United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
HARRIS TOLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Special Order 3, this
case was referred to the United States magistrate judge for
case management, including findings and a recommended
disposition. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis but did not issue process
pending judicial screening. Upon review of the relevant
pleadings and applicable law, this case should be summarily
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
October 1, 2018, Plaintiff Billy John Roberson, filed his
pro se Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a pleading titled “Judicial
Review Complaint, ” in which he names as Defendants the
291st Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Jeanette
Hollingsworth in her official capacity as court coordinator,
and Carmen White in her official capacity as administrative
chief of the 291st District Court. Doc. 3 at 2-3, 7. Roberson
subsequently submitted Answers to Magistrate Judge's
Questionnaire, expounding the allegations in his
complaints. Doc. 7.
asserts that on August 11, 2018, he filed a petition to
expunge his criminal record and, on September 28, 2018,
appeared for a required hearing. Doc. 3 at
4, 8. However, the clerk informed him that the hearing would
be postponed because the agencies involved had not yet
responded. Id. Roberson sues under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, complaining that the expunction hearing was not held
within thirty days of filing as required by state law. Doc. 3
at 4-5; Doc. 7 at 1, 4-5. As relief, he seeks an order of
this Court directing the state court to expunge his criminal
convictions and $7.5 million in compensatory damages for lost
time, travel and emotional distress. Doc. 3 at 5;
Doc. 7 at 2.
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, his
complaint is subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). That statute provides for the sua
sponte dismissal of a complaint if the Court finds that
it (1) is frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or (3) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
Id. A complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A
complaint lacks an arguable basis in law when it is
“based on an indisputably meritless legal theory,
” Id. at 327, and fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted if it does not 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).
Court must always liberally construe pleadings filed by pro
se litigants. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007) (noting pro se pleadings “must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers”); Cf. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must
be construed so as to do justice.”). However, even when
liberally construed, Roberson's complaint fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted.
trial courts do not have the power to issue writs of mandamus
against state officers in the performance of their duties
where mandamus is the only relief sought. See Moye v.
Clerk, DeKalb County Sup. Court, 474 F.2d 1275, 1275-76
(5th Cir. 1973) (per curiam). Roberson's request that
this Court direct the state court to expunge his prior
criminal convictions can only be construed as seeking
mandamus relief against the judge, court coordinator and
administrator of the 291st Judicial District Court. Thus,
Roberson's request for mandamus relief lacks merit and
should be dismissed as frivolous and for failure to state a
claim. See Santee v. Quinlan, 115 F.3d 355, 357 (5th
Cir. 1997) (affirming dismissal of petition for writ of
mandamus as frivolous because federal courts lack the power
to mandamus state officials in the performance of their
duties); Peters v. Tex. Court of Criminal
Appeals, 547 Fed.Appx. 557, 558 (5th Cir. 2013) (per
curiam) (affirming dismissal of mandamus petition against the
Court of Criminal Appeals for failure to state a claim).
a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 must allege: (1) that the
plaintiff was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution
or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation
was caused by one acting under the color of state or federal
law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Roberson's bare allegations, even when liberally
construed, fail to allege facts that rise to the level of a
constitutional claim. See Manuel v. City of Joliet,
U.S., 137 S.Ct. 911, 920 (2017) (“the threshold inquiry
in a § 1983 suit . . . requires courts to
‘identify the specific constitutional right' at
issue” (quoting Albright v. Oliver,
510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994))). Indeed, he only alleges that
Defendants failed to comply with a state statute and raises
no federal claim whatsoever. Thus, Roberson has also failed
to state a claim under Section 1983.
LEAVE TO AMEND
a pro se plaintiff should be grated leave to amend his
complaint prior to dismissal. Brewster v. Dretke,
587 F.3d 764, 767-68 (5th Cir. 2009). However, granting the
opportunity to amend is not required if the plaintiff has
already pleaded his “best case.” Id. For
the reasons previously stated, Roberson's claims are
wholly without merit. Further, Roberson had the opportunity
to supplement his complaint in his Answers to the Magistrate
Judge's Questionnaire. Thus, the Court concludes that he
has already pled his best case and granting leave to amend
would serve no purpose but to cause needless delay.
foregoing reasons, it is recommended that the complaint be
summarily DISMISSED with prejudice as
frivolous and for failure to state a claim upon which ...