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Jones v. State

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 9, 2017

QUENTIN T. JONES Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF DELAWARE, et al, Defendants.

          Quentin T. Jones, Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Quentin T. Jones ("Plaintiff), an inmate at the Sussex Correctional Institution ("SCI") in Georgetown, Delaware, filed this action alleging constitutional violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 2, 5) He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 9) The Court proceeds to review and screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a).

         II. BACKGROUND

         On February 4, 2015, Plaintiff was questioned about an alleged rape, charged after questioning, and held at the SCI as a pretrial detainee. Plaintiff was arrested by Defendant Jeremy L. Jones ("Jones"), a detective with the Delaware State Police (Troop 4) ("State Police"). Plaintiff was convicted in February 2016 and sentenced in April 2016.

         Plaintiff alleges that he was detained following his arrest and convicted without any DNA or rape kit testing. He contends the alleged victim should have been taken into medical custody to have DNA analysis collection kits performed "on the alleged victim and suspect immediately." (D.I. 2 at 6) Plaintiff alleges that Jones has "a duty to see that those steps to a DNA analysis collection kit in any rape 1st sexual assault case have been taken from the alleged victim and suspect." (Id.)

         Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Amanda Young ("Young"), a forensic interview examiner, examined the alleged sexual assault victim. Plaintiff contends that Young should have sent the patient/client "to an out-patient body exam specialist to be checked out and make sure the alleged victim was not damaged in any way, shape or form in her vaginal and rectum areas." (Id. at 7) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant State of Delaware ("State") or an official of the State should be held accountable for failing to complete the procedures of a rape 1st sexual assault case, including DNA analysis collection kits. (Id.)

         Plaintiff seeks to be "justified and vindicated of the false alleged accusations, " and requests compensatory damages. (Id. at 8) He also requests appointment of counsel and has moved to dismiss the complaint only if he is not accountable for payment of the filing fee.[2] (D.I. 16, 18)

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) if "the action 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." Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Or. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). The Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to a. pro se plaintiff. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however in artfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted).

         An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)® and § 1915A(b)(1), a court may dismiss a complaint as frivolous if it is "based on an indisputably meritless legal theory" or a "clearly baseless" or "fantastic or delusional" factual scenario. Neitzke, 490 at 327-28; see also Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989); Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1091-92 (3d Cir. 1995) (holding frivolous a suit alleging that prison officials took an inmate's pen and refused to give it back).

         The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1) is identical to the legal standard used when deciding Rule 12(b)(6) motions. See Tourscherv. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999) (applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standard to dismissal for failure to state claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)). However, before dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, the Court must grant a plaintiff leave to amend his complaint, unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).

         A complaint may be dismissed only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). Though "detailed factual allegations" are not required, a complaint must do more than simply provide "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Davis v. Abington Mem'lHosp.,765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC,765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Twomblj, 550 U.S. at 570). Finally, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim ...


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