United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
B. Russell, Senior Judge.
a pro se civil rights action brought by a convicted
prisoner. The Court has granted Plaintiff Leonel Martinez
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, this action will be
who is an inmate at Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP), sues
the two Defendants in this action in their individual
capacities - United States District Judge Greg N. Stivers and
Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Attorney Linda
complaint, Plaintiff states his right to “equal
protection” has been violated. He then writes that the
approximate dates of the events giving rise to his claim are
“2013, until 2017.” He states that the facts
underlying his claim are that “judge stiver continue to
denied all lawsut from Hispanic black inmates based on
race.” He states that he has suffered “unfair
treatment based on race.” He further writes that he has
filed “4 lawsuit which this court have refuse to do
anything about all the racial abuse.” Plaintiff also
states that he has filed another lawsuit in this Court which
deals with the same facts involved in this action. The case
he cites is Martinez v. White,
5:13-cv-182-GNS. Plaintiff does not mention Defendant
Keeton in the body of his complaint.
relief, Plaintiff requests that “Judge Greg Stivers
should not review Hispanic and black lawsuit.”
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, 94
(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 Natural 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 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).
fails to state a claim against Judge Stivers because he is
immune from suit. Under the doctrine of judicial immunity,
judges are entitled to judicial immunity arising out of the
performance of their judicial functions. Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9 (1991); Forrester v. White,
484 U.S. 219 (1988); Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24
(1980). Judicial immunity from suit applies even when a judge
is accused of acting maliciously or corruptly.
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11.
immunity from suit can be overcome in two situations, neither
of which is applicable to Plaintiff's complaint. A judge
is not immune from liability for non-judicial actions,
i.e., actions not taken in the judge's judicial
capacity, or for actions, though judicial in nature, which
are taken in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.
Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11-12; Stump v.
Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978). Neither of these
exceptions to judicial immunity is applicable here because it
is evident that the alleged actions of Judge Stivers were
taken in the course of his judicial capacity and were not
committed in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.
the injunctive relief Plaintiff seeks against Judge Stivers
is not available under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, because, under
the 1996 amendments to that statute, injunctive relief
“shall not be granted” in an action against
“a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in
such officer's judicial capacity . . . unless a
declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was
unavailable.” § 1983; see also Savoie
v. Martin, 673 F.3d 488, 496 (6th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff
does not allege that a declaratory decree was violated or
that declaratory relief was unavailable. Consequently,
Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief is barred.
See Montero v. Travis, 171 F.3d 757, 761
(2d Cir. 1999).
addition, Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Keeton
fail because he makes no allegations against her in the
complaint. A district court should not be required to guess
or speculate about the basis of a plaintiff's civil
rights claim. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure states that a complaint must contain, among
other things, “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Pro se pleadings must be
liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v.
Kerner,404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), but as previously
explained, to state a claim sufficient to survive screening,
a plaintiff must allege facts which are sufficient
to give a defendant fair notice of the claim. Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 555, n.3 (2007);
Harden-Bey v. Rutter,524 F.3d 789, 796 (6th Cir.
2008) (holding ...