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Lewis v. Department of Justice

United States District Court, D. Delaware

November 4, 2019

NA-QUAN KURT LEWIS, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, et al., Defendants.

          Na-Quan Kurt Lewis, Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, Wilmington, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Na-Quan Kurt Lewis, a pretrial detainee at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4). He has filed several motions and letters including requests for counsel, motions to amend, and emergency requests for release from the HRYCI. (D.I. 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13). The Court proceeds to review and screen the operative pleading (D.I. 2, D.I. 5, D.I. 11) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(a).

         BACKGROUND

         The Court will grant Plaintiffs motions to amend. (D.I. 5, D.I. 11). The operative pleading consists of docket items 2, 5, and 11. Named defendants include the Delaware Department of Justice, the Wilmington Police Department, the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Connections, Christiana Hospital Newark Emergency Room, the New Castle County Police Department, and the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution. Plaintiff alleges violations of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Thirteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. (D.I. 5, D.I. 11).

         Plaintiff was indicted on weapons charges and a warrant issued for his arrest on July 11, 2016. (D.I. 2 at 6; D.I. 11-1 at 5). The Wilmington Police obtained a search warrant for his brother's telephone, and it contained a photo of Plaintiff holding an "alleged firearm." (Id.). Natalie Woloshin was appointed to represent Plaintiff in the criminal matter. Plaintiff makes numerous complaints about the representation she provided. (D.I. 2 at 6-8; D.I. 11-1 at 6-8).

         Plaintiff alleges that after Detective Reddick was charged with arson and lying to police, his "whole case was nolle prossed," and he was re-indicted on September 12, 2016, with the same charges. (D.I. 2 at 6; D.I. 11-1 at 5-6); see also State v. Lewis, 2018 WL 2970762 (Del. Super. June 8, 2018), affd, 2018 WL 6015784 (Del. Nov. 15, 2018) (table).

         Plaintiff alleges that the proceedings were corrupt and, on July 6, 2017, he was forced to take a plea. (D.I. 2 at 8; D.I. 5; D.I. 11-1 at 7). Plaintiff was sentenced to three years.[1] (D.I. 2 at 6; D.I. 11-1 at 7). Plaintiff alleges that was given three different sentences and that some sentences indicate "no probation" while others indicate "probation." (D.I. 11-1 at 13). He alleges that no one knows what he pled guilty to and that his plea was not willing, knowing, or intelligent, making the plea void.[2]

         Plaintiff was transferred from HRYCI to Sussex Correctional Institution to participate in the Key Program. (D.I. 11-1 at 7). He was kicked out of the Key Program and transferred to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that while housed at the JTVCC, on April 20, 2018, a sick call slip was submitted in his name. (D.I. 2 at 9; D.I. 11-1 at 8). Plaintiff was transferred to the suicide unit based upon the contents of the sick call slip. (Id.). Plaintiff remained there for four days while an investigation was conducted. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he was housed in a cell with blood, urine, feces, and dirt smeared everywhere. (Id.). He was not allowed to shower. (D.I. 2 at 9). Plaintiff alleges that Connections monitors inmates on suicide watch every fifteen minutes, and that Connections personnel were aware of the conditions. (D.I. 2 at 9; D.I. 11-1 at 8). Plaintiff was told that it was up to the Department of Correction to move him. (D.I. 2 at 9). Plaintiff submitted a grievance when he was removed from the suicide watch. (D.I. 2 at 9; D.I. 11-1 at 9).

         In June 2018, he was transferred to solitary confinement in the SHU. (D.I. 2 at 9; D.I. 11-1 at 9). Plaintiff alleges that while housed in SHU, a criminal appeal deadline loomed and, after he was refused a law library pass, he threatened suicide. (D.I. 11-1 at 9). After he was transferred to the suicide tier, Plaintiff was seen by a physician who arranged for Plaintiff to receive law library assistance. (Id.).

         Plaintiff was transferred to the mental health tier on February 27, 2019. (Id.). He was told by a counselor that a recommendation had been made to administer psychotropic medication by force and that Plaintiff would meet with the treatment review committee on February 28, 2019. (Id. at 10). Plaintiff met with the committee, and it was determined that he did not need the medication. (Id.)

         Plaintiff was released from prison on March 20, 2019. (Id.). Plaintiff was arrested on May 16, 2019, for possession of a firearm and disorderly conduct. (D.I. 2 at 8; D.I. 11-1 at 10). Plaintiff alleges that he was injured during a fight; when Officer Bouldin arrived, he roughed up Plaintiff and conducted an unlawful search. (Id.). Bouldin cuffed Plaintiff, placed him a police car, rolled up the windows, and after fifteen minutes called an ambulance. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that Bouldin's actions violated protocol and policy. (Id.). Plaintiff was taken to Christiana Hospital emergency room, seen by a physician, and cleared by Christiana Hospital medical personnel. (D.I. 2 at 8; D.I. 11-1 at 11). Plaintiff alleges that medical personnel did not provide him treatment, and when he returned to jail, he did not receive medical treatment because Christiana Hospital had cleared him. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that he struggles daily with back pain and nerve damage. (Id.).

         Plaintiff is now housed at the HRYCI. Plaintiff appeared for a preliminary hearing on May 24, 2019, and advised the court he wished to proceed pro se in his pending criminal matter. (D.I. 11-1 at 11). Plaintiff alleges that he did not have a proper preliminary hearing, more than 75 days have passed, he is being "held hostage," and is in "involuntary servitude." (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 18, 2019, C/O Soto refused to call the law library for Plaintiff. (Id. at 12). Soto called a "Code 6 refusal to lock in." (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that the QRT tried to break his wrist, and he was injured. (Id.). Plaintiff refused to walk and was carried upstairs and seen by a nurse who asked if he needed medical treatment, and Plaintiff replied that he did. (Id.). After 35 minutes, a nurse arrived to provide treatment. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that C/O Verruci would not allow the nurse to treat Plaintiff and escorted her off the tier. (Id.). Plaintiff was transferred to "the hole" for four days. (Id.). He submitted two grievances regarding the events.

         Plaintiff alleges that he learned his brother had sent him legal mail, and the mail was thrown away by C/O Burley. (Id. at 12-13). Plaintiff was told that Burley's actions were illegal. (Id. at 13). Finally, Plaintiff alleges that he had a court date on August 15, 2019, and was not taken to court because his name was not ...


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