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Moore. v. Phillips

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 26, 2018

ANTHONY T. MOORE, JR., Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Anthony T. Moore, Jr., an inmate at St. Clair County Jail, brings this action for various deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and violations of Illinois state law. Plaintiff requests injunctive relief and damages.

         Plaintiff originally filed this action on October 23, 2017. (Doc. 1). On November 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 8), which is his right under Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). The Amended Complaint supersedes and replaces the original Complaint, Flannery v. Recording Industry Ass'n of America, 354 F.3d 632, 640 (7th Cir. 2004).

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Amended 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.

         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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the 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 Amended Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary dismissal.

         The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Amended Complaint. On July 24, 2013, a jury found Plaintiff guilty of 2 Counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and 1 Count of attempted first degree murder in the December 20, 2012 shooting of 15-year-old “J.B.”, in case no. 12-cf-0182604 of St. Clair County, Illinois. (Doc. 8, p. 6). Plaintiff was sentenced to 34 years' imprisonment. Id. At trial, J.B. testified that Plaintiff threw her in a ditch and fired 3 shots at her, 2 of which struck her back and the base of her skull. Id. J.B. testified that Plaintiff shot her because he believed she was “snitching” about a UPS truck robbery. Id.

         Plaintiff was also indicted in 2013 in this District Court on 1 Count of a Hobbs Act Robbery, based on the robbery of a UPS truck. Id. United States v. Moore, 13-cr-30212-DRH (S.D. Ill. 2013). A jury found him guilty in 2014. Id. During the federal trial, J.B. testified that she believed Plaintiff robbed the UPS truck, and that he subsequently shot her and left her for dead. (Case 13-30212, Doc. 84, p. 84). Plaintiff's attempt to eliminate a witness adverse to him was taken into account in determining the length of his sentence and the decision to run it consecutively to his state law sentence; the Seventh Circuit later upheld the sentence and its enhancement on those grounds. U.S. v. Moore, 784 F.3d 398, 405-06 (7th Cir. 2015).

         Defendant Landmann testified at the state trial that he interviewed J.B. several hours after the incident. (Doc. 8, p. 7). Defendant Plew also testified regarding subsequent interviews he conducted with J.B. Id.

         Plaintiff appealed his state conviction, and the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the judgment on July 26, 2016 and remanded the case for a new trial on the basis of an improper jury instruction. Id. People v. Moore, No. 5-13-0466, 2016 WL 4041841 ( Ill. App. 5th Dis. July 26, 2016). It appears that Plaintiff's state court proceedings are currently set for re-trial in 2018.

         Plaintiff claims that he did not shoot J.B. and that he was at a girlfriend's house from 9:00 pm on December 19, 2012 until 9:00 am December 20, 2012. (Doc. 8, p. 7). He was then arrested at his Aunt Vicky's house at 10:00 am on December 20, 2012. Id. Twelve officers converged on the scene, and shot Plaintiff with a Taser. Id. The officers then proceeded to stomp on Plaintiff and call ...

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