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Stephen Michael Dennis, #442952 v. Desmond Williams

March 20, 2012

STEPHEN MICHAEL DENNIS, #442952, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DESMOND WILLIAMS, SCOTT TOTH, AND JOHN DOE OFFICERS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Stephen Michael Dennis, a pretrial detainee in the St. Clair County Jail, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact."

Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A and shall dismiss this case.

The Complaint

Plaintiff's chief complaint is that on March 12, 2009, he was interrogated by the Defendants while in their custody in the St. Clair County jail, in violation of his constitutional rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments (Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Defendants Williams and Toth are Investigators for the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department; the John Doe Defendants are other Sheriff's Officers. Plaintiff asserts that during this interrogation, his request for legal counsel was denied, and that Defendants refused to stop questioning him after he asked them to cease the interrogation. He claims the Defendants' persistent questioning, denial of counsel, and refusal to allow him to contact his parents or anyone else undermined his ability to exercise his right to remain silent and his right to counsel. In addition, he states he was denied medical attention and denied his prescription medication.

Plaintiff indicates that the interrogation was connected with the criminal charges filed against him in St. Clair County Case No. 09-CF-276. That criminal prosecution is still pending. Plaintiff asks this Court to place a "hold" on these ongoing state criminal proceedings, to begin an investigation of Defendants' unconstitutional actions, ...


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