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Stout v. Naus

June 23, 2009

HERBERT STOUT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE HONORABLE SCOTT NAUS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Plaintiff Herbert Stout ("Plaintiff" or "Stout"), an inmate presently confined at the Albion State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Albion") in Albion, Pennsylvania, initiated this pro se civil rights action by filing a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (See Record document no. 1.) At the time he filed this action, Stout was an inmate at the Smithfield State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Smithfield") in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (See Record document no. 2.)

Based on the request to proceed in forma pauperis, the case currently is before the Court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(iii) because it seeks monetary relief against defendants who are immune from such relief.

BACKGROUND

Named as Defendants in the Complaint are The Honorable Scott Naus of the Columbia County Court of Common Pleas; Tami Kline, Columbia County Prothonotary and Clerk of the Court; and Kelly Brewer, an employee of the Office of the Columbia County Prothonotary and Clerk of the Court.

In his Complaint, Stout alleges that, on March 27, 2006, he was arrested in Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania for receiving stolen property. (Record document no. 1 ¶ 1.) He pled guilty to the crime on April 5, 2007. (Id. ¶ 2.) As part of his sentence, on April 16, 2007, a penalty was assessed against Stout, and the Office of Prothonotary and Clerk of the Court entered a civil judgment against him for collection of the penalty. (See id., Ex. D, Criminal Docket.) Stout alleges that Judge Naus directed that the penalty be collected from his prison wages at the rate of twenty (20) percent. (Id. ¶ 3.)

Stout alleges that his biological uncle, Edward Moran, of Tuscon, Arizona, offered a set amount of gold to pay the court costs, penal sum, fines and restitution for Stout "as is a custom of his homeland."*fn1 (Id. ¶ 6.) On or around November 13, 2008, Stout sent a letter to the Columbia County Clerk of the Courts asking if it was possible to pay the court costs, penal costs, judgment bond, and fines he owed in gold and silver. (Id. ¶ 7; Ex. A.)

By letter dated November 18, 2008, Defendant Kline, the Columbia County Prothonotary and Clerk of the Courts, sent a reply to Plaintiff explaining that her office does not accept gold or silver as payment for costs and fines owed to the Court. (Id. ¶ 8; Ex. B.) Kline advised in the letter that payment is accepted solely via cash or money order made payable to the Clerk of Courts. (Id., Ex. B.)

On November 26, 2008, a second letter was sent by Kline to Stout responding to his inquiry.*fn2 (Id. ¶ 9.) In this letter, Kline explained that the Court does not deduct costs and fines due to incarceration. (Id., Ex. C.) Kline further explained that, upon his release from incarceration, it is Stout's responsibility to contact the Clerk of Court to set up a payment agreement. (Id.) Kline reiterated that payments must be in cash or money order and that gold or silver will not be accepted as payment. (Id.)

Stout alleges that someone from SCI-Smithfield, acting on behalf of the "Columbia County Court House," is extorting twenty (20) percent from his inmate account. (Id. ¶ 13.) Attached to his Complaint is a copy of his monthly inmate account statement from December 2007 showing an "Act 84 Transaction" deduction of $1.90 on December 11, 2007. (Id., Ex. E.)

Stout alleges that Defendant Kline "has returned no money received by this incarcerated inmate." (Id. ¶ 14.) On December 4, 2008, Stout filed a motion in the Columbia County Court of Common Pleas requesting that he be able to certify his debt owed to the Court either with time served or with gold obtained from his family. (Id. ¶ 15; Ex. F.) By Order dated December 22, 2008, the Court denied the motion on the basis that it was "without discretion or authority" to grant Stout's request to reform his sentence to time served or accept payment in gold from his family in satisfaction of his debt to the Court. (Id., Ex. G.) The Order denying the motion was signed by Defendant Judge Naus.

Stout asserts that Defendants Naus, Kline, and Brewer committed treason for not accepting payment in accordance with Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution*fn3; committed a violation of their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution; repeatedly committed extortion from an incarcerated inmate; and violated due process of law under the Pennsylvania and United States Constitutions. (Id. ¶ 17.) As relief, Stout requests that this Court: 1) "pursue and prosecute illegal actions/violations"; 2) "vacate charges"; and 3) "distress all bonds/recall all securities". (Id. at 16.)

DISCUSSION

I. Plaintiff's Claims Against ...


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