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Melton v. Monroe County

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

November 27, 2013

MONROE COUNTY et al., Defendants.


JOSEPH H. McKINLEY, Jr., Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff, Billy Keith Melton, filed the instant pro se action. Subsequent to filing the complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking "to I.D. the Case A-42-USCA-1983-Civil Case" (DN 8). The Court construes the motion as a motion to amend the complaint. IT IS ORDERED that the motion (DN 8) is GRANTED. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint and amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon review, the Court will dismiss the action.


Plaintiff is a convicted inmate at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex. He sues the following Defendants: Monroe County; Eddie C. Lovelace, whom Plaintiff identifies as a judge; Hon. Shanda L. West Stiles, an "APA attorney"; Clay Hunley, the Commonwealth Attorney; George Attwood, the "arresting detective"; M. Brooke Buchanan and Tony Wells, whom Plaintiff does not identify; Karen Shuff Maurer, an "Asst Publice Avocate"; and Attorney General Jack Conway. He sues all Defendants in their individual and official capacities, except for Wells, Maurer, and Conway. He does not state in which capacity he is suing those three Defendants.

Plaintiff states, "The Court of Monroe County failed to follow court procedures in having Mr. Melton a incompetent hearing or the failure to observe procedures adequate to protect a defendants right not to be tried or convicted while incompetent to stand trial...." He avers, "The judge knew Mr. Melton drawed SSI for mental problems so he should of been tested before he was tried (Period). (Improper proscution)." He contends that his attorney's refusal to ask the court for a competency hearing or evaluation was ineffective assistance of counsel. Plaintiff further states that he had a "conflict with this attorney of his trial for his own attorney work for the Commonwealth causing a conflict of interest...." Plaintiff also contends that his attorney failed to retain an expert witness to assist in his defense.

Plaintiff further states, "The prosecutor shows when he drop the PFO's before the jury found Mr. Melton guilty of a life sentence that he already knew what the jury was going to do in this case proving Mr. Melton was not getting a trial for he was already guilty before he went to trial." Plaintiff contends that his sentence for wanton murder "clearly shows he did not have it in his mind to want to kill the girl if they had, had sex if it was a wanton murder he could of hide the body instead of calling the ambulance." Plaintiff also states that "they paid other inmates to make remarks about my case in Monroe Co. Jail" at the time of his trial. He also thinks the judge and the prosecutor were paid in his case.

Plaintiff further contends that his attorneys were ineffective because they "did not try to get Melton a lesser charge we all can see from the videos and paperwork it was Not a wanton murder case...." He also contends the prosecutors "addressed Mr. Meltons charge to the jury improper malicious prosection."

Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his rights under the United States and Kentucky Constitutions and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983. As relief, Plaintiff seeks $10 million in punitive damages plus interest and attorneys fees.

In the amended complaint, Plaintiff contends that Defendants "significantly restrain Mr. Melton's liberty to do those things which in this country free men are entitled to do." He states, "Such restraints are enough to invoke the help of a 42-USC-1983 Civil case or the Great Writ such as a 28-USC-2254 Habeas Corpus part Civil part crimmal... But Mr. Melton chose to file the 42-USC-1983." Plaintiff further asserts that "the judge conspires with the State Officals to deprive Mr. Melton his Constitutional Rights."


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 complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint 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), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true." Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)). "But the district court need not accept a bare assertion of legal conclusions.'" Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)).

The Court recognizes that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The duty to be less stringent with pro se complaints, however, "does not require [the Court] to conjure up unpled allegations, " McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted), and the Court is not required to create a claim for a pro se plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require the "courts to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to ...

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