United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
WILLIAM E. PHINNEY, TDCJ #02102386, Plaintiff,
LT. A. ESPINOZA, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
LAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, William E. Phinney (TDCJ #02102386), has filed a
Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 ("Complaint") (Docket Entry No. 1). Because
plaintiff is incarcerated, the court is required to
scrutinize the claims and dismiss the Complaint, in whole or
in part, if it determines that the Complaint "is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted" or "seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). After considering all of the
pleadings, the court concludes that this case must be
dismissed for the reasons explained below.
Phinney filed the Complaint in this case he was in the
custody of the Harris County Jail, having been arrested on
theft charges by officers with the Pasadena Police
Department. Subsequently, Phinney was convicted of
those charges and is currently incarcerated by the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice.
has filed this civil action against Lieutenant A. Espinoza of
the Pasadena Police Department Internal Affairs
Division. Phinney contends that he and his daughter
were mistreated during the course of his arrest for
theft. Phinney contacted Espinoza to report
"illegal conduct" by the arresting officers, but
Espinoza failed to prepare a police report regarding the
incident. Phinney contends, therefore, that Espinoza
has violated his civil rights. Phinney seeks a criminal
investigation of the officers who arrested him.
filed a separate lawsuit against the officers who arrested
That case was dismissed on October 24, 2016, after the
district court determined that Phinney failed to articulate a
viable claim for relief.
extent that Phinney now faults Espinoza for failing to
initiate criminal charges against those officers, there is no
constitutional right to have someone criminally prosecuted.
See Oliver v. Collins, 914 F.2d 56, 60 (5th Cir.
1990). Nor is there a constitutional right to have someone
investigated. Moreover, the decision to charge an individual
with criminal violations is not vested within the courts, but
is solely within the discretion of the district attorney.
See Linda R.S. v. Richard P., 93 S.Ct. 1146, 1149
(1973) ("[A] private citizen lacks a judicially
cognizable interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of
another."); Sattler v. Johnson, 857 F.2d 224,
227 (4th Cir. 1988) (observing that there is "no such
constitutional right" to have another criminally
prosecuted). Private citizens are thus not entitled to an
order requiring the arrest or prosecution of wrongdoers.
Del Marcelle v. Brown County Corp., 680 F.3d 887,
901-02 (7th Cir. 2012) (Easterbrook, C.J., concurring)
the Complaint lacks an arguable basis in law, this case will
be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) as legally
Conclusion and Order
on the foregoing, the court ORDERS that the Complaint filed
by William E. Phinney (Docket Entry No. 1) is DISMISSED with
prejudice as frivolous.
Clerk is directed to provide a copy of this Memorandum
Opinion and Order to the plaintiff. The Clerk will also
provide a copy by regular mail, facsimile transmission, or
e-mail to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office
of the General Counsel, P.O. Box 13084, Austin, Texas 78711,
Fax Number (512) 936-2159.