United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
KRISTINE G. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Brandon King, who is currently an inmate at the Pope County
Detention Center, filed a pro se complaint, pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on November 23, 2018, naming as
defendants David Bevis and Dustin Mora of the Russellville
Police Department, Pope County Jail Captain Rowdy Sweet, and
Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones (Dkt. No. 2). Pending before
the Court is Mr. King's motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and motion for status update (Dkt.
Nos. 1, 3).
In Forma Pauperis
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, she will be allowed to proceed
with her § 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. §
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)
("Notwithstanding subsection (a), if a prisoner brings a
civil action or files an appeal in forma pauperis, the
prisoner shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing
fee."); see also Jackson v. N.P. Dodge Realty
Co., 173 F.Supp.2d 951, 952 (D. Neb. 2001) ("The
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) makes prisoners
responsible for their filing fees the moment the prisoner
brings a civil action or files an appeal. Thus, when an
application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) is filed in
such a case, 'the only issue is whether the inmate pays
the entire fee at the initiation of the proceeding or over a
period of time under an installment plan.'")
(citations omitted) (quoting Henderson v. Norris,
129 F.3d 481, 483 (8th Cir. 1997)).
King has submitted a declaration that makes the showing
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (Dkt. No. 1).
Accordingly, Mr. King's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis is granted. Based on the information contained
in Mr. King's account information sheet, the Court will
not assess an initial partial filing fee. Mr. King will be
obligated to make monthly payments in the amount of 20
percent of the preceding month's income credited to Mr.
King's prison trust account each time the amount in the
account exceeds $10.00 until the $350.00 filing fee is fully
paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
King alleges that on October 30, 2018, he was sitting in a
friend's car in the parking lot of the Park Motel in
Russellville, Arkansas, when Officers of the Russellville
Police Department detained him (Dkt. No. 2, at 4). Several
hours later, following the Officers' discovery of a
firearm during a search of Room #19, the Officers charged Mr.
King with unlawfully discharging a firearm, possession of a
firearm by certain persons, and criminal mischief
(Id.). Based on the allegations in his complaint,
Mr. King is currently being held in the Pope County Detention
Center awaiting trial on those charges (Id., at 3,
5). He maintains his innocence (Id., at 5).
Specifically, Mr. King explains that: he did not discharge a
firearm and was not in possession or the vicinity of a
firearm; the hotel room that the officers searched was not
booked in his name; and he was never tested for gun residue
at the time of his arrest (Id). He seeks damages
(Id., at 6).
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: (a) are legally frivolous or malicious; (b) fail
to state a claim upon which relief King be granted; or (c)
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 ...