United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Terry McCoy, in custody at the W.C. Dub Brassell Adult
Detention Center, filed a pro se Complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and application for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis (IFP), which has been granted.
(Doc. Nos. 6, 8).
law requires courts to screen in forma pauperis
complaints, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), and prisoner complaints
seeking relief against a governmental entity, officer, or
employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Claims that are legally
frivolous or malicious; that fail to state a claim for
relief; or that seek money from a defendant who is immune
from paying damages should be dismissed before the defendants
are served. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” In Bell
Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007), the Court stated, “a plaintiff's obligation
to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, ” citing 5 C. Wright &
A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp.
235-236 (3d ed. 2004). A complaint must contain enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, not
merely conceivable. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
However, a pro se plaintiff's allegations must
be construed liberally. Burke v. North Dakota Dept. of
Corr. & Rehab., 294 F.3d 1043, 1043-1044 (8th
Cir.2002) (citations omitted).
is currently awaiting trial in Jefferson County, Arkansas, on
charges of breaking or entering and theft of property.
State v. McCoy, 35CR-18-421. Public records show
that on May 14, 2019 he was served with an alias bench
warrant for failure to appear. McCoy alleges he was also
served a parole abscond warrant on May 14, 2019, but to date
has not had his parole revocation hearing. He sued multiple
Defendants ranging from Judges to Court Clerks to Nurses
alleging violation of his federally-protected rights. (Doc.
No. 8). McCoy makes four claims ranging from alleged
violations of his due process rights to deliberate
indifference to his medical needs. (Id.) His first
and third claims relate to ongoing state criminal proceedings
against him. (Id. at 5-10, 12-13). Specifically, he
challenges his current confinement because he has not had a
final parole revocation hearing, and he maintains the pending
criminal charges against him are based on falsified
information. McCoy's second claim is a deliberate
indifference to medical care claim and in his fourth claim he
asserts he has been wrongfully denied documents under the
Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”).
(Id. at 10-12, 13-14).
deliberate indifference and FOIA claims are unrelated to his
claims in connection with the criminal proceedings against
him and, accordingly, will be dismissed without prejudice.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 20. He may file these claims as a separate
lawsuit if he chooses.
is in jail awaiting trial on pending criminal charges. He
claims he has not had a final parole revocation hearing, and
that the charges against him are based on falsified
information. (Doc. No. 8). In Younger v. Harris, 401
U.S. 37, 43-45 (1971), 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.
Id. at 44.
a federal court must abstain from entertaining constitutional
claims when: (1) there is an ongoing state judicial
proceeding; (2) the state proceeding implicates important
state interests; and (3) there is an adequate opportunity in
the state proceedings to raise the constitutional challenges.
Yamaha Motor Corp. v. Stroud, 179 F.3d 598, 602 (8th
Cir. 1999); Yamaha Motor Corp. v. Riney, 21 F.3d
793, 797 (8th Cir. 1994). If all three questions are answered
affirmatively, a federal court should abstain unless it
detects “bad faith, harassment, or some other
extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention
inappropriate.” Middlesex County Ethics Comm'n
v. Garden State Bar Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 435 (1982).
is involved in ongoing state criminal proceedings, and
Arkansas has an important interest in its criminal justice
procedures. As such, the Court should abstain from
entertaining plaintiff's constitutional claims. Further,
there is no indication of bad faith, harassment, or any other
extraordinary circumstance that would make abstention
determined that the Court should abstain from entertaining
McCoy's claims, it must decide whether to dismiss, or to
stay, the case. Where only injunctive or equitable relief is
sought, dismissal is appropriate. Night Clubs, Inc. v.
City of Fort Smith, 163 F.3d 475, 481 (8th Cir. 1998).
McCoy, however, seeks damages. Accordingly, McCoy's case
is stayed and administratively terminated. Stroud,
179 F.3d at 603-04.