United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
BARRETT S. TUNSIL, Plaintiff,
GOVERNOR THOMAS WOLF, et al., Defendants.
H. Rambo United States District Judge
before the Court is Mr. Tunsil's motions for
“emergency intervention” and recusal. (Docs. 27
and 32.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny
March 1, 2019, Barrett S. Tunsil, an individual presently
housed at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC)
State Correctional Institution in Coal Township (SCI-Coal
Township), Pennsylvania, proceeding pro se filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) In his Complaint
Mr. Tunsil alleged DOC officials from three different
facilities committed acts of “medical
malpractice” and “official misconduct” due
to their “racial prejudices and … racial
hatred”. (Id.) The Court dismissed the
Complaint on June 13, 2019 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
but granted Mr. Tunsil leave to file an amended complaint.
(Doc. 14.) He filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 16) naming
twenty-one Defendants consisting of SCI-Coal Township
correctional and contract medical staff. He claims Defendants
verbally assaulted him and withheld medical and mental health
care due to their racial animosity towards him.
(Id.) The Court ordered service of the Amended
Complaint on November 4, 2019. (Doc. 29.) Defendants have
recently filed a motion for a more definite statement (Doc.
38), Mr. Tunsil has yet to file a response.
Motion for Emergency Interventions
Tunsil filed a motion for intervention claiming Defendants
have denied him appropriate care for his unspecified chronic
illnesses. He does not identify which Defendants allegedly
withheld or interfered with his access to medical care. (Doc.
27.) The Court will deny Mr. Tunsil's motion will be
denied due to his failure to file a supporting brief as
required by Pa. M.D. Local Rule 7.5. See Doc. 6, Standing
Motion for Recusal
Tunsil's November 21, 2019-letter request that the
undersign “recuse” herself and transfer this
matter to a different jurist having “no political
quid-pro-que (sic) and/or vested interest” in this
matter. (Doc. 32.) Mr. Tunsil basis his request “on
allegations [of] fact and [his] constitutional rights to a
‘fair trial.'” (Id.)
to 28 U.S.C. § 455(a), “[a]ny justice, judge or
magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify
himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might
reasonably be questioned.” The Supreme Court requires
recusal when “objectively speaking ‘the
probability of actual bias on the part of the judge or
decision maker is too high to be constitutionally
tolerable.'” Isom v. Arkansas, 140 S.Ct.
342 (2019) (citing Rippo v. Baker, 137 S.Ct. 905,
907, 197 L.Ed.2d 167 (2017) (per curiam) (quoting Withrow
v. Larkins, 421 U.S. 35, 47, 95 S.Ct. 1456, 1464, 43
L.Ed.2d 712 (1975)). The test is whether “the average
judge in [the same] position is likely to be neutral, or
whether there is an unconstitutional potential for
bias.” Isom, 140 S.Ct. at 343 (quoting Williams v.
Pennsylvania, 136 S.Ct. 1899, 1905, 195 L.Ed.2d 132
(2016)); see also In re: Kensington Int'l Ltd., 368 F.3d
289, 301 (3d Cir. 2004) (The test is “whether a
reasonable person, with knowledge of all the facts, would
conclude that the judge's impartiality might reasonably
be questioned.”) Moreover, rulings and orders
“can only in the rarest circumstances evidence the
degree of favoritism or antagonism required . . . when no
extrajudicial source is involved. Almost invariably, they are
proper grounds for appeal, not for recusal.” Liteky
v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555, 114 S.Ct. 1147,
1157, 127 L.Ed.2d 474 (1994). Additionally, “opinions
formed by the judge on the basis of facts introduced or
events occurring in the course of the current proceedings, or
of prior proceedings, do not constitute a basis for a bias or
partiality motion unless they display a deep-seated
favoritism or antagonism that would make fair judgment
impossible.” Id., 510 U.S. at 555, 114 S.Ct.
this standard, the undersigned need not recuse herself. Mr.
Tunsil does not provide any concrete facts to support his
assertion of bias. To the extent Mr. Tunsil objects to the
Court's screening order dismissing the Complaint, it is
important to note that the Court granted him leave to file an
amended complaint after explaining the deficiencies of ...