United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
federal civil rights action was commenced on August 6, 2018,
when the pro se plaintiff, Johnnie Mickell, filed
the complaint with the Clerk of Court. (Doc. 1.) Mickell has
been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in
August 6, 2018, Mickell filed his hand-written complaint in
this action. (Doc. 1.) The complaint asserts a claim for
damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
following defendants: (a) Hon. Vito P. Geroulo, a judge with
the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas; (b) Hon.
Margaret B. Moyle, a judge with the Lackawanna County Court
of Common Pleas; (c) Kathy Kacier, an employee with the
Clerk's Office for the Lackawanna County Court of Common
Pleas; (d) Brian Williams, a probation officer with the
Lackawanna County Adult Probation / Parole Office; (e) Shane
P. Scanlon, Jr., the former District Attorney for Lackawanna
County; (f) Daniel B. Lipson, a public defender who had been
appointed to represent Mickell; (g) Timothy Betti, Warden of
Lackawanna County Prison; (h) David Langan, Deputy Warden of
Lackawanna County Prison; and (i) Lori Davis, a counselor at
Lackawanna County Prison.
it is somewhat difficult to follow, the complaint appears to
allege that Mickell was falsely imprisoned on multiple
occasions in connection with a June 4, 2015, citation for
driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled
substance (“DUI”). See Commonwealth v.
Mickell, Docket No. CP-35-CR-0002414-2015 (Lackawanna
Cty. (Pa.) C.C.P.); see also Commonwealth v. Mickell,
Docket No. MJ-45106-CR-0000555-2015 (Lackawanna Cty. (Pa.)
Magis. Dist. Ct.). Mickell alleges that an unidentified
Scranton police officer issued him a DUI citation on June 4,
2015. While he was still awaiting receipt of a summons for
that offense, a Scranton police officer arrested and
charged Mickell with two counts of public drunkenness.
Mickell remained incarcerated in pretrial detention at
Lackawanna County Prison until November 19, 2015, when he
alleges that a state magisterial district judge, Hon. Sean P.
McGraw, heard and disposed of his June 4, 2015, DUI citation,
finding him guilty and sentencing him to serve up to six
months in jail, to participate in a drug treatment program,
to wear a SCRAM bracelet for 90 days,  to have his
driver's license suspended for 18 months, and to pay a
February 18, 2016, Mickell commenced an earlier federal civil
rights action by filing a complaint alleging that he had been
illegally incarcerated for 64 days for two counts of public
drunkenness. See generally Mickell v. Police Dept. of
Scranton, Civil Action No. 3:16-cv-00291, 2017 WL
4532160 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 10, 2017) (recommending dismissal for
failure to state a claim based on the favorable termination
rule enunciated in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477
(1994)), report and recommendation adopted by 2017
WL 4516748 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 10, 2017); see also Mickell v.
Weaver, 748 Fed.Appx. 485 (3d Cir. 2019) (per curiam)
(affirming denial of motion for reconsideration in the same
complaint alleges that, on March 9, 2016, Judge Geroulo and
other unspecified defendants conspired to issue a bench
warrant for Mickell's arrest for failure to appear for a
second sentencing hearing in his DUI case, notwithstanding
the (alleged) fact that he previously had been sentenced on
November 19, 2018, and his six-month sentence had already
expired. The complaint alleges that this bench warrant and
the “resentencing” were undertaken in retaliation
against Mickell for filing his previous federal civil rights
action in February 2016. The complaint further alleges that,
on March 11, 2016, Judge Geroulo conspired with Scanlon (the
prosecutor) and Lipson (Mickell's court-appointed public
defender) to compel Mickell to accept a plea agreement under
which he would plead guilty to the DUI charge and a second
charge of reckless endangerment not previously charged.
complaint alleges that, on July 18, 2016, Judge Geroulo
issued another bench warrant for Mickell's failure to
appear for a June 8, 2016 sentencing hearing. On August 11,
2016, Mickell was allegedly sentenced to time-served and up
to six months of probation for the DUI charge, plus a
consecutive sentence of another three months of probation for
the reckless endangerment charge. The complaint further
alleges that Judge Geroulo, in conspiracy with Scanlon and
Lipson, imposed a fine of $750 and suspended Mickell's
driver's license for 12 months.
complaint alleges that, on or about March 7, 2017, Judge
Moyle conspired with the other defendants to once again
revoke Mickell's probation and reimpose it for an
additional term of three months (through June 7, 2017),
despite the alleged illegality of Judge Geroulo's
sentence in the first instance.
complaint alleges that, on June 8, 2017, Kacier and other,
unspecified defendants conspired to falsely imprison Mickell
for another calendar day based on an allegedly falsified
bench warrant detainer, refusing to permit him to be released
until he agreed to a payment plan for an outstanding balance
owed of $8, 000 in fines and court costs.
complaint also appears to seek to hold Davis and Williams
liable because they allegedly knew that Mickell was falsely
imprisoned but failed to act. The complaint does not contain
allegations of any conduct whatsoever by defendants Betti and
on publicly available state court records,  we have
ascertained the following additional facts pertinent to our
disposition of the pending motions-
September 29, 2015, a criminal complaint was filed, charging
Mickell with the misdemeanor of driving under the influence
of alcohol or a controlled substance, along with the summary
offenses of causing accidental damage to an unattended
vehicle or property and driving on a suspended license with a
blood alcohol content (“BAC”) of .02% or greater.
Commonwealth v. Mickell, Docket No.
MJ-45106-CR-0000555-2015 (Lackawanna Cty. Magis. Dist. Ct.).
The criminal complaint was based on an incident report filed
with the Scranton City Police, and it alleged an offense date
of June 4, 2015. Id. On November 12, 2015, a
preliminary arraignment was held before a state magisterial
district judge, Hon. Sean P. ...