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Reves v. Gentry

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

March 7, 2019

TRAVIS RANDALL REVES
v.
SHERIFF ROBERT GENTRY, JAIL ADMINISTRATOR CHRIS WOLCOTT, JAILER ISAAC ALVERDO, JAILER MEGAN LINDSEY, COUNTY JUDGE G. RAY, CIRCUIT JUDGE TOM COOPER, PUBLIC DEFENDER SHORTY BARRETT, PUBLIC DEFENDER MICKY BUCHANEN, DEPUTY COOKE, SEVIER COUNTY DETENTION CENTER and SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT DEFENDANTS

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation.

         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).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 28, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee and is currently incarcerated in the Sevier County Jail. (Id. at 2). He alleges his constitutional rights were violated by a denial of access to the courts, by the loss of personal property, and by unsanitary living conditions in the jail. (Id. at 6-9). Specifically, he alleges he was denied access to the courts for his pending criminal case through inadequate assistance of counsel from his court-appointed public defender and the lack of a law library in the jail. He also alleges he was arrested on August 6, 2018, and held for eight weeks before being formally charged.[1] (Id. at 4-7). Finally, he states he has not received a Motion for Discovery. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff names Defendants Gentry, Wolcott, Barrett, Buchanen, Ray, and the Sevier County Quorum Court in this claim. (Id. at 6).

         Plaintiff alleges his personal property was incorrectly given to his girlfriend when she was released from the jail. This property included his wallet, cash, gift cards, an EBT card, his Social Security card, food stamps, and the title to his pickup truck. As a result, he has lost this personal property. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff names Defendants Lindsey, Alverdo, Wolcott, Gentry, and the Sevier County Detention Center in this claim. (Id.).

         Finally, he alleges he was placed in an isolation cell which contained blood and feces on the walls, bed, and floor, which exposed him to disease. (Id. at 8). He alleges he was told to clean the cell but was not given cleaning materials or gloves. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff names Defendants Cooke, Gentry, Wolcott, Alverdo, and Lindsey in this claim.

         Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendants in their personal and official capacity. (Id. at 6-8). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He also seeks access to a law library on a reasonable daily schedule, the return of his property, and the appointment of a lawyer who will represent him. (Id. at 9).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under 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: (1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         A claim 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)). Even a pro se Plaintiff must allege specific facts sufficient to support a claim. Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Circuit Judge Tom Cooper

         Judge Cooper is immune from suit. See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991) ("judicial immunity is an immunity from suit, not just from ultimate assessment of damages"); Duty v. City of Springdale, 42 F.3d 460, 462 (8th Cir. 1994) (judges are generally immune from suit for money damages); Robinson v. Freeze, 15 F.3d 107, 108 (8th Cir. 1994) ("Judges performing judicial functions enjoy absolute immunity from § 1983 liability."). Judicial immunity is only overcome in two situations: (1) if the challenged act is non-judicial; and (2) if the action, although judicial in nature, was taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction. Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11; see alsoStump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356-57 (1978) (“A judge will not be deprived of immunity because the action he took was in error, ...


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