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Jenkins v. State

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

December 28, 2018

DARYL JENKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF VIRGINIA, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge

         Daryl Jenkins, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The action proceeds on the PARTICULARIZED COMPLAINT. ("Complaint," ECF No. 16) . The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. 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 (E.D. 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) (citing 5A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1356 (1990)). 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. Iqbal, 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," id. at 570, rather than merely "conceivable." Id. "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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In order for a claim or complaint to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, 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, 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).

         II. ALLEGATIONS

         In his Complaint, Jenkins argues that his First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated during his state criminal proceedings. (Compl. I.)[2] Jenkins identifies Mark Herring, the Attorney General of Virginia, as the Defendant. (Id.) Jenkins contends that:

My rights were violated by the Commonwealth of Virginia by denying my 6th Amendment right to due process. I was not properly informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against me. I was denied my right to counsel and deprived of my life and liberty.
A. I had cruel and unusual punishment inflicted upon me by the court going out of [the] sentencing guidelines and over the jury recommended sentence (8th Amendment right violated)....
B. My 14th Amendment right to due process was violated by me being removed from the courtroom and the trial continuing without my presence (6th Amendment right violated)....
C. Prosecuted quasi in rem instead of as a (natural person 28 U.S.C. [§] 1391) violating my 1st, 5th, 6th, 9th, and 14th Amendment rights. . . .

(Id.) Jenkins argues that "Mark Herring is liable because he is the Virginia Attorney General." (Id. at 2.) Jenkins asks for a "declaration that the acts and omissions described herein violate his rights," and monetary damages. (Id. at 3.)

         III. ...


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