United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
RONALD C. DANIELS, Plaintiff,
ERIC PROCTOR Defendant.
J. Hale, Judge United States District Court
a pro se civil rights action brought by a convicted
prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has
granted Plaintiff Ronald C. Daniels 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 Eric Proctor, his public defender,
in his individual capacity. In the complaint, Plaintiff
writes as follows:
I . . . was charge with Escape II, Jan. 27, 2017. Mr. Eric
Proctor Public Defender was assigned my No. # 17CR0823 on or
about July 11 or 12 this yr. my court date. Mr. Proctor
didn't have a travel voucher for me for court. I was
doing time at the Rodoer Correctional Complex at Lagrange
R.C.C. A warrant was issued for my arrest for fail to comply
with court monitoring. . . . I book an plea agreement on
Escape II 3yrs: 15%. I was informed by Mr. Proctor he would
put me in for shock probation, he never did. I cont. too call
Mr. Proctor . . . several times, left countless voice-mails.
No. visit whatsoever not even a letter. I suffer from PTSD,
cancer, diabetic, Hep “C”, liver disease, kidney
problems. V.A. has medical records of conditions . . . . Mr.
Proctor was aware of this, that's why it was important
for me to try and get “shock probation” due to
medical issues. Finally, I submitted the motion myself called
Mr. Proctor again, again no reply. Dec. 4 denied me
“shock probation” by mail Judge Audra J. Eckerle.
I was not present. Mr. Proctor was not there either. I feel
that he should have been there to argue my medical conditions
on my behalf. . . . He never complied with my wishes as my
Attorney of Record. Now I have to sit here at L.M.D.C.
without proper medical treatments I need, plus I'm now
homeless as well. Mr. Proctor did not represent me well at
all. Clearly My rights have been violated.
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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 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 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).
Plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed because it is
firmly established that a public defender does not act under
color of state law for purposes of § 1983 “while
performing a lawyer's traditional functions as counsel to
a defendant in a criminal proceeding.” Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981); see also Otworth
v. Vanderploeg, 61 F. App'x 163, 165 (6th Cir. 2003)
(“[A] lawyer representing a client is not, by virtue of
being an officer of the court, a state actor under color of
state law within the meaning of § 1983.”). This is
true even when a criminal defense attorney's defective
performance results in the unconstitutional deprivation of an
accused criminal defendant's liberty. See Briscoe v.
Lahue, 460 U.S. 325, 329, n.6 (1983); Floyd v. Cty.
of Kent, 454 F. App'x 493, 497 (6th Cir. 2012)
(holding public defender not liable for ineffective
assistance of counsel under § 1983); Thus, even if
though Plaintiff believes his counsel was ineffective during
his criminal proceeding, he has no cognizable claim against
Defendant Proctor under § 1983.
foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss this action. The
Court will enter a separate Order of dismissal ...