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Maddox v. Attorney General Office

United States District Court, D. Delaware

November 4, 2019

LEO R. MADDOX, Plaintiff,
v.
ATTORNEY GENERAL OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

          Leo R. Maddox, Lyndhurst, Virginia. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Leo R. Maddox, who appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, commenced this action on May 16, 2019, raising claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68. (D.I. 1). The Court reviews and screens the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff raises § 1983 and civil RICO claims relating to his arrest, indictment, guilty plea, and attorney representation spanning a time-frame from September 25, 2009 through June 17, 2014. (See D.I. 1 at 6-13). His sentencing was on August 9, 2011. (Id. at 12).

         The Delaware Supreme Court described Plaintiff's criminal case as follows:

[Plaintiff] was indicted by a grand jury on twenty offenses, including eleven felony charges. After multiple continuances and just prior to trial, [Plaintiff] pled guilty to two felony charges of Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited ("PFBPP"). In exchange, the State agreed to nolle prosse all of [Plaintiffs] remaining charges. During the plea colloquy, [Plaintiff] affirmed that he was satisfied with his attorney's representation and that he entered the plea freely and voluntarily. The Superior Court judge accepted the plea after finding that it was made voluntarily and with an understanding of the nature of the charges and the consequences of the plea. A presentence investigation was ordered.
Prior to sentencing, [Plaintiff] filed a pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea and requested new counsel, contending that his plea was involuntary, that his counsel was ineffective, and that he had a basis to assert legal innocence. The Superior Court denied the motion after a hearing where [Plaintiff] was represented by new counsel. [Plaintiff] was sentenced to five years at Level V, given credit for time served, and the balance of the sentence was suspended for probation.

Maddox v. State, 2012 WL 385600, at *1, 36 A.3d 360 (Del. 2012) (table).

         Plaintiff appealed the Superior Court decision denying his pro se motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Id. The Delaware Supreme Court found no merit to the appeal and affirmed. Id. Plaintiff next sought Rule 61 postconviction relief, but the matter was dismissed by the Superior Court, and the dismissal affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court. Maddox v. State, 2014 WL 644394, 85 A.3d 88 (table) (2014). Plaintiff sought certiorari and his petition for writ of certiorari was denied on October 6, 2014. See Maddox v. Delaware, 135 S.Ct. 81 (2014).

         Plaintiff also filed a civil action against his criminal defense attorney claiming inadequate representation. See Maddox v. Collins, 2015 WL 5786349 (Del. Super. Oct. 5, 2015). The case was dismissed as time-barred and as having been previously litigated in a criminal proceeding. Id. at *2. In addition, Plaintiff filed a civil action against the State of Delaware alleging that he was a victim of fraud by the State and the Court when the Court denied Plaintiffs Rule 32(d) and Rule 61 motions to withdraw his guilty plea relating to the 2009 arrest and later conviction. Maddox v. State, 2015 WL 7301885 (Del. Super. Nov. 18, 2015). The action was dismissed for failure to state a cognizable cause of action against the State and as barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity and the doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata. Id. at *1. Plaintiff was placed on notice that further suits involving the same allegations would be dismissed sua sponte. Id.

         Plaintiff now claims he was a victim of the criminal justice system and that many of his constitutional rights were violated. He seeks $300 million dollars in damages.

         II. 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) 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); Ehckson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and ...


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