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Bey v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 7, 2017

LEON GREEN BEY, Plaintiff
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge

         Background

         Leon Green Bey, a federal pre-trial detainee presently confined in the Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, instituted this pro se civil rights action. Plaintiff has also submitted an in forma pauperis application.[1] For the reasons set forth below, Green Bey's action will be dismissed, without prejudice, as legally frivolous pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

         Named as Defendants in the Complaint are the United States of America; Chief Judge Christopher C. Conner of this district; Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Daryl Bloom; and Plaintiff's court appointed criminal defense counsel, Elisabeth Pasqualini, Esq. This is the third action filed by Green Bey challenging the legality of his ongoing federal criminal prosecution, United States v. Green, Case No. 1:13-CR-210, before Chief Judge Conner.[2]

         Plaintiff states that his “Human Moorish body” has been detained by the United States since November 7, 2013, without trial. Doc. 1, ¶ IV. He asserts that his ongoing federal criminal jurisdiction should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because he is a member of the Moorish Nation and, as such, is entitled to protection under the 1787 treaty between the Moorish nation and the U.S. Government.[3] As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages, as well as injunctive relief.

         Discussion

         Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915 imposes obligations on prisoners who file civil actions in federal court and wish to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, e.g., that the full filing fee ultimately must be paid (at least in a non-habeas suit). Section 1915(e)(2)provides:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that (A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         A district court may rule that process should not be issued 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)).

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has added that "the plain meaning of 'frivolous' authorizes the dismissal of in forma pauperis claims that . . . are of little or no weight, value, or importance, not worthy of serious consideration, or trivial." Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1083 (3d Cir. 1995). It also has been determined that "the frivolousness determination is a discretionary one, " and trial courts "are in the best position" to determine when an indigent litigant's complaint is appropriate for summary dismissal. Denton, 504 U.S. at 33.

         Prosecutor Immunity

         It is well-established that a prosecuting attorney is absolutely immune from liability for damages for acts such as the initiation of the prosecution and presentation of the state's case which are intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 420 (1976); Urrutia v. Harrisburg County Police Dep't, 91 F.3d 451, 462 (3d Cir. 1996). However, only qualified immunity is available to prosecutors with regard to allegations based on their administrative and/or investigative duties. See Hawk v. Brosha, 590 F.Supp. 337, 344 (E.D. Pa. 1984).

         Pursuant to the above standards, any allegation that AUSA Bloom has acted unlawfully with respect to Plaintiff's ongoing federal criminal prosecution is a claim which is "intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process." See Imbler, 424 U.S. at 430. Therefore, AUSA Bloom is absolutely immune from damages with respect to any such malicious prosecution claim.

         Judicial ...


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