AKINS v. REED

Civil Action No. 3:17-CV-P18-CRS.

DERRICK D'KEITH AKINS, Plaintiff, v. KATHERINE REED et al., Defendants.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division.

Editors Note
Applicable Law: 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Cause: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Prisoner Civil Rights
Nature of Suit: 550 Prisoner: Civil Rights
Source: PACER


Attorney(s) appearing for the Case

Derrick D'Keith Akins, Plaintiff, Pro Se.


MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Derrick D'Keith Akins, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, initiated this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action by filing a complaint. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed.

I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC). He names as Defendants in their individual and official capacities Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Katherine Reed and Nathan Ray Batey II. He also names as a Defendant the Director of the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office Thomas B. Wine, but does not indicate in which capacity he is suing him.

Plaintiff's complaint pertains to what he alleges were unconstitutional actions taken by the Commonwealth's Attorneys' Office during grand jury hearings. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Reed asked leading questions that she knew would lead to "an indictment in an unjust manner." He further alleges that Defendant Batey knew of false testimony presented at the grand jury hearing.

As relief, Plaintiff asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

II. ANALYSIS

When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the action, if the Court determines that it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. When determining whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

A. Official-capacity claims

"Official-capacity suits . . . `generally represent [ ] another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.'" Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985) (quoting Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Because Defendants are employees or officers of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the claims brought against them in their official capacities are deemed claims against the Commonwealth of Kentucky. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. at 166. State officials sued in their official capacities for money damages are not "persons" subject to suit under § 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). Thus, because Plaintiff seeks money damages from state officers or employees in their official capacities, he fails to allege cognizable claims under § 1983. Additionally, the Eleventh Amendment acts as a bar to claims for monetary damages against Defendants in their official capacities. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. at 169. Therefore, Plaintiff's official-capacity claims against Defendants will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and for seeking monetary relief from Defendants who are immune from such relief.

B. Individual-capacity claims

With regard to Plaintiff's individual-capacity claims, it is well-established that prosecutors are entitled to absolute immunity for conduct intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process. See Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430 (1976); Higgason v. Stephens, 288 F.3d 868, 878 (6th Cir. 2002). Prosecutorial immunity even applies when a prosecutor acts wrongfully or maliciously. See, e.g., Grant v. Hollenbach, 870 F.2d 1135, 1138 (6th Cir. 1989). Plaintiff's claim against Defendants regarding allowing false testimony against him in his grand jury proceeding is barred by absolute prosecutorial immunity. Id. at 1138 (holding that the prosecutor was absolutely immune from suit for allegedly conspiring to present false charges to the grand jury); see also Ireland v. Tunis, 113 F.3d 1435, 1446 (6th Cir. 1997) ("A prosecutor's decision to file a criminal complaint and seek an arrest warrant and the presentation of these materials to a judicial officer fall squarely within the aegis of absolute prosecutorial immunity."). Therefore, Plaintiff's claim against Defendants is barred by prosecutorial immunity and must be dismissed.

III. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, this action will be dismissed by separate Order.


Comment

1000 Characters Remaining

Leagle.com reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

User Comments

Listed below are the cases that are cited in this Featured Case. Click the citation to see the full text of the cited case. Citations are also linked in the body of the Featured Case.

Cited Cases

  • No Cases Found

Listed below are those cases in which this Featured Case is cited. Click on the case name to see the full text of the citing case.

Citing Cases