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Young v. United States Cellular of Madison

July 16, 2008

ROBERT P. YOUNG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES CELLULAR OF MADISON, ET. AL, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

MERIT REVIEW ORDER

This cause is before the court for a merit review of the plaintiff's claims. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to "screen" the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it "(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."

The pro se plaintiff is a state prisoner who has filed various motions to amend his complaint. See July 2, 2008 Text Order. While the plaintiff's Third Amended complaint makes reference to several statues without proper explanation, it is clear the plaintiff is alleging that the defendants violated his fourth, fifth and fourteenth amendment rights and he is requesting monetary damages. (Comp., p. 9, 10). However, the plaintiff also submitted a motion asking to file a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254(d). [d/e 18] Therefore, the court asked the plaintiff to clarify what kind of lawsuit he intended to file. See July 2, 2008 Text Order. The plaintiff has now responded that this is a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. [d/e 19]

The plaintiff has listed the following 9 defendants in the caption of his second amended complaint: United States Cellular of Madison, Wisconsin; McLean County States Attorney William Yoder; United States Cellular of Itasca, Illinois; United States Cellular of Bloomington, Illinois; United States Cellular Employees Nate Daugherty and Tracy Hart; the City of Bloomington, the Bloomington Police Department and Detective Michael Gray.

The plaintiff's main allegation is that altered phone records were used in his prosecution for the offense of Manufacture and Delivery of a Controlled Substance. The plaintiff says he believes the inaccurate phone records were supplied in response to a Grand Jury subpoena. In addition, he says Bloomington police officers perjured themselves during testimony, and his defense attorney did not subpoena his alibi witness or produce other relevant evidence. The plaintiff has articulated eight separate counts:

Count One: Alleges that U.S. Cellular provided inaccurate phone records in response to a Grand Jury Subpoena and Nate Daughtery testified that the records were accurate.

Count Two: Alleges that Detective Gray relied upon the inaccurate phone records and perjured himself during testimony

Count Three: Alleges that Detective Gray obtained a warrant that was not based on probable cause.

Count Four: Alleges malicious prosecution against Detective Gray.

Count Five: Alleges a violation of constitutional rights and ineffective assistance of counsel against Public Defender Ron Lewis. The plaintiff did not name Lewis as a defendant.

Count Six: Alleges malicious prosecution against the Bloomington Police Department

Count Seven: Alleges malicious prosecution against the "McLean County Prosecutor." (Comp, p. 28)

Count Eight: Appears to allege that the presiding judge in his criminal trial violated his rights when he issued an arrest warrant without probable cause, showed bias during the trial and did not allow a hearing to prove the plaintiff's innocence. The plaintiff did not name the judge as a defendant.

The plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to §1983. The plaintiff cannot sue many of the individuals he has named as defendants. For instance, the judges are shielded from civil liability for their judicial actions, unless they have acted in "clear absence of jurisdiction." Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 9, 10 (1991); Brokaw v. Mercer County, 235 F.3d 1000, 1015 (7th Cir. 2000). Judicial immunity applies, even when the action is alleged to have been in error, procedurally flawed, or with bad motive. Id. See also, John v. Barron, 897 F.2d 1387, 1393 (7th Cir. 1990)(allegations of conspiracy insufficient to overcome judicial immunity); Eades v. Sterlinske, 810 ...


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