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Sneed v. Ibarra

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, El Paso Division

March 29, 2017

RAY CHARLES SNEED, Plaintiff,
v.
JESSICA IBARRA, KAILA CLAY, WARREN CRANDALL, ERIKA FACIO, and CARLOS FIERRO, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          ANNE T. BERTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On this day, the Court considered the status of the above-styled and numbered cause. On March 9, 2017, Plaintiff Ray Charles Sneed, proceeding pro se, filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis along with a financial affidavit and a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF. No. 1). On March 13, 2017, this Court granted Plaintiff's application, and his Complaint was thereafter filed. (ECF. Nos. 2, 3). In the Order, the Court noted that “[p]rior to ordering service of process on Defendants, the Court [would] engage in judicial screening of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.” (ECF. No. 2). The Court has now screened Plaintiff's Complaint and submits this Report and Recommendation.

         After due consideration, the Court RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) for being frivolous and for failure to state a claim.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 27, 1988, Plaintiff was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child following a jury trial. State of Texas v. Ray Charles Sneed, 00803-D (Taylor County, 1987).

         Plaintiff was sentenced to ninety-nine years of incarceration and was eligible for parole on November 21, 2013. Id. At some point thereafter, Plaintiff was paroled and subsequently had his parole revoked.

         Although Plaintiff does not identify dates, Plaintiff alleges that his parole officer, Jessica Ibarra, denied him his mandatory ten hour per week law library access and access to the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) for medical care and housing benefits. (ECF. No. 3, Plaintiff's Complaint “Compl.” 6-7). Plaintiff also alleges that Client Monitor Supervisor Kalia Clay and Operation Supervisor Warren Crandall at Avalon Correctional Services, Inc., fabricated allegations and government documents which resulted in the revocation of his parole and discriminated against him due to his race. (Compl. 8).

         Plaintiff further alleges that Parole Officer Erika Facio denied him access to the courts, denied him access to the VA for housing benefits, fabricated charges against him, and discriminated against him due to his race. (Id.). Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that Carlos Fierro, a Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Commissioner, denied him access to the courts, denied him due process during his parole revocation hearing by knowingly relying on fabricated allegations, and discriminated against him due to his race. (Id.). Lastly, Plaintiff appears to assert a defamation claim, a due process claim for “[implementing] more and [stricter] sex offender conditions without due process, ” and a retaliation claim against all Defendants.[1] (Compl. 3, 9). Plaintiff seeks nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. (Compl. 3).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         28 U.S.C. § 1915 instructs that a court “shall” dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint at any time, if it determines that the complaint is frivolous or it fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Further, the court may sua sponte dismiss on these grounds, even without serving the defendants. See Wilson v. Barrientos, 926 F.2d 480, 482 (5th Cir. 1991); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989). The § 1915(e)(2)(B) standard for dismissing a frivolous complaint applies to both prisoner and non-prisoner complaints. Newsome v. EEOC, 301 F.3d 227, 231-33 (5th Cir. 2002) (per curiam) (affirming dismissal based on § 1915(e)(2)(B) in a non-prisoner case).

         “[A] complaint . . . is frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325. “A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges the violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.” Berry v. Brady, 192 F.3d 504, 507 (5th Cir. 1999) (quoting Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716, 718 (5th Cir. 1999)). A claim is factually frivolous if the facts are “clearly baseless, a category encompassing allegations that are ‘fanciful, ' ‘fantastic, ' and ‘delusional.'” Hicks v. Garner, 69 F.3d 22, 25 (5th Cir. 1995) (quoting Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33-34 (1992)).

         To determine whether a complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, courts engage in the same analysis as when ruling on a motion for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Hale v. King, 642 F.3d 492, 497-99 (5th Cir. 2011) (per curiam). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). “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.” Id. (citation omitted). To meet this pleading standard, the complaint must state more than “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (citation omitted). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted).

         Furthermore, pro se pleadings are reviewed under a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, and such pleadings are entitled to a liberal construction that includes all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam). However, even a pro se complaint may not merely set forth conclusory allegations. The pro se litigant must still set forth facts giving rise to a claim on which relief may be granted. Johnson v. Atkins, 999 F.2d 99, 100 (5th Cir. 1993) (per curiam) (citation omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         As Plaintiff asserts numerous distinct claims, the Court will address each in turn.

         a. Fabricating Allegations, Evidence, ...


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