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Miguel A. Davila v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

February 8, 2012

MIGUEL A. DAVILA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

(MAGISTRATE JUDGE SMYSER)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge J. Andrew Smyser. (Doc. 8). After evaluating Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Magistrate Judge Recommended that several parties and claims be dismissed. After reviewing the Report and Recommendation and the Plaintiff's Objections (Doc. 10), the Court will adopt the Report and Recommendation with the exception that Plaintiff will be allowed to include the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as to his Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act claims. The matter will be recommitted to the Magistrate Judge for further proceedings.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Miguel A. Davila is proceeding pro se in this matter. In his Amended Complaint (Doc. 6), Plaintiff alleges the following. Davila is a disabled American with mental health issues including bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and depression.

In May of 2009, Davila was involved in an automobile accident with a tractor-trailer. He was charged with driving under the influence by police officers who were indifferent to his mental health disability. In July of 2009, Plaintiff's counsel, Defendant Lawler, coerced Davila to waive his right to a preliminary hearing even though he knew Davila was entitled to dismissal of the charges. This was part of a conspiracy with the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office to deny Davila his right to a preliminary hearing.

Further conspiracies to violate Davila's rights ensued. In July of 2010, Defendant Judge Michael J. Barrasse issued an illegal bench warrant for Davila's arrest based on his failure to appear at a hearing he was never notified of. After Plaintiff presented himself to the court, the bench warrant was lifted. Then, when Davila informed Defendant Attorney Lawler that he wanted to file a motion to dismiss the charges for an untimely trial,*fn1 his lawyer declined to do so. Instead, Defendant Attorney Lawler stated that it was "not the desire of District Attorney [sic] to go to trial," and coerced the Plaintiff into signing a guilty plea. (Am. Compl. at 49, Doc. 6). Moreover, Defendant Attorney Lawler lied to Davila, informing him the day before his hearing that it was suddenly rescheduled, which was detrimental to Plaintiff's case as it prevented his State Certified Mental Health Peer Specialist from appearing. Defendant Lawler also lied to plaintiff about a jury being picked in his absentia.

Plaintiff was ordered to serve 90 days incarceration. Neither Defendant Attorney Lawler nor Defendant Barrasse informed the Plaintiff of his right to appeal. Plaintiff was finally brought before the court for sentencing on December 7, 2010, but Defendant Judge Barrasse instead postponed the sentencing and ordered the Plaintiff to undergo a psychological and psychiatric evaluation in a state correctional facility. Again, neither Defendant Attorney Lawler nor Defendant Judge Barrasse informed Plaintiff of his right to appeal. Plaintiff then spent twenty-one days in Lackawanna County Prison before Defendant Judge Barrasse signed the first order to transfer him to SCI-Camp Hill for evaluation. Moreover, as of December 9, 2010, it had been ninety days since Plaintiff's guilty plea and his sentence had not been imposed in violation of Pa. R. Crim. Pro. 704.*fn2

This date also marked the successful completion of Plaintiff's minimum sentence. When Davila was finally sent for evaluation, he was detained there for longer than the sixty days permitted by Pa. R. Crim. P. 702(b).*fn3 While Plaintiff filed a pro se motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial, that motion was improperly docketed by the Lackawanna County Office of Judicial Records as a letter.

On April 5, 2011, Defendant Judge Barrasse finally sentenced Davila to ninety days incarceration. This was an illegal sentence, assessed and approved by the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas, which denied Plaintiff credit for the 210 days that he had already served. Davila was further fined and assessed supervision fees for five years of probation. Judge Barrasse denied the Plaintiff's post-trial motions. Davila filed an appeal which is still pending in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

Plaintiff filed both his initial Complaint and a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis on June 7, 2011. On June 14, 2011, Magistrate Judge Smyser screened Davila's application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915,*fn4 granting the application but directing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 5). Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on July 14, 2011. (Doc. 6). The Amended Complaint names twenty-nine separate Defendants, including: (1) the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (2) the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; (3) Lackawanna County; (4) the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas; (5) the Lackawanna County Adult Probation Office; (6) the Lackawanna County Office of Judicial Records; (7) the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office; (8) the Lackawanna County Court Administrator's Office; (9) the Lackawanna County Public Defender's Office; (10) the Scranton Counseling Center; (11) the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill; (12) the Lackawanna County Courthouse; (13) the Lackawanna County Prison; (14) Joseph Mecca, the Director of the Lackawanna County Adult Probation Office; (15) Mary F. Rinaldi, the Lackawanna County Clerk of Judicial Records; (16) Ronald C. Mackay, the District Court Administrator at the Lackawanna County Courthouse; (17) Hon. Thomas J. Munley, the President Judge of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas; (18) Hon. Michael J. Barrasse, a Judge on the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas; (19) Andrew Jarbola, III, the Lackawanna County District Attorney;

(20) Sidney J. Prejean, the Lackawanna County Public Defender; (21) Ms. St. Pierre, a unit counselor at SCI-Camp Hill; (22) Bobby Jo Salamon, a unit manager at SCI-Camp Hill; (23) Officer McDermmott, a correctional officer at SCI-Camp Hill; (24) Ian Taggart, the assistant to the Superintendent of SCI-Camp Hill; (25) Correctional Care, Inc., (26) John Joseph Lawler, an Assistant Public Defender; (27) Corey J. Kolcharno, an Assistant District Attorney;

(28) Gene Tocket, a nurse at Lackawanna County Prison; and (29) Tony Ianuzzi, a practical nurse at Lackawanna County Prison.

From the above events, Davila contends that all twenty-nine Defendants "have knowingly partaken in an elaborate and illegal conspiracy in order to deny Plaintiff . . . of his federally-mandated civil liberties and constitutional rights." (Am. Compl. at 55, Doc. 6). In particular, Davila claims Defendants violated the Eighth Amendment by wrongly incarcerating him, by imposing an excessive fine, and by denying him treatment for his disabilities while incarcerated. He also claims that the defendants violated the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Davila further claims that the Defendants denied him mental health advocacy "which resulted in discrimination of a disabled American" (Id. at 55), a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. He is seeking "justice, civil action, full compensation & award for damages." (Id. at 17).

In the Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Smyser screened the Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and determined that many Defendants and claims were improper. Davila filed a timely Objection and the Court now reviews the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standards

A. Legal Standard in Reviewing a Report and ...


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