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Brown v. Caldwell

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

September 11, 2014

MARTY BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD S. CALDWELL, et al., Defendants.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

NORMAN K. MOON, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se , filed this civil rights action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics , 403 U.S. 388 (1971). I referred the matter to United States Magistrate Judge Pamela Meade Sargent for a report and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Judge Sargent correctly construed the complaint as having been filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as a Bivens action allows damages suits to be maintained against federal officials for violations of the United States Constitution, and Plaintiff has named as defendants a Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Roanoke, Virginia, an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Roanoke, and a sergeant in the Roanoke City Police Department's Warrant Service Unit.

Plaintiff alleges that the defendants held two criminal arrest warrants in the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and the Police Department without properly informing a court of their existence, in violation of his due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff further alleges that the defendants' actions failed to comply with the provisions of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, ("IADA"), and violated his right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The Magistrate Judge recommends granting the defendants' motions. Plaintiff filed objections, but his objections are conclusory and reiterate arguments already presented, and thus they lack the specificity required by Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and have the same effect as a failure to object. See Veney v. Astrue , 539 F.Supp.2d 841, 845 (2008).

Moreover, having reviewed the report and recommendation, the objections thereto, and pertinent portions of the record de novo in accordance with § 636(b)(1), I find that plaintiff's objections fail, and I adopt the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation in toto . Plaintiff's objections do not dislodge Judge Sargent's proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law, particularly the following:

• The Commonwealth's Attorney defendants are immune from suit in their official capacities under the Eleventh Amendment, see Harter v. Vernon , 101 F.3d 334, 340 (4th Cir. 1996) (citing Bockes v. Fields , 999 F.2d 788, 790-91 (4th Cir. 1993)); and they are entitled to absolute immunity for acts within the scope of their prosecutorial duties, see Imbler v. Pachtman , 424 U.S. 409, 420 (1976); Springmen v. Williams , 122 F.3d 211, 213 (4th Cir. 1997).
• Plaintiff has not been arrested on the two outstanding Virginia warrants against him, and therefore plaintiff fails to assert plausible claims of a violation of either the IADA or his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial. See Williamson v. Commonwealth , 13 Va.App. 655, 658 (1992) (an arrest on a fugitive warrant in North Carolina does not constitute an arrest on the underlying warrant in Virginia).
• As plaintiff has not been "arrested" as contemplated in Virginia Code § 19.2-243, he is not entitled to a trial on the charges contained in the warrants, his due process rights under Virginia Code § 19.2-243 have not been implicated, and thus he fails to state a claim that his due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated.

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff's objections to the report and recommendation (docket nos. 43, 46) are OVERRULED; the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation (docket no. 42) is ADOPTED in its entirety; defendants' motions to dismiss (docket nos. 18, 21) are GRANTED; and the Clerk of the Court is directed to TERMINATE this case from the court's active docket.

The Clerk of the Court is directed to send copies of this order to the pro se plaintiff and to all counsel of record.


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