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Black v. Kiper

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

December 16, 2019



          Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Quentin L. Black, Jr., filed a pro se, in forma pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which the Court stayed pending final disposition of the federal and state criminal charges against Plaintiff. Upon notification of the final disposition of the charges against him, the Court lifted the stay. Accordingly, the Court must now perform an initial review of the complaint 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 reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the complaint.


         Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the time he filed his complaint. He names as Defendants Louisville Metro Detective Jonah Kiper, Louisville Metro Sergeant Paul Neal, and Jefferson District Court Judge Anne Haynie.

         Plaintiff alleges that on August 2, 2017, his rights under the Fourth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Section 10 of the Kentucky Constitution, “federal rules, ” and Universal Declaration of Human Rights were violated. He alleges that on that date Defendants Neal and Kiper “launched a investigation solely on racial profiling as a salient basis for suspicion of criminal activity when Defendants seen a unfamiliar car and human being active on Cleo Ave and exit into the house.” He states that Defendants were “allowed to receive a . . . search warrant with a affidavit identifying Plaintiff as a unknown B/M and never describing things to be seized by Honorable Judge Anne Haynie.”

         Plaintiff does not specify the relief he requests except that he checked the line next to injunctive relief.

         In accordance with the Court's instructions, Plaintiff notified the Court that on August 1, 2019, he accepted a guilty plea in his federal case and that his state-court case was “dismissed afterwards.”


         When a 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 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).

         A. Constitutional claims

         The indictment in Plaintiff's federal criminal case, United States v. Black, No. 3:17-CR-173-CHB, charged him with drug offenses and being a felon in possession of a firearm on August 2, 2017. He pleaded guilty to three drug charges, and the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm was dismissed. The plea agreement in that case provides in pertinent part:

On August 2, 2017, law enforcement officers observed what they believed to be a drug transaction between Quentin Black and two others in a vehicle. A traffic stop of that vehicle revealed approximately 58 grams of crack cocaine that was purchased from Black. A subsequent search of Black's residence revealed approximately 598 grams of cocaine and 38.5 grams of crack cocaine in Black's bedroom closet. Black told officers that all the drugs in the house belonged to him and only him. He also told them that there was a gun in the house but that it belonged to his wife.

         Thus, it is clear that Defendants' actions on August 2, 2017, which Plaintiff alleges violated his rights in this civil-rights action are the basis for the search and seizure of contraband to which Plaintiff pleaded guilty.

         First, to the extent Plaintiff seeks only injunctive relief and not monetary damages, a § 1983 civil-rights action is not the proper remedy for a state prisoner who is challenging the fact or length of his custody. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 (1973). “[W]hen a state prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of his physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to immediate ...

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