United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort
JOSEPH A. MOON, Plaintiff,
JEFF FARMER, ET AL., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL JUDGE
A. Moon is a pretrial detainee at the Franklin County
Regional Jail in Frankfort, Kentucky. Proceeding without a
lawyer, Moon filed a civil rights complaint with this Court.
[R. 1]. That complaint is now before the Court on initial
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court will dismiss Moon's claims
initial matter, Moon's factual allegations and legal
claims are difficult to track. Nevertheless, since Moon is a
pro se litigant, he is afforded latitude and,
therefore, the Court has attempted to identify and screen
those allegations and claims that it can follow. As best as
the Court can tell, Moon is pursuing at least four different
claims against five different defendants: (1) Officer Jeff
Farmer of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, (2)
Public Defender Linda Adkins, (3) Public Defender Kristin
Madjar, (4) Officer Craig of the Franklin County Regional
Jail, and (5) the Franklin County Regional Jail itself.
Moon alleges that Officer Farmer falsely accused him of drug
trafficking and, as a result, he is now facing multiple state
drug charges. [See R. 1 at 2]. Second, Moon
complains about two of his criminal defense attorneys, Public
Defenders Adkins and Madjar; indeed, Moon suggests that,
during the course of his state criminal case, these attorneys
failed to respond to some of his requests and failed to file
certain motions on his behalf. [See Id. at 2-3].
Third, Moon briefly says in the margin of his complaint that,
during his arrest, “Officer Farmer also physical [sic]
assaulted me.” [Id. at 2]. Fourth, Moon
alleges that, months later, while he was incarcerated at the
Franklin County Regional Jail, Officer Craig grabbed him by
the neck and threw him down while he was handcuffed and
shackled. As a result, Moon appears to be pursuing claims
against Officer Craig and the Franklin County Regional Jail.
[See Id. at 3].
Court will dismiss Moon's first and second claims without
prejudice pursuant to the doctrine announced in Younger
v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971). That doctrine provides
that a federal court should generally abstain from
interfering in a state court action that is ongoing, involves
an important state interest, and provides an adequate
opportunity to raise challenges. See Fieger v. Cox,
524 F.3d 770, 775 (6th Cir. 2008) (discussing
Younger abstention). Here, the relevant state
criminal case against Moon is ongoing,  that matter
obviously involves an important state interest, and, during
that proceeding, Moon can raise both challenges to the
charges against him and claims related to the effectiveness
of his legal representation. Therefore, this Court will
abstain from interfering in Moon's criminal case, just as
it “has abstained from meddling in . . . [other] state
court criminal actions.” Stevenson v. Prime
Motors, No. 5:16-cv-421-KKC, 2017 WL 512750, at *3 (E.D.
Ky. 2017) (collecting cases). Instead, the Court will dismiss
Moon's first and second claims without prejudice.
Court will also dismiss Moon's third claim without
prejudice to his right to file a new action against Officer
Farmer. As an initial matter, it is not clear whether Moon
intends to assert an excessive force or other related claim
against Officer Farmer. After all, while Moon briefly says in
the margin of his complaint that “Officer Farmer also
physical [sic] assaulted me, ” he asserts no additional
factual allegations regarding this incident. [See R.
1 at 2]. Indeed, Moon puts forth no relevant details
regarding the circumstances surrounding his arrest, such as
the nature of the force used against him and whether he
suffered any injuries as a result of the encounter. It is
also not clear whether Moon is seeking any viable relief from
Officer Farmer, as the relief section of his complaint is
written in a confusing way that emphasizes his desire to
“press charges” against Officer Farmer and the
Franklin County Sheriff's Department-relief that this
Court cannot grant.[See R. 1 at 8]. Given these
deficiencies, the Court will dismiss Moon's third claim
the Court will also dismiss without prejudice Moon's
excessive force claims against Officer Craig and the Franklin
County Regional Jail. For starters, it is not clear what
relief, if any, Moon is seeking from these defendants; after
all, Moon does not mention Officer Craig in his relief
section at all, and he only says he wants to “press
charges” against the Franklin County Regional Jail.
[See id.]. Moreover, since these matters are
unrelated to Moon's first three claims, it appears that
he has improperly joined Officer Craig and the Franklin
County Regional Jail as defendants. Thus, pursuant to Rule 21
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court will drop
them as parties. Ultimately, Moon is welcome to file a new
complaint against Officer Craig and the Franklin County
Regional Jail regarding these matters, if he so chooses. That
said, if Moon does file a new action against these
defendants, he should clearly state what relief he is
it is ORDERED that:
Moon's various claims [R. 1] are
DISMISSED without prejudice to his right to
proceed in accordance with this Opinion.
pending motions are DENIED as moot.
action is STRICKEN from the Court's
Court will enter a corresponding Judgment.
Moon would like to initiate one or more new civil actions, he
may obtain ...