United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge
a pro se civil rights action brought by a pretrial
detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has
granted Plaintiff Troy Lee Edmonds leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court for
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons
set forth below, the action will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against the Daviess County Detention
Center (DCDC). In the complaint, he writes as follows:
I Troy Edmonds is being housed at DCDC for McLean Co. DCDC
does not have a law library or mean to me so I can prepare
myself for a fair trial I have no access to law library or
law books I need I'm being violated of my 14th
constitutional right 14 section 2 I want to be moved to a
facility were I will have access to law library.
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and injunctive
relief in the form of release to probation. He also asks the
Court to “put law library at DCDC for inmates.”
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss
the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, 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 § 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
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)). “[A] pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89
(2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does
require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions.
See Columbia Nat. Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58
F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995). The court's duty
“does not require [it] to conjure up unpled
allegations, ” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16,
19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff.
Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co.,
518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise
would require the court “to explore exhaustively all
potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would
also transform the district court from its legitimate
advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out
the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a
party.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d
1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
1983 creates no substantive rights, but merely provides
remedies for deprivations of rights established
elsewhere.” Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of
Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements
are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635 (1980). “[A] plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). “Absent either element, a section 1983 claim
will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d
502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
courts have recognized repeatedly that there is no
constitutionally protected right of access to a law library.
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 350-51 (1996).
Prisoners do have a right of access to the courts, but it
does not guarantee access to a prison law library.
Id.; Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 830-31
(1977); Walker v. Mintzes, 771 F.2d 920, 932 (6th
Cir. 1985). “[A] prisoner's
constitutionally-guaranteed right of access to the courts
[is] protected when a state provides that prisoner with
either the legal tools necessary to defend himself,
e.g., a state-provided law library, or the
assistance of legally trained personnel.” Holt v.
Pitts, 702 F.2d 639, 640 (6th Cir. 1983) (per curiam)
(emphasis added)); see also Martucci v. Johnson, 944
F.2d 291, 295 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding no constitutional
violation where jail provided legal material upon request and
inmate was represented by appointed counsel during his
criminal case since constitution only requires adequate law
library or appointed counsel). In Holt, the Sixth
Circuit held that where an inmate was offered legal counsel
but did not choose to avail himself of that legal counsel
until the day before trial, his constitutional right of
access to the courts was not violated. Holt, 702
F.2d at 640-41. The Sixth Circuit has also held that where a
pretrial detainee is represented by counsel, a jail cannot be
said to have interfered with his right of access to the
courts regardless of the nature of its law library, as the
access right is adequately protected by the inmate's
legal counsel. Leveye v. Metro. Public Defender's
Office, 73 F. App'x 792, 794 (6th Cir. 2003).
According to the KYeCourts database,
https://kcoj.kycourts.net/kyecourts, Plaintiff is
represented by a public defender in the criminal cases
proceeding against him in McLean County.
the Court the finds that Plaintiffs complaint fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted.