United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
G. SMITH, J.
pro se plaintiff is a life prisoner currently
confined in a Pennsylvania state correctional institution. He
has lodged a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 primarily challenging his 1999 extradition
pursuant to a fugitive warrant, his criminal prosecution, and
his conviction for first-degree murder. He is also seeking
leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
plaintiff appears to be attempting to assert claims on behalf
of a co-defendant and another individual, which he cannot do
as a non-attorney. In addition, he purports to assert section
1983 claims even though his claims are only cognizable in a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Accordingly, although
the court will grant the plaintiff leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, the court will dismiss the complaint as
frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and
not provide him with leave to amend the complaint because
doing so would be futile.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
1999, the pro se plaintiff, Kevin Williams
(“Williams”), was arrested and charged with
criminal homicide (18 Pa. C.S. § 2501). See
Docket, Commonwealth v. Stewart, No.
CP-36-CR-4395-1999 (Lancaster Cty. Ct. Com. Pl.) (“CCP
Docket”), available at
(last visited Oct. 10, 2019). After a non-jury trial before
the Honorable Lawrence F. Stengel in the Lancaster County
Court of Common Pleas, Judge Stengel convicted Williams of
first-degree murder and imposed a life sentence. See
CCP Docket; Williams v. Kerestes, No. 1407 MDA 2014,
2015 WL 6134278, at *1 (Pa. Super. Apr. 24, 2015) (“On
March 29, 2000, the court convicted Appellant of first-degree
murder, in connection with Appellant's instruction to his
associates to kill Victim in retaliation for Victim's
theft of money and guns from a crack house maintained by
Appellant.”). Although Williams appealed from his
judgment of sentence, his appeal was unsuccessful.
See CCP Docket; Williams, 2015 WL 6134278,
at *1 (indicating that Superior Court affirmed Williams's
judgment of sentence on March 30, 2001, and Pennsylvania
Supreme Court denied petition for allowance of appeal on
August 20, 2001).
his conviction became final, Williams has filed numerous
petitions for post-conviction relief and petitions for writs
of habeas corpus, none of which have been successful.
See CCP Docket; Williams, 2015 WL 6134278
(“From 2001-2012, [Williams] unsuccessfully litigated
multiple PCRA petitions.”); see also Aug. 7,
2017 Order, Williams v. Madenspacher, Civ. A. No.
17-691 (E.D. Pa.), Doc. No. 9 (adopting report and
recommendation which recommended dismissing Williams's
petition for writ of habeas corpus with prejudice because it
was second or successive petition and Third Circuit Court of
Appeals had denied Williams permission to file second or
successive habeas petition); Sept. 8, 2008 Order,
Williams v. Rozum, Civ. A. No. 07-3716 (E.D. Pa.),
Doc. No. 19 (adopting report and recommendation which
recommended dismissing Williams's petition for writ of
habeas corpus). His appeals of adverse decisions and his
motions to reopen his habeas cases were also unsuccessful, as
were his applications to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals
to file a second or successive habeas corpus petition.
See Docket, In re Kirby Stewart, No.
11-3904 (3d Cir.) (application for leave to file second or
successive petition dismissed on January 24, 2012, due to
failure to file certain documents); Docket, In re Kevin
Williams, No. 13-3315 (3d Cir.) (order denying
Williams's application for leave to file second or
successive motion to vacate sentence entered on October 30,
2013; order denying petition for en banc hearing and
panel rehearing entered on November 13, 2013); Docket, In
re Kevin Williams, No. 17-1617 (3d Cir.) (order denying
Williams's application for leave to file second or
successive habeas petition entered on May 16, 2017; order
denying petition for en banc hearing and panel
rehearing entered on June 16, 2017); see also Compl.
at ECF p. 10 (describing unsuccessful state post-conviction
collateral proceedings and federal habeas proceedings);
id. at ECF p. 17 (“[Williams] has filed six
(PCRA's)[, ] three (HABEAS CORPUS's [sic])[, and] two
April 2019, Williams filed a motion in the state court under
42 Pa. C.S. § 5505 seeking to reopen his case to obtain
“‘full and complete
discovery' from the prosecution's
office, ” in particular, “exculpatory
evidence” that he claimed was “vital to [his]
case.” Compl. at ECF p. 11. He also filed a second
motion for discovery seeking records and various items based
on Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).
