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Matthew P. Dec v. District of Third Circuit

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


November 5, 2012

MATTHEW P. DEC, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF THIRD CIRCUIT, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Cathy Bissoon

ORDER

For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's case will be dismissed as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

Having been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), Plaintiff is subject to the screening provisions in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). See Atamian v. Burns, 2007 WL 1512020, *1-2 (3d Cir. May 24, 2007) ("the screening procedures set forth in [Section] 1915(e) apply to [IFP] complaints filed by prisoners and non-prisoners alike") (citations omitted). Section 1915(e)(2) provides that "the [C]court shall dismiss the case at any time if [it] determines that . . . the action . . . is frivolous." Id., § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).

Plaintiff purports to bring suit against "the Jurisdiction of the District of the Third Circuit of the Federal Courts [sic]." Compl. (Doc. 2). To the extent that his pleadings are intelligible, Plaintiff appears to challenge the constitutionality of unspecified laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by convicted felons. See id. at ¶¶ 8-13. In Plaintiff's view, depriving convicted felons who engaged in "non-violent or non-sexual offense[s]," such as "growing marijuana or getting into a non-lethal fight with a mutual combatant in a drunken brawl," violates the Second Amendment. See id. at ¶ 12.

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has recognized the presumptive constitutionality of felon dispossession statutes. See U.S. v. Barton, 633 F.3d 168, 172-73 (3d Cir. 2011) ("felon gun dispossession statutes are presumptively lawful," and "[a] lawful prohibition regulates conduct fall[ing outside] the scope of the Second Amendment[]") (citation to quoted sources omitted, some alterations in original). The Complaint fails to identify any specific dispossession statute, let alone "establish [ ] that no set of circumstances exists" under which any such statute "would be valid, i.e., that the law is unconstitutional in all of its applications." Id. at 172 (identifying legal standards regarding facial constitutional challenge) (citation to quoted source omitted). The Complaint also is bereft of any factual averments that may support an "as applied" challenge. See generally id. at 173; see also Compl. at ¶ 13 (purporting to seek relief on behalf of not only Plaintiff, but "[all of] the constituents of this District").

Plaintiff's blanket challenge to the constitutionality of unspecified felon dispossession statutes is "indisputably meritless,"*fn1 and therefore is frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Given the nature of Plaintiff's claims, amendment of his pleadings would be futile, and, therefore, this case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.*fn2

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Cathy Bissoon United States District Judge

cc (via First-Class U.S. Mail): Matthew P. Dec 314 Liberty Street, Apt. C Butler, PA 16001


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