No. 2, at 3). In his request for relief, Mr.
Crockett seeks damages, a full investigation, and that all
charges against him be dropped (Id., at 8).
PLRA requires federal courts to screen prisoner complaints
seeking relief against a governmental entity, officer, or
employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a
complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised
claims that: (1) are legally frivolous or malicious; (2) fail
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3)
seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. Id. § 1915A(b). The in forma
pauperis statute also imposes these standards for
dismissal. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). 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.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In reviewing the
sufficiency of a pro se complaint under the
Court's screening function, the Court must give the
complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The Court also must
weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff,
unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). Although pro
se complaints are to be liberally construed, the
complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state a
claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d
1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme
Court held that federal courts should abstain from
interfering in ongoing state-court 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 ...