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Hawkins v. Padrick

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

May 1, 2014

JAMES W. HAWKINS, JR., Plaintiffs,
JUDGE THOMAS PADRICK, et al., Defendants.


M. HANNAH LAUCK, Magistrate Judge.

James W. Hawkins, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. Jurisdiction is appropriate pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b) and 1343. For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that Hawkins's claims be DISMISSED.

Preliminary Review

Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") this Court must dismiss any action filed by a prisoner if the Court determines the action (1) "is frivolous" or (2) "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The first standard includes claims based upon "an indisputably meritless legal theory, '" or claims where the "factual contentions are clearly baseless.'" Clay v. Yates, 809 F.Supp. 417, 427 (RD. Va. 1992) (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989)). The second standard is the familiar standard for a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

"A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint; importantly, it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations are taken as true and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993); see also Martin, 980 F.2d at 952. This principle applies only to factual allegations, however, and "a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Ashcroft v. lqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure "require[ only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (second alteration in original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Plaintiffs cannot satisfy this standard with complaints containing only "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. (citations omitted). Instead, a plaintiff must allege facts sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " id. (citation omitted), stating a claim that is "plausible on its face" rather than merely "conceivable." Id. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged?' lqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Ail, Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In order for a claim or complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, therefore, the plaintiff must "allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [his or] her claim." Bass v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003) (citing Dickson v. Microsoft Corp., 309 F.3d 193, 213 (4th Cir. 2002); Iodice v. United States, 289 F.3d 270, 281 (4th Cir. 2002)). Lastly, while the Court liberally construes pro se complaints, see Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), it does not act as the inmate's advocate, sua sponte developing statutory and constitutional claims the inmate failed to clearly raise on the face of his complaint. See Brock v. Carroll, 107 F.3d 241, 243 (4th Cir. 1997) (Luttig, J., concurring); Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

Summary of Allegations

In his Complaint, Hawkins names as defendants Judge Thomas Padrick, a Circuit Court judge in Virginia Beach, Gregory Turpin, a "Probono lawyer, " and Joseph Denardo, the "D.A. for Va. Bch." (Compl. 2-3.) Hawkins alleges:

I'm writing in concern to the wrong on 1.8.13 in your honorable Judge Thomas Padrick courtroom #3. Your Honor denied my motion to remove[ [counselor] Gregory Turpin. And my reason for such removal at the time as written in Standard 1.0 expresses the lawyer client relationship: (A) In all phases of representation a person accuse [sic] or convicted of a crime. [Counselor] and the client must enjoy a lawyer client relationship and Judge Padrick expressed some real harsh words stating if I interrupt his courtroom to such gibberish he will have me gag [sic] and put in the TV room. Mr. Turpin was an intrest [sic] of conflick [sic] in my case but all was denied. I ask for an appellant request and was denied. So I'm asking for a new trial and a new lawyer. This is my life and I'm taking it with precaution and I'm asking you to do the same.
(B) As general matter, the client after cunsulting [sic] with the lawyer, he holds the ultimate decision making... authority over all objections of representation. The lawyer owing his experience, generally chooses the means of obtaining the client objection.
(C) The lawyer "shall" not!!, without the client express authority, enter a plea agree request or enter or wave [sic] a trial by jury, wave [sic] to testify an appeal lawyer "shall" abide by the client decision, after consultation on these decisions.
To whom it may concern: D.A. Mr. Donato to whom denied me of all such request for a polygraph test. My motion of discoveries, and the gun that was used in this case, any fingerprints, tangables [sic] or artafacts [sic], but yet again I was denied of these very important facts to my case and would like to know why and how anyone with higher understanding ignores or bypass such importancies [sic]. Please as being a big taxpayer in society and contributor to noneprofitable [sic] charities I just can't lay my life down without some of intrest [sic] looking into such case.

(Compl. 1-5 through 1-6 (capitalization and ...

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