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Jones v. Carper

United States District Court, D. Delaware

February 11, 2019

MATTHEW N.P. JONES, Plaintiff,

          Matthew N.P. Jones, Greenwood, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.



         Plaintiff Matthew Jones appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. He commenced this action on September 5, 2018. (D.I. 2). Jones asserts jurisdiction by reason of a federal question and the United States government as a defendant. The Court proceeds to screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).


         Plaintiff has named U.S. Senator Tom Carper as the sole defendant. In the Complaint, Jones provides his biography beginning at birth. Many of the allegations are similar to those found in other cases filed by Plaintiff, including Civ. No. 17-1837-RGA and Civ. No. 18-1380-RGA. Plaintiff alleges rapes, beatings and abuse, and that Senator Carper did nothing about them.

         The allegations directed towards Defendant are raised pursuant to federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3, as an accessory after the fact. (D.I. 2 at 9). Plaintiff alleges that he met Defendant during Dover Days in the 1990's. Plaintiff told Defendant he was a rape victim and needed immediate assistance. Plaintiff met Defendant again when Defendant was a guest at Plaintiff's school. Plaintiff has also written Defendant letters, visited his offices in Georgetown and Dover, Delaware, and contacted him on Facebook. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant is responsible for the spread of poison water in Delaware. He seeks ten billion dollars in damages.


         Plaintiff moves for my recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). (D.I. 5). He claims that I have been abusive in denying him in forma pauperis status and refusing to issue U.S. Marshal service of summons and complaint in cases where he was granted in forma pauperis status. Jones contends that I set and hold him to deadlines, but do not hold his opponents to any deadlines, including deadlines of default judgment. He contends that even after evidence has been provided, I have taken no action on his behalf. Thus, Plaintiff contends that he remains kidnapped, raped, and poisoned under a false identity, all in violation of his First, Second, Eighth, and Thirteenth Amendment rights.

         A judge is required to recuse himself "in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned." 28 U.S.C. § 455(a). The test for recusal under § 455(a) is whether a "reasonable person, with knowledge of all the facts, would conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned," In re Kensington Int'l Ltd., 368 F.3d 289, 301 (3d Cir. 2004), not "whether a judge actually harbors bias against a party," United States v. Kennedy, 682 F.3d 244, 258 (3d Cir. 2012). Under § 455(b)(1), a judge is required to recuse himself "[w]here he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party."

         Under either subsection, the bias necessary to require recusal generally "must stem from a source outside of the official proceedings." Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 554 (1994); Selkridge v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 360 F.3d 155, 167 (3d Cir. 2004). Hence, "judicial rulings alone almost never constitute a valid basis for a bias or partiality motion." Liteky, 510 U.S. at 555.

         It is evident that Plaintiff takes exception to my prior rulings and this serves as his basis to seek recusal. A reasonable, well-informed observer could not believe that the rulings were based on impartiality, bias, or actual prejudice by me. Nor do my rulings demonstrate the Court acting in such manner when ruling in the cases wherein Jones is a party. After careful and deliberate consideration, the undersigned concludes that the Court has no actual bias or prejudice towards Jones and that a reasonable, well-informed observer would not question the Court's impartiality. In light of the foregoing standard, and after considering Plaintiff's assertions, I conclude that there are no grounds for my recusal under 28 U.S.C. § 455. Therefore, I will deny the motion.


         A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(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). 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).

         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)(i), 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 ...

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