United States District Court, D. Delaware
JOSEPH S. PACZKOWSKI, Plaintiff,
STATE OF DELAWARE, et al., Defendants.
S. Paczkowski, Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown,
Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Joseph S. Paczkowski, an inmate at Sussex Correctional
Institution in Georgetown, Delaware, filed this Complaint in
March 2018 raising claims under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (D.I. 1, 8, 9). He appears pro se
and has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (D.I. 7). He requests counsel. (D.I. 4, 9, 11,
12). The Court reviews and screens the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(a).
August 1999, Plaintiff entered a Robinson plea in the
Superior Court of the State of Delaware to one count of
unlawful sexual intercourse in the third degree.
Paczkowski v. State, 2001 WL 213354, at *1 (Del.
2001). Pursuant to the plea agreement, he was sentenced to
twenty years imprisonment, suspended after two years for
fifteen years' probation. Id. In October 2011,
Plaintiff was charged with violation of probation. (D.I. 8).
Plaintiff was detained, and his VOP hearing was continued
pending an investigation. (Id.). Plaintiff asked to
be released, but he remained detained.
December 2011, Plaintiff was indicted on five counts of sex
offender unlawful sexual conduct against a child. (D.I. 8 at
p.1); see also State v. Paczkowski, ID Nos.
1112009385 & 9904022327 (Del. Super.) (D.I. 70) (decision
denying motion for postconviction relief) (available at
Paczkowski v. State, No. 17-1665 (D.I. 4-2)
(D.Del.)). Plaintiff contends that the grand jury should not
have heard about his status as a sex offender. (D.I. 8 at
p.4). He alleges prejudice and violations of his civil rights
because the grand jury heard this evidence. (Id.).
occasions while awaiting the VOP hearing, Plaintiff requested
a new attorney. (Id. at p.1). Plaintiff alleges his
attorney had a conflict of interest and that the Public
Defender and the State of Delaware worked together to violate
his civil rights. Plaintiff also alleges that he was denied
effective assistance of counsel during the criminal
proceedings because his attorney waived Plaintiff's right
to a preliminary hearing. (Id. at p.3). Finally,
Plaintiff alleges that Probation requested destruction of
evidence, the request was granted on September 7, 2012, and
he needed the evidence for postconviction relief.
(Id. at p.1).
Plaintiffs final case review on April 4, 2012, he pled guilty
to one count each of unlawful sexual contact in the first
degree and to sexual solicitation of a child in addition to
admitting a violation of probation. See Paczkowski,
ID Nos. 1112009385 & 9904022327 (D.I. 70) (decision
denying motion for postconviction relief). See also
D.I. 14 at 6. Plaintiff alleges that the VOP was "put on
the plea deal," and he was pressured into it without
having an evidentiary hearing. (D.I. 8 at p.4). He alleges he
was denied the right to confront his accusers as to the VOP.
Plaintiff was sentenced to 30 years at Level V, suspended
after serving 15 years at Level V and completing the family
problems program for a lengthy period of probation. See
Paczkowski, ID Nos. 1112009385 & 9904022327 (D.I.
70) (decision denying motion for postconviction relief).
alleges violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He
seeks damages, lost wages (D.I. 4 at 1), and release from
prison (D.I. 8 at 1). He also requests counsel. (D.I. 4, 9,
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 Cir. 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 a governmental defendant).
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. 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 inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94.
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)(i) 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 U.S. at 327-28; Wilson v.
Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989).
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
ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Tourscher v.
McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999). 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 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).
Rule 12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be granted 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."
Bell Atl. 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 1 Hosp.,765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d
Cir. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In
addition, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show
that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v.