United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge.
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.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
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.
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.
relief, Plaintiff asks for compensatory and punitive damages.
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).
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.
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.
foregoing reasons, this action will be dismissed ...