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Cooper v. State

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 18, 2013

JOHN COOPER, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL., Defendants,

MEMORANDUM

RICHARD P. CONABOY, District Judge.

Background

John Cooper, an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, Frackville, Pennsylvania (SCI-Frackville) initiated this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and two SCI-Frackville officials, Superintendent Tritt and Business Manager Dorzinsky. Accompanying the Complaint is a request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. See Doc. 2.

The Complaint is currently before the Court for preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b). For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed without prejudice.

It is initially noted that the Complaint is set forth in a rambling fashion and includes allegations which are clearly delusional. Plaintiff states that he has been in prison since 1976 because "I won war for the United States." Doc. 1, p. 4.[1] Cooper adds that he is still incarcerated because of the "Northwestern King's Old War Law Book" and a "fraudulent Presidential pardon."[2] Id.

The Complaint next vaguely claims that in 1985 the United States Supreme Court ordered that Plaintiff be discharged from prison at the age of 54. See Doc. 1, ¶ IV (1). Since Cooper lists his year of birth as being 1958, he is apparently contending that he is being illegally confined.

Cooper further maintains that he was supposed to have been discharged from "Farview" in 2006 or this year.[3] Id. at (2). It is also alleged that in 1994, the SCI-Huntingdon Business Manager (who is not named as a defendant in this matter) sent President Clinton "nine hundred decillion dollars to the tenth power." Id. at p. 5. One year later, Cooper generally claims that he received a fraudulent presidential pardon. Thereafter, in 1998 the SCI-Frackville Business Manager allegedly sent Michele Cooper "ten groups of nine hundred decillion dollars apparently because Plaintiff "told him to send her one (1) billion dollars." Id . The Complaint adds

"I have not received restitution from either case. I am asking the Federal Judge to have my money sent to me or place it in the World Court'. I am a "Total Rich' King. In the "World Court" I am King John Dennis Cooper."

Id.

As relief Plaintiff seeks dismissal of his criminal conviction, a pardon, his immediate release from confinement as well as compensatory and nominal damages. He also asks that the "Business Manager" (presumably at SCI-Frackville) transfer $2, 000.00 dollars to his "exposed" account and that said official be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Id. at ¶ IV (3).

Discussion

When considering a complaint accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, a district court may rule that process should not issue if the complaint is malicious, presents an indisputably meritless legal theory, or is predicated on clearly baseless factual contentions. Neitzke v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989), Douris v. Middleton Township , 293 Fed.Appx. 130, 132 (3d Cir. 2008). Indisputably meritless legal theories are those "in which either it is readily apparent that the plaintiff's complaint lacks an arguable basis in law or that the defendants are clearly entitled to immunity from suit...." Roman v. Jeffes , 904 F.2d 192, 194 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting Sultenfuss v. Snow , 894 F.2d 1277, 1278 (11th Cir. 1990)).

Habeas Corpus

The Complaint includes factual assertions that Cooper is being improperly confined. In addition, as partial relief, Cooper seeks his immediate release, a pardon, and the dismissal of his underlying criminal conviction. See Doc. 1, ¶ IV. It is well-settled that inmates may not use civil rights actions to challenge the fact or duration of their confinement or to seek earlier or speedier release. Preiser v. Rodriguez , 411 U.S. 475 (1975). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has similarly recognized that civil ...


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