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PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES EX REL. SNEAD v. KIRKL

December 27, 1978

The PEOPLE of the United States of America ex rel. Arthur SNEAD, Daniel Snead, and 9-year-old Darryl Snead, Innocent Citizens of the United States, Victimized by a Frame-Up Prosecution by the Government of the United States, Plaintiffs,
v.
Hon. Ronald M. KIRKLAND and Carlos Sabinson, William T. Thees, Paul Nolan, George Bramley, John E. Bramley, and Daniel Kingston, Esquires, Special Agents, Hon. David Marston, Esq., Former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Hon. Norman Greenspan, Louis J. Ruch, David Strawbridge, and Frank Sherman, Esquires, Assistant United States Attorneys, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Hon. Austin McGreal, Nicholas J. Lisi, William Morrow, Bennett Weinstock, and David H. Kubert, Esquires, Defense Trial Attorneys, Bar of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Hon. J. William Ditter, Jr., Donald W. VanArtsdalen, Alfred L. Luongo, and Herbert A. Fogel, Judges, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Michael F. McNamee, Gary Crompton, and Samuel E. Doman, Bank Robbers, Informers-Perjurors and Collaborators for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LATCHUM

On July 21, 1978, Arthur Snead, a federal prisoner incarcerated at Lewisburg Penitentiary, instituted this Pro se action *fn1" by filing three documents entitled: (1) "Action for Mandamus to Show Cause Why Frame-up Bank Robbery Conviction Should Not Be Vacated, Set Aside and Dismissed with Prejudice Against Renewal", (2) "Complaint and Petition For Order To Show Cause", and (3) "Special Declaration of Complete and Total Innocence". *fn2" The named plaintiffs are Arthur, Daniel and Darryl Snead but Arthur was the only plaintiff who signed the pleadings. *fn3" The suit names twenty-four individual defendants. Among the defendants are seven Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, *fn4" one former United States Attorney and four Assistant United States Attorneys, *fn5" five defense trial attorneys, *fn6" four District Judges of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, *fn7" and three "Bank Robbers, Informers-Perjurors and Collaborators". *fn8"

 All of the defendants, except the so-called bank robbers, have appeared and moved to dismiss the action for various reasons. It is these motions which are now before the Court for disposition. However, since matters outside the pleadings have been presented by the parties and considered by the Court, a few of the motions to dismiss will be treated as motions for summary judgment. Rule 12(b), F.R.Civ.P.

 Also because this is an action brought Pro se by a layman, the Court will consider the initial three documents filed by Arthur Snead as a complaint within the meaning of Rule 7(a), F.R.Civ.P. While the complaint is unduly prolix, containing a complex mixture of allegations, evidence, conclusions, argument, points, issues presented under various appellations as "motions," "complaint," "petitions," "special declarations" and "special propositions," it appears after an over-all reading to allege a conspiracy on the part of all twenty-four defendants to deprive the plaintiffs of their civil rights by an alleged plan or scheme to arrest, try and convict Arthur and Daniel Snead for several bank robberies in which they contend they were not involved. Thus, the complaint alleges that the FBI agents, the prosecuting and defense attorneys, the trial judges and the informer-witnesses all conspired to "frame" Arthur and Daniel Snead on bank robbery charges of which they are totally innocent. *fn9" In addition the complaint alleges that Darryl Snead, Arthur's nine year-old son, was assaulted and injured by the defendant Kirkland and other FBI agents on October 20, 1976 when they arrived at the Snead home to arrest Arthur Snead. The complaint seeks (1) an order requiring the defendants to take lie detector tests, voice and stress analysis tests, (2) a writ of mandamus, presumably directed to the convicting trial courts, ordering that their bank robbery convictions be vacated, set aside and dismissed with prejudice against any renewal, and (3) an award of fifty million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages. Jurisdiction is alleged to exist by virtue of 28 U.S.C. § 1331(a); 28 U.S.C. § 1343(2), (3) & (4); 28 U.S.C. § 1651; 42 U.S.C. § 1985(2) & (3); 42 U.S.C. § 1986; and 18 U.S.C. § 245(b)(1)(D).

 I. Plaintiffs Darryl and Daniel Snead

 The Court will strike the complaint with respect to Darryl and Daniel Snead, two of the three named plaintiffs, under Rule 11, F.R.Civ.P., *fn10" which provides in part as follows:

 
"A party who is not represented by an attorney shall sign his pleading and state his address.
 
