United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
VANESSA D. GILMORE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Allen Graves, an inmate of the Hairis County Jail, sued in
April 2019, alleging civil rights violations resulting from a
denial of due process. Graves, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, sues the Harris County Jail ("HCJ") and
the Harris County District Attorney's Office.
threshold issue is whether Graves's claims should be
dismissed as frivolous.
asserts that on October 11, 2017, Assistant District Attorney
Catherine Johnson dismissed assault charges pending against
him in Cause Number 156722201010. Graves asserts that he was
never taken before a magistrate within forty-eight hours of
his arrest in Cause Number 156722201010.
states that on March 19, 2019, he was charged with assault on
a peace officer in Cause Number 162510701010. Graves states
that his trial in Cause Number 162510701010 is scheduled for
June 24, 2019. Graves asserts that the HCJ does not have his
fingerprints or signature on file. Graves seeks punitive
damages of $1, 500, 000.00.
research reveals that in addition to the charges mentioned by
Graves, he is charged with three additional offenses:
(1) violation of a protective order in Cause N umber 217263
(2) criminal mischief greater that $100.00 and less than
$750.00 in Cause Number 217197501010;and
(3) assault of a family member in Cause Number 217197401010.
Graves's next court date for all three of these offenses
is June 26, 2019.
Standard of Review
federal court has the authority to dismiss an action in which
the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis before service
if the court determines that the action is frivolous or
malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). A complaint is
frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.
See Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992);
Richardson v. Spurlock, 260 F.3d 495, 498 (5th Cir.
2001) (citing Siglar v. Hightower, 112 F.3d
19'., 193 (5th Cir. 1997)). "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." Davis v. Scott, 157 F.3d 1003, 1005
(5th Cir. 1998) (quoting McCormick v. Stalier, 105
F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir. 1997)).
The Claim Based on Prosecutorial Misconduct
seeks damages against the Harris County Attorney's Office
for conduct in the prosecution of the criminal case. Absolute
immunity precludes his claim. Prosecutors have absolute
immunity from such damages claims. Beck v. Tex. State Bd.
of Dental Exam 'rs,204 F.3d 629, 637 (5th Cir.
2000)(citing Burns v. Reed,500 U.S. 478, 491
(1991)). Prosecutorial immunity applies to a prosecutor's
actions in initiating a prosecution and in handling the case
through the judicial process. Id. Prosecutorial
immunity extends to activities "intimately associated
with the judicial phase of the criminal process."
Kerr v. Lyford,171 F.3d 330, 336 (5th Cir.
1999)(quoting Imbler v. Pachtman,424 U.S. 409, 430
(1976)). Graves complains that the Harris County District
Attorneys' Office failed to take him before a magistrate
within forty-eight hours of his arrest. The actions Graves
complains of are related to the judicial process and were
undertaken in furtherance of the attorneys' advocacy