United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
M. AZRACK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
September 19, 2016, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Anthony
Villafane filed a complaint in this Court against the Suffolk
County District Attorney Thomas J. Spota, III pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a deprivation of his
constitutional rights. Accompanying the complaint is an
application to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court
grants plaintiffs request to proceed in forma
pauperis and sua sponte dismisses the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii),
1915A(b)(1) for the reasons that follow.
seeks to challenge his 2004 criminal conviction, claiming
that he is actually innocent of murder in the first
degree. (Compl. at 4(a), ECF No. 1.) According to
the complaint, “plaintiff is serving a life without
parole sentence” even though “there is DNA
evidence that has never been tested and could prove
plaintiff’s innocence.” (Id.) Plaintiff
seeks to compel the defendant to provide him “access to
that evidence for purposes of forensic DNA testing.”
(Id.) More specifically, plaintiff seeks
“access to the gun recovered from the scene of the
murders and never before tested” because plaintiff
contends the results of DNA testing “might be
exculpatory.” (Id.) Plaintiff has annexed to
his complaint a copy of a June 3, 2015 Decision and Order
from the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate
Division, Second Department wherein the denial of the
plaintiff’s request for DNA testing of certain evidence
by the Supreme Court, Suffolk County was affirmed.
(Id. at 11.) Plaintiff has also annexed a copy of
the August 14, 2015 Order from the New York State Court of
Appeals denying leave to appeal the June 3, 2015 Order.
(Id. at 10.)
relief, plaintiff seeks, among other things, to compel DNA
testing “on the smudged prints found on the gun,”
as well as copies of laboratory reports, phone records,
autopsy photographs of the victim, and the grand jury
testimony of several witnesses. (Id. ¶ III.)
In Forma Pauperis Application
review of plaintiff’s declaration in support of his
application to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court
finds that plaintiff is qualified to commence this action
without prepayment of the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1). Therefore, plaintiff’s application to
proceed in forma pauperis is granted.
Standard for Dismissal
Prison Litigation Reform Act requires a district court to
screen a civil complaint brought by a prisoner against a
governmental entity or its agents and dismiss the complaint,
or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint is
“frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1). Similarly, pursuant to the in forma
pauperis statute, a court must dismiss an action if it
determines that it “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii)
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The
Court must dismiss the action as soon as it makes such a
determination. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
se submissions are afforded wide interpretational
latitude and should be held “to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers . . .
.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)
(per curiam); see also Boddie v. Schnieder,
105 F.3d 857, 860 (2d Cir. 1997). A court is required to read
the plaintiff's pro se complaint liberally and
interpret it as raising the strongest arguments it suggests.
United States v. Akinrosotu, 637 F.3d 165, 167 (2d
Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citation omitted);
Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009).
Supreme Court has held that pro se complaints need
not even plead specific facts; rather the complainant
“need only give the defendant fair notice of what the .
. . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted); cf. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be construed so as to do
justice.”). However, a pro se plaintiff must
still 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). “A claim has
facial plausibility 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(citation omitted). The plausibility standard requires
“more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id. While
“‘detailed factual allegations’” are
not required, “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels
and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.’”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Standard for ...