If a pleading is not signed . . ., it may be stricken as sham and false and the action may proceed as though the pleading had not been served."

 One purpose of Rule 11 is to assure that persons who are named as plaintiffs in an action actually assent to the filing of the action on their behalf. Since the present complaint was not signed by either Darryl or Daniel Snead, the Court will strike the complaint as to them. Ahmad v. Levi, 414 F. Supp. 597, 601 (E.D.Pa.1976); Huffman v. Nebraska Bureau of Vital Statistics, 320 F. Supp. 154, 156 (D.Neb.1970); See Scarrella v. Midwest Federal Savings & Loan, 536 F.2d 1207, 1209 (C.A.8, 1976), Cert. denied, 429 U.S. 885, 97 S. Ct. 237, 50 L. Ed. 2d 166 (1976). Furthermore, Arthur Snead is a layman and not an attorney. While he may represent himself with respect to his individual claims, Collins v. O'Brien, 93 U.S. App. D.C. 152, 208 F.2d 44 (1953), Cert. denied 347 U.S. 944, 74 S. Ct. 640, 98 L. Ed. 1092 (1954), he is not authorized to act as an attorney for others in a federal court. 28 U.S.C. § 1654; United States v. Wilhelm, 570 F.2d 461 (C.A.3, 1978); United States v. Whitesel, 543 F.2d 1176 (C.A.6, 1976), Cert. denied, 431 U.S. 967, 97 S. Ct. 2924, 53 L. Ed. 2d 1062 (1977); United States v. Kelley, 539 F.2d 1199 (C.A.9), Cert. denied 429 U.S. 963, 97 S. Ct. 393, 50 L. Ed. 2d 332 (1976).

 In striking the complaint with respect to Darryl Snead, the Court notes that in seeking damages for injuries he allegedly sustained as a result of an alleged assault and battery upon him by the defendant FBI agents, Darryl Snead appears to be asking the Court to imply a private cause of action under the Fifth Amendment based on the rationale of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S. Ct. 1999, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619 (1971). One important limitation upon the scope of Bivens, however, is "that the existence of an effective and substantial federal statutory remedy for the plaintiffs obviates the need to imply a constitutional remedy." Mahone v. Waddle, 564 F.2d 1018, 1024-25 (C.A.3, 1977), cert. denied 438 U.S. 904, 98 S. Ct. 3122, 57 L. Ed. 2d 1147 (1978). In this respect the Court would follow the well-reasoned opinion of Judge Weinstein in Torres v. Taylor, 456 F. Supp. 951 (S.D.N.Y.1978), and hold that the Federal Tort Claims Act, as amended in 1974, *fn11" provides an adequate remedy against federal law enforcement agents for an assault and battery. Thus, the Court would not create a Bivens -type cause of action for assault and battery and would dismiss Darryl Snead's claim for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

 II. The District Judges

 It has long been the settled principle of law that a judge is immune from civil suits for actions arising from his judicial acts. Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 98 S. Ct. 1099, 55 L. Ed. 2d 331 (1978); Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 87 S. Ct. 1213, 18 L. Ed. 2d 288 (1967); Bradley v. Fisher, 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 335, 20 L. Ed. 646 (1872); Robinson v. McCorkle, 462 F.2d 111, 113 (C.A.3), Cert. denied 409 U.S. 1042, 93 S. Ct. 529, 34 L. Ed. 2d 492 (1972). This doctrine of judicial immunity is absolute and extends to acts which are in excess of the judge's jurisdiction, even if done "maliciously or corruptly." Bradley v. Fisher, supra, 80 U.S. at 351. The only exception to the doctrine is for acts taken by a judge "(w)here there is clearly no jurisdiction over the subject-matter" involved. Hence, the proper inquiry

 
"in determining whether a defendant judge is immune from suit is whether at the time he took the challenged action be had jurisdiction over the subject matter before him."

 Stump v. Sparkman, supra, 435 U.S. at 356, 98 S. Ct. at 1104-05. The Court has taken judicial notice of its own records pursuant to Rule 201, F.R.Evid., *fn12" and has examined the case files in the criminal actions underlying this action in which Arthur and Daniel Snead were found guilty of aiding and abetting and conspiracy to rob four different banks. *fn13" The plaintiffs have named the four district judges who presided in those cases as defendants in this action and allege that each of the judges violated their rights. The criminal cases involved charges, brought by indictments, under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2113(a), (b) and (d), 371 and 2(a). It is clear, therefore, that each of the defendant judges had subject matter jurisdiction ...


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