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Bradford v. Milam

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

January 23, 2014

DOMINIQUE TAVON BRADFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
KIRK MILAM, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MICHAEL F. URBANSKI, District Judge.

Dominique Tavon Bradford, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that names criminal defense attorney Kirk Milam as the sole defendant. Plaintiff alleges that Kirk Milam will not visit Plaintiff in jail to discuss Plaintiff's criminal prosecution.

Plaintiff may not proceed against Kirk Milam via § 1983 because Plaintiff's criminal defense attorney, whether retained, court-appointed, or a public defender, does not act under color of state law. See, e.g., West v. Atkins , 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (a defendant to a § 1983 action must of violated a federal right while under color of state law); Deas v. Potts , 547 F.2d 800 (4th Cir. 1976) (a private attorney does not act under color of state law); Hall v. Quillen , 631 F.2d 1154, 1155-56 & nn.2-3 (4th Cir. 1980) (same for a court-appointed attorney); Polk County v. Dodson , 454 U.S. 312, 317-24 & nn.8-16 (1981) (same for a public defender). Accordingly, Plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and the Complaint is dismissed without prejudice for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).


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