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Hyatt v. Salien County Circuit Court

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

March 8, 2019

RICHARD DOUGLAS HYATT PLAINTIFF ADC #127294
v.
SALIEN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          BILLY ROY WILSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Richard Douglas Hyatt (“Plaintiff”), in custody at the Saline County Detention Center, filed this case pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and submitted a Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. Nos. 1, 2). Because Plaintiff provided the documentation required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), his request to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 1) is GRANTED.[1]

         I. In Forma Pauperis Application

         If a prisoner is permitted to file a civil action in forma pauperis, he still must pay the $350.00 filing fee.[2] The only question is whether he will pay the entire filing fee at the beginning of the lawsuit or pay in installments over a period of time.[3] To proceed in forma pauperis, an inmate must file an application and attach a calculation sheet that shows his trust account balances.[4] Based on the information provided, the Court will determine how the filing fee is to be paid. If an inmate is allowed to pay over time, he has to pay all of the filing fee, even if the case is dismissed before trial, and no part of the fee will be refunded.

         Plaintiff's calculation sheet shows that he has an average monthly deposit of $0.00.[5] I will not assess an initial partial filing fee because Plaintiff cannot afford to pay one. His present custodian, the Administrator of the Saline County Detention Center, or his or her designee, or any future custodian, will collect the will collect the $350.00 filing fee in monthly payments of 20% of the preceding month's income credited to Plaintiff's inmate trust account, whenever the account has more than $10.00. The payments should be clearly identified by the name and number assigned to this action.

         II. Screening

         I must screen prisoner complaints that seek relief against a government entity, officer, or employee.[6] 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.[7]

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his constitutional rights in a pending state-court criminal action.[8] Specifically, he alleges that the last time he saw a judge was at a bond hearing eight months ago; dates and times in his case were changed without his presence in front of a judge and without his knowledge; he did not receive notice when his attorney left the public defender's office; ineffective assistance of counsel; and excessive bail.[9] Plaintiff's claims against Defendants should be stayed. In Younger v. Harris, [10] the Supreme Court held that federal courts should abstain from interfering in ongoing state 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 that will not unduly interfere with the legitimate activities of the States.[11]

         The 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.[12] Here, Arkansas has an important interest in adjudicating the charges against Plaintiff, and he may raise the constitutional issues before the state court. Plaintiff has not pled any extraordinary circumstances that would warrant intervention in the state proceedings.[13] When, as here, a plaintiff seeks damages, his case should be stayed under Younger, rather than dismissed.[14] Accordingly, Plaintiff's case is administratively terminated until the criminal charges against him have been fully resolved.

         CONCLUSION

         1. Plaintiff's Motion For Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. No. 1) is GRANTED.

         2. Plaintiff's present custodian, the Administrator of the Saline County Detention Center, or his or her designee, or any future custodian, will collect the will collect the $350.00 filing fee in monthly payments of 20% of the preceding month's income credited to Plaintiff's inmate trust account, whenever the account has more than $10.00. The payments should be clearly identified by the name and number assigned to this action.

         3. The Clerk of the Court is directed to send a copy of this Order to the Administrator of the Saline County Detention Center, ...


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