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Bucano v. Sibum

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

February 7, 2014

MELISSA BUCANO, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE JENNIFER SIBUM, Defendant.

Mehalchick Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM

RICHARD P. CONABOY United States District Judge

Here we consider Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick’s Report and Recommendation filed on December 30, 2013, in which she recommends that the Court grant the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint Filed on Behalf of Judge Sibum (Doc. 59). (Doc. 66.) Plaintiff filed a “Response to Order” on January 14, 2014. (Doc. 67.) We construe this document in part as objections to the Report and Recommendation. For the reasons discussed below, we adopt the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 66), grant Defendant Sibum’s motion (Doc. 59), and dismiss Plaintiff Melissa Bucano’s Amended Complaint (Doc. 26) with prejudice.

I. Background

Setting out concise background information in this case has been an ongoing challenge due to the manner in which Plaintiff(s) presented “factual” information to the Court throughout the litigation. For purposes of consideration of the pending Report and Recommendation, we do not read Plaintiff Melissa Bucano’s Response to Order (Doc. 67) to lodge any specific objection to the background provided by Magistrate Judge Mehalchick. Therefore, we repeat that recitation here.

Melissa Bucano appeared before Judge Sibum of the Monroe County Court of Common Pleas as a co-defendant in a criminal matter. (Doc. 26 at 2). Bucano’s surviving claims are based on the allegation that she was erroneously put on suicide watch by Judge Sibum. (Doc. 26 at 7). Bucano alleges that, after initially denying the original plea deal she was offered, she was prevented from accepting the original plea deal despite her attempts to do so. She further alleges that her attorneys and Judge Sibum coerced her to accept a second plea deal, despite her alleged attempts to have her plea withdrawn, which resulted in her subsequent conviction and confinement. (Doc. 26 at 4-7). Additionally, Bucano alleges that she was wrongfully labeled “suicidal” when she stated that “over her dead body” would she accept a plea deal. (Doc. 26 at 2, 6-7).
Bucano was housed in the G-unit of Monroe County Correctional Facility at the request of Judge Sibum. (Doc. 26 at 11). Bucano alleges that she was placed on suicide watch because during her bail hearing, the attorney for the Commonwealth represented to the Court that, while refusing to take a plea deal, Bucano said that she would kill herself if she had to testify. (Doc. 26 at 7). Bucano states that she was erroneously placed in the Monroe County Corrections Facility G unit on suicide watch based on her “over my dead body” statement in Court and that Judge Sibum was biased against her. Bucano further submits that she was removed to G unit because Judge Sibum and Attorney Bellavia wanted her separated from her mother so that Bucano’s mother, Bianca Bucano, would plead guilty. (Doc. 26 at 11-12). Bucano was released from G unit after approximately one month. (Doc. 26 at 11).
On April 3, 2012, Melissa Bucano and her mother, Bianca Bucano, filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. On June 6, 2013, this Court stated that Melissa Bucano’s amended complaint (Doc. 26) would go forward only as to Melissa Bucano’s claim against Judge Sibum regarding allegations that Judge Sibum directed that Melissa be subjected to specific confinement on suicide watch and B status on G unit. (See Doc. 52, Order). On August 12, 2013, Judge Sibum filed a Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 59). On August 26, 2013, Judge Sibum filed a Brief in Support of said motion. (Doc. 61). Bucano has not filed a Brief in Opposition to Judge Sibum’s Motion to Dismiss. The only issue before the Court is Judge Sibum’s alleged role in Melissa Bucano being held on suicide watch and assigned to a restrictive housing setting. (Doc. 51 at 11).

(Doc. 66 at 1-3.)

Magistrate Judge Mehalchick issued the Report and Recommendation under consideration here on December 30, 2013. (Doc. 66.) Plaintiff filed “Response to Order” on January 14, 2014. (Doc. 67.) As noted above, we construe this document in part as objections to the Report and Recommendation. With this filing, Plaintiff also identifies others she believes should be held responsible for various alleged wrongdoing. (Doc. 67 at 8-10.) Plaintiff specifically states that she seeks to amend her complaint to add Attorney Ventrella “since he had a hand in try [sic] to influence plea negotiations in March 2012.” (Doc. 67 at 11.) Defendant did not file a response to Plaintiff’s filing and the time for doing so has passed. Therefore, this matter is ripe for disposition.

II. Discussion

A. Applicable Legal Standards

1. Standard of Review

When a magistrate judge makes a finding or ruling on a motion or issue, his determination should become that of the court unless objections are filed. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150-53 (1985). When objections are filed to a magistrate judge’s Report and Recommendation, the district judge makes a de novo review of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Cippolone v. Liggett Group, Inc., 822 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 976 (1987). To warrant de novo review, the objections must be both timely and specific. Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). The court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, ...


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