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Casillas v. Salazar

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division

May 14, 2019

ROBERT M. CASILLAS, SID # 764027, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF JAVIER SALAZAR, ET AL., Defendants.

          SHOW CAUSE ORDER

          ELIZABETH S. ("BETSY") CHESTNEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is the Civil Rights Complaint [#1] filed by the plaintiff, Robert M. Casillas (“Plaintiff”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is ordered to file an amended complaint clarifying his allegations and, to the extent possible, curing the Complaint's legal deficiencies, which are described below.

         I. Legal Standard

         According to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), this Court is required to screen any civil complaint in which a prisoner seeks relief against a government entity, officer, or employee and dismiss the complaint if the court determines it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. See also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (directing court to dismiss case filed in forma pauperis at any time if it is determined that the action is (i) frivolous or malicious or (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted).

         An action is frivolous where there is no arguable legal or factual basis for the claim. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist.” Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716, 718 (5th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation and citation omitted). A complaint is factually frivolous when “the facts alleged are ‘fantastic or delusional scenarios' or the legal theory upon which a complaint relies is ‘indisputably meritless.'” Eason v. Thaler, 14 F.3d 8, n.5 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28).

         In evaluating whether a complaint states a claim under § 1915A(b)(1) and § 1915(e)(2)(B), this Court applies the same standards governing dismissals pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). See DeMoss v. Crain, 636 F.3d 145, 152 (5th Cir. 2011). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), “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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56, 570 (2007)). These factual allegations need not be detailed but “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A conclusory complaint-one that fails to state material facts or merely recites the elements of a cause of action-may be dismissed for failure to state a claim. See Id. at 555-56.

         II. Deficiencies in Plaintiff's Complaint

         In his § 1983 Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he is held in BCADC “against [his] free will . . . without being duly convicted of a crime, ” subject to excessive bond, and without due process, resulting in “slave[ry]” and “involuntary servitude” in violation of his Fifth, Sixth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Plaintiff purports to sue Sheriff Javier Salazar, BCADC, and the State of Texas seeking damages and his immediate release. Plaintiff attaches to his Complaint a list of thirty detainees who he alleges wish to join in this lawsuit.

         The public record shows Plaintiff is in the custody of the BCADC, and was indicted August 10, 2017 for possession with intent to deliver controlled substances in Nos. 2017CR8849 and 2017CR8850 in the Texas 399th Judicial District Court. In that case, Plaintiff is represented by Karl Anthony Basile.

         As is explained above, an IFP plaintiff's complaint is considered frivolous and is subject to dismissal if it fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. In this case, Plaintiff's claims currently have the following deficiencies:

         a. Plaintiff's claims regarding involuntary servitude are vague and conclusory.

         Plaintiff's allegations fail to allege any facts (who, what, where, when) that would support his claim he is being unlawfully held or prosecuted, or subject to “slavery” or “involuntary servitude, ” or subject to excessive bond. A recitation of legal conclusions is not sufficient to state a claim. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         b. Plaintiff fails to allege facts that would support a claim for illegal arrest or false imprisonment.

         “[G]enerally ‘a grand jury indictment . . . itself establishes probable cause'” for arrest and prosecution. Basarge v. Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, 796 F.3d 435, 442 (5th Cir. 2015). The public record shows Plaintiff was indicted in Nos. 2017CR8849 and 2017CR8850, and his indictment establishes there was probable cause for his arrest and prosecution, and thus there is no basis for a wrongful prosecution claim. See Smith v. Gonzalez, 670 F.2d 522, 525-27 (5th Cir.) (plaintiff's indictment was inconsistent with and precluded plaintiff's false arrest claim warranting dismissal), ...


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