United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE
Billy Ray Biggers filed a pro se, in forma
pauperis 42 U.S.C. § 1983 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.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
is a convicted prisoner. He names as Defendants the Honorable
Greg Clammer of the McCracken County Circuit Court; Assistant
Public Advocate Aubrey B. Lee; and Tim Koltenbach,
Commonwealth Attorney. Plaintiff's allegations involve
his 2011 conviction. He asserts that Defendant Lee, as his
public defender, provided ineffective assistance of counsel
while representing him during his guilty plea.
relief, Plaintiff asks for monetary damages and injunctive
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).
Claims against Defendant Lee
§ 1983, “a plaintiff must allege (1) deprivation
of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the
United States, and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a
person while acting under color of state law.”
Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir.
1991). It is firmly established that a defense attorney,
regardless of whether she is a public defender or private
attorney, does not act under color of state law for purposes
of § 1983. Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312,
325 (1981) (“[A] public defender does not act under
color of state law when performing a lawyer's traditional
functions as counsel to a defendant in a criminal
proceeding.”); Otworth v. Vanderploeg, 61
Fed.Appx. 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.”). Thus, Plaintiff fails to
state a claim under § 1983 against Defendant Lee
regarding his performance of a lawyer's traditional
Claims against Defendants Clammer and
fails to include any allegations against these Defendants in
his complaint. As he has raised no claims against these state
officials, his claims against Defendants Clammer and
Koltenbach will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
See Chapman v. City of Detroit, 808 F.2d 459, 465
(6th Cir. 1986).
he had made allegations against these Defendants, however,
his claims would still be dismissed.
claim for monetary damages against a state judge like
Defendant Clammer is barred by the doctrine of absolute
judicial immunity, under which judges are immune from
monetary liability for decisions made within the scope of
their official functions. See Pierson v. Ray, 386
U.S. 547, 553-54 (1967); Brookings v. Clunk, 389
F.3d 614, 617 (6th Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief against
Defendant Clammer would not succeed. Section 1983 provides in
pertinent part that “in any action brought against a
judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such
officer's judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not
be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or
declaratory relief was unavailable.” Plaintiff does ...