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FIGUEROA v. CLARK

November 5, 1992

JOSUE FIGUEROA
v.
GLENNIS CLARK, LEHIGH COUNTY, LEHIGH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, MARIA DANTOS, MICHAEL BRUNNABEND, FREDERICK CHARLES, CHARLES SIEGER, and JAMES HEIDECKER



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BY THE COURT; JAMES T. GILES

 GILES, J.

 November 5, 1992

 I. INTRODUCTION

 Plaintiff was tried on criminal charges in state court and convicted by a jury on July 18, 1988. He is currently incarcerated at Lehigh County Prison. On May 18, 1992, plaintiff filed a pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint against Glennis Clark, former District Attorney of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office, and Michael Brunnabend, a public defender in the Lehigh County Public Defender Office. Defendant Clark was the prosecutor at plaintiff's criminal trial. Defendant Brunnabend represented plaintiff at his arraignment and during the trial. Plaintiff's complaint alleged that the defendants conspired to deprive him of his right to a fair trial and sought damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.

 In a Memorandum and Order dated June 1, 1992, this court dismissed as frivolous the claims against Glennis Clark and the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office because they were barred by the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity. The claims against public defender Michael Brunnabend were also dismissed, because a court appointed defense attorney is not acting under color of state law as is required to state a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 The complaint alleged that defendant Brunnabend, while representing plaintiff, conspired with the district attorney's office to deprive plaintiff of a fair trial. Such a conspiracy may extend § 1983 liability to a non-state actor. However, the complaint made only general allegations of conspiracy without alleging specific facts. Such general allegations are insufficient to support a conspiracy-based § 1983 claim. Since plaintiff is pro se, the court's dismissal of the claim against Brunnabend was without prejudice, and plaintiff was given thirty days leave to file an amended complaint providing specific details about the alleged conspiracy. It was also ordered that the Clerk of the Court was not to serve the amended complaint until so ordered by the court.

 Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on June 19, 1992. The court has reviewed the amended complaint and now orders that it be served on all defendants. However, further proceedings in this matter are stayed until plaintiff exhausts the state remedies that are available to him.

 II. THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

 The amended complaint alleges that all of the defendants conspired to deprive plaintiff of a fair criminal trial, and that this conspiracy was part of an official Lehigh County policy or practice. The amended complaint also alleges that Lehigh County violated plaintiff's due process rights when it transferred him from one prison to another.

 It is convenient to consider the amended complaint's claims in four groups, which will be discussed at greater length below. Plaintiff asks the court to hold all defendants criminally liable for their actions. These claims are frivolous and are dismissed. The remaining civil claims are conveniently divided into three groups defined by defendants. First, we consider the civil claims against the "prosecutor defendants," Glennis Clark and the Lehigh County District Attorneys Office. Second, we consider the claims against the "public defender defendants," Michael Brunnabend, Frederick Charles, Maria Dantos, James Heidecker, and Charles Sieger. Finally, we consider the claims against Lehigh County.

 A. Criminal Claims Against All Defendants

 Plaintiff has alleged that defendants' actions violate 18 U.S.C. §§ 241-42. These sections establish criminal liability for certain deprivations of civil rights. Plaintiff cannot bring criminal charges against defendants through a private lawsuit, and these sections do not give rise to a civil cause of action. U.S. ex rel. Savage v. Arnold, 403 F.Supp. 172 (E.D. Pa. 1975). Therefore, these claims are ...


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