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Rector v. Searby

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 30, 2019

STANLEY E. RECTOR, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID H. SEARBY, JR., and JAYSON CLARK, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Stanley Rector, Jr. brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983[1] seeking dismissal of criminal charges pending in state court and monetary damages. The Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which requires the Court to screen prisoner complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for relief, or requests money damages from an immune defendant must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         Complaint

         Plaintiff sets forth the facts and his claims in the Complaint as follows: David H. Searby, Jr., the Perry County State Attorney, presented a deal to his Perry County Public Defender regarding charges in Jackson County. (Doc. 1, pp. 1, 6). Searby did not consult with Plaintiff or his Jackson County Public Defender, Margerett Degen. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Degen did not know Plaintiff was detained in the Perry County jail and believed he was a fugitive. Id. Plaintiff missed a court date in Jackson County. Id. Degen appeared but was not informed Plaintiff was in custody. Id. There was no information release form signed allowing these actions to take place. Id.

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court designates the following counts:

Count 1: Defendant Searby offered a deal to Plaintiff's Perry County Public Defender on Plaintiff's Jackson County charges without informing Plaintiff or Plaintiff's Jackson County Public Defender.
Count 2: Defendants failed to inform Plaintiff's Jackson County Public Defender that he was in the Perry County jail and he missed a court date in Jackson County.

         The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. Any claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order is considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under Twombly.[2]

         Discussion

         “Prosecutors are absolutely immune from liability for damages under § 1983 for conduct that is functionally prosecutorial; this immunity is understood to broadly cover all conduct associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process.” Bianchi v. McQueen, 818 F.3d 309, 316 (7th Cir. 2016) (citing Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555 U.S. 335, 341-43, 129 S.Ct. 855, 172 L.Ed.2d 706 (2009); Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 486, 111 S.Ct. 1934, 114 L.Ed.2d 547 (1991); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31, 96 S.Ct. 984, 47 L.Ed.2d 128 (1976)). Whether an individual “is protected by absolute prosecutorial immunity depends on the type of work he performed and the factual premises of the plaintiffs' claims” because a “prosecutor only enjoys absolute immunity insofar as he is ‘act[ing] within the scope of his prosecutorial duties.'” Id. at 318 (quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 420, 96 S.Ct. 984, 47 L.Ed.2d 128 (1976)). Here, the Complaint relates to conduct during the judicial phase of the criminal process and the State's Attorneys would be entitled to absolute immunity. Accordingly, Searby and Clark will be dismissed. Although the current claim does not indicate any exception to prosecutorial immunity, out of an abundance of caution, the dismissal will be without prejudice.

         Further, the facts, as Plaintiff has alleged them, do not rise to the level of a colorable constitutional claim cognizable via a Section 1983 action. As a result, the Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.[3] The dismissal is without prejudice, and Plaintiff is granted leave to amend.

         Disposition

         IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this matter does not survive preliminary review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and the Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants DAVID H. SEARBY, JR. and JAYSON CLARK are DISMISSED without prejudice from the action. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to TERMINATE Defendants in the ...


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