Id. at ECF pp. 48-50. It appears that the state
court denied both motions. See CCP Docket.
instant civil action, which Williams filed shortly before the
denial of his most recent discovery motions, he brings claims
for injunctive relief pursuant to section 1983 based on the
criminal proceedings that led to his conviction. See
Compl. at ECF p. 3 (indicating that Williams is bringing
“this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint for
‘Injunctive Relief'”). He has also filed an
application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(the “IFP Application”) and a prisoner trust fund
account statement. Doc. Nos. 4, 5.
caption of the complaint, Williams names as defendants (1)
Lancaster County; (2) Craig W. Stedman, the District Attorney
for Lancaster County; (3) the Lancaster County Police
Department; and (4) “all known and unknown
respondents.” Id. In the body of the
complaint, Williams appears to seek to assert claims on
behalf of (1) Kawame Coe (“Coe”), who appears to
have been a co-defendant also convicted of murder, and (2)
Michael Seabury (“Seabury”), who also appears to
have been convicted of first-degree murder. See Id.
at ECF pp. 3-4; Docket, Commonwealth v. Coe, No.
CP-36-CR-2189-1999 (Lancaster Cty. Ct. Com. Pl),
(last visited Oct. 11, 2019); Docket, Commonwealth v.
Seabury, No. CP-36-CR-2212-2000 (Lancaster Cty. Ct. Com.
2000&dnh=Xdoy35pweI7Vi7WF%2bKsLRw%3d%3d (last visited
Oct. 11, 2019). Williams also provides numbers of criminal
dockets for individuals other than himself. See Id.
at ECF p. 3. Williams further lists additional
“repsondents [sic]” whom he may have intended to
include as defendants, including two judges who presided over
his case. See Id. at ECF p. 4.
raises claims based on events that occurred during the course
of his state court criminal proceeding, in particular: (1)
his extradition in 1999 from New York, where he was arrested,
to Pennsylvania; (2) the Commonwealth's alleged failure
to turn over exculpatory evidence in violation of
Brady; and (3) various actions, including
ineffectiveness of counsel, that allegedly undermined the
fairness and constitutionality of his trial and
post-conviction proceedings. See Id. at ECF pp.
7-10, 12, 16-17. Williams also alleges that Coe filed a
motion seeking ballistics testing of projectiles based on
allegedly new technology. See Id. at ECF p. 11.
Williams asserts that this technology will prove his
innocence as well as Coe's, but that Lancaster County
refused to provide the testing. See Id. at ECF pp.
11. It appears that the Court of Common Pleas denied
Coe's motion, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
affirmed the decision on appeal. See Id. at ECF pp.
54-57 (attaching opinion in Commonwealth v. Coe, No.
1050 MDA 2018 (Pa. Super. Feb. 5, 2019)).
addition to these allegations, Williams refers to
“prison bonds” taken out in 1997 that he suggests
relate to this case. See Id. at ECF p. 16. He
provides CUSIP numbers and suggests that these numbers undermine
his prosecution or conviction because officials in Lancaster
County allegedly had a financial outcome in his case. See
Id. However, the factual basis for that suggestion is
requests various forms of injunctive relief. He seeks release
from custody based on the alleged constitutional violations
or, in the alternative, a hearing, discovery and certain
unspecified forensic testing. See Id. at ECF p. 18.
The request for forensic testing appears to refer to the
ballistics testing Coe sought in his criminal case. The
request for discovery appears to relate to the most recent
motions Williams filed in state court seeking assorted
discovery from the Commonwealth pursuant to Brady.