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Lane v. Papadimitrious

June 18, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Andrew T. Baxter, United States Magistrate Judge


The Clerk has sent the above complaint to me for my review. On June 2, 2010, pro se plaintiff, Rondula Lane, filed this civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, together with an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 2).

I. Complaint

Plaintiff brings this action against Claire Papadimitrious, "Complainant;" Kevin Beach, Chief of Rome Police Department; Jeffrey A. Race, Detective; James P. Boyer, Detective; Albert J. Ciccone, Patrolman; Patrick J. Marthage, Esq., First Assistant Public Defender; Barry M. Donalty, Acting Supreme Court Justice; and Laurie Lisi, Esq., Assistant District Attorney. (Compl. ¶ 3, pp. 3--4).*fn1 Plaintiff alleges three "causes of action" in his complaint: (1) "making false statements, false reports, and committing perjury numerous times," (2) "unlawful imprisonment, tampering with evidence, and racial discrimination," and (3) "slander and libel." (Compl. ¶ 7). Plaintiff requests a federal investigation of "this matter;" that all defendants be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that they be required to pay actual damages and punitive damages for ruining the plaintiff's life. (Compl. ¶ 9).

Plaintiff alleges that on January 1, 2010, Ms. Papadimitrious "made a false report and a false written statement to 'her nephew,' the chief of the Rome Police Department[,] [defendant] Kevin Beach... [and later] committed perjury when she testified in front of the grand jury, where she began to change her story around to get [plaintiff] indicted." (Compl. ¶ 6). Plaintiff claims that after Ms. Papadimitrious made her statement to the police, defendant Ciccone approached plaintiff, while plaintiff was standing outside the Rescue Mission and asked for plaintiff's identification, explaining that plaintiff "fit the description of someone we are investigating." Id.

Defendant Race arrived at the Rescue Mission to ask plaintiff a few questions, and after talking to plaintiff's girlfriend and taking some pictures of plaintiff, defendant Race asked plaintiff to go with him to the precinct "voluntarily to provide them with a sample of [plaintiff's] DNA." Plaintiff claims that he "reluctantly" agreed to go. (Compl. p. 8). Plaintiff then describes what happened when he arrived at the police station, and after he had given the DNA sample. Plaintiff complains that although he was not in handcuffs, had not been read his Miranda rights, and was not advised that he was under arrest, he was told that he was not allowed to leave. Id.

Plaintiff claims that he only agreed to an interview because he believed that he was required to do so because he was not allowed to leave. Id. Plaintiff claims that the interview was "secretly recorded," and that he was placed under arrest after the interview. Id.

Plaintiff claims that Defendant Ciccone "made false statements saying that he questioned me; when he did not" and "committed perjury saying he approached [plaintiff] because [he] fit the description of a black male wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and tan pants" when plaintiff was wearing "a white hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans." Id. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Race "made false statements, and committed perjury as well." Id. It is not clear from the complaint when plaintiff alleges that any of the above testimony occurred. Plaintiff only states that the witnesses "keep changing their stories every time they testify." Id.

Plaintiff concludes that "because I am an African-American; everyone just assumes I am guilty [and d]eny[s] me my rights like it is okay." (Compl. p. 9). Plaintiff claims that another officer*fn2 "tampered with the evidence from the hospital, to make [plaintiff] appear guilty," and the "judge[,] Hon. Barry M. Donalty, and the Assistant D.A.[,] Laurie Lisi, Esq. [a]ll prejudged the matter due to [plaintiff's] race." Id. Plaintiff concludes that these acts are in "violation of [his] right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty [a]nd impartiality on the judge[']s part," and are the reason plaintiff has "two D.A.'s in [his] upcoming trial." Id.

Finally, plaintiff alleges that the police informed the media; (newspapers and the news) so that plaintiff would "look bad," and it is therefore, "virtually impossible" to get an impartial jury "because of this case's exposure to the press in Oneida County." Id. Plaintiff never explains the underlying facts nor the charges he faces. For the reasons stated below, this court recommends plaintiff's complaint be dismissed in its entirety.

II. In Forma Pauperis ("IFP") Review

Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed IFP. (Dkt. No. 2). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the court may authorize the commencement, prosecution, or defense of any suit, action or proceeding without the pre-payment of fees. The individual seeking permission to proceed IFP must file an affidavit which includes a statement of all assets, showing that the individual is unable to pay the fees or give security therefor. Id. The same section, however, states that this determination is "subject to subsection (b)." Id. Subsection (b) provides that notwithstanding any filing fee or portion of the fee that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, or the action is (i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)--(iii).

Dismissal of frivolous actions is appropriate to prevent abuses of court process as well as to discourage the waste of judicial resources. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989); Harkins v. Eldridge, 505 F.2d 802, 804 (8th Cir. 1974). To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is "plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555). In determining whether an action is frivolous, the court must ...

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