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Snowden v. Rios

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

July 2, 2019

M. RIOS, et al., Defendants.


          Robert E. Payne, Senior United States District Judge.

         Michael Lavonn Snowden, a Virginia prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The action proceeds on the PARTICULARIZED COMPLAINT. (ECF No. 9.) The matter is before the Court for evaluation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. As discussed below, the action will be dismissed as legally frivolous and for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.


         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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (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. at 555 (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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). Therefore, 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).


         Snowden faults law enforcement officials, the prosecutor and his defense attorneys for perceived unconstitutional errors in his arrest and criminal proceedings in state court.[2] Snowden's Particularized Complaint is comprised primarily of a recitation of legal standards with sparse factual allegations in support. Snowden contends that:[3]

Officer M. Rios participated in violating Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights on June 17, 2016, when he illegally seized his person denying him equal protection of the law; all under the guise of officers in search of (3) robbery suspects. Officer M. Rios obstructed justice after having been subpoena[ed] to attend and testify. But because of conspiratorial' actions did not and violated Plaintiff's Sixth Amendment right by not allowing him to confront his accuser, who was an arresting officer.
Det. C. Matherson, also on the night of June 17, 2016, unlawfully ran Plaintiff down (which is not against the law) and apprehended him. This is a Fourth Amendment violation of his person being secure. [He] then furthered constitutional violations with the Fifth Amendment in his engaging to do, and cause, in this object of conspiracy, by not processing an alleged crime scene for material evidence that was exculpatory in nature, causing the due process of law violation.
Sgt. J. Yunker was the 3rd officer on the night of June 17, 2016, who was in joint participation in the Plaintiff's unlawful seizing of his own person, violating this security that is to be protected by the Fourth Amendment. In addition, with the title and rank in the forensic unit, [he] should have processed the alleged crime scene if in fact he was not trying to deny a U.S. citizen equal protection that the law affords. Thus, securing his participation in violating Plaintiff's Fifth Amendment due process of law.
[The] Portsmouth Police Department is responsible for the conspiratorial actions by their officers who were hired, trained, and bonded in order to ensure the security of equal protections of law. But one June 17, 2016, [the] Portsmouth Police Department is responsible and liable for the Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment violations against this Plaintiff while on duty in uniform under their shield.
Det. D. Misiewicz, 54 min after the illegal chase and capture of the intoxicated Plaintiff; [she] interrogated, Mirandized, and forged initials and signature on the Miranda form. Thus, violating Plaintiff's Sixth Amendment right, because he did not give her power of attorney to do so. Also Det. D. Misiewicz violated his equal protection under the law, violating Plaintiff's Fifth Amendment due process of law.
Brandon Wrobleski in his conspiratorial actions that are in support of denying Plaintiff with the equal protection of the law. Brandon Wrobleski knew about the witness subpoena issued to Officer M. Rios and all other parties involved. But behind his malicious prosecutorial misconduct towards a citizen, [he] became engrossed and was not able to seek out justice, acts of impeachment, or credibility as he swore under oath to uphold, but instead opted to violate Plaintiff's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights.
Sgt. R. McDaniel attested to a grand jury about events that he had no direct knowledge of, denied Plaintiff the right to confront or rebut anything that was brought before the court, violating his Sixth and Fifth Amendment constitutional right to confront his accuser along with the due process of law.
Johnita Coston failed to protect the remedies of due process law and the equal protection under the law and did not protect Plaintiff's representation of fact. She furthered the conspiratorial tactics attached to M. Rios, officer, when she did not make it known to Plaintiff that his right to confront his accuser was violated but instead tried to cover it up, violating his Sixth Amendment [right], and did ...

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