United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), the Court is
required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal
law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read
Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently,
see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and
accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are
clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these
standards, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Bensley
and Washington will be dismissed for failure to state a
claim. Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Matteucci
will be dismissed because they are barred by the doctrine of
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Plaintiff's requests for preliminary injunctive relief
relating to the Grand Traverse County jail, for release on
bond, and for the appointment of counsel are denied.
Arthur Joseph Rouse is incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Cooper Street
Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. Plaintiff is
serving a sentence of 5 to 7½ years following his
conditional plea of guilty, in Grand Traverse County Circuit
Court, to a charge of maintaining a house for purposes of
prostitution in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.452.
Plaintiff was sentenced as a prior felony offender, Mich.
Comp. Laws § 769.10. Plaintiff's status as a prior
felony offender served to enhance his sentence under the
Michigan Sentencing Guidelines; nonetheless, the trial court
still departed upward when it imposed Plaintiff's minimum
5 year sentence.
“house of prostitution” was his auto-repair
[Plaintiff] invited persons to stay at his autorepair
business which served as [his] residence and business. He
allowed several young men to reside at his business/residence
and to pay their rent and other expenses in exchange for
sexual favors [for Plaintiff]. Two women also came to the
residence on isolated incidents and were paid for sex by
[Plaintiff]. It is undisputed that none of the individuals
were prostitutes prior to them coming to the
business/residence, and that they did not initially come to
the business for the purposes of prostitution; further, it is
undisputed that none of the individuals traded sex for money
with anyone other than [Plaintiff], and that none of the
individual engaged in prostitution outside of servicing
[Plaintiff]-nor did they continue with prostitution after
(Def./Appellant's Delayed Appl. For Leave to Appeal, ECF
Nos. 1-1, 1-2, PageID.161.)
May and November 2015, the prosecutor struggled to find the
right crime(s) with which to charge Plaintiff. An
understanding of the progression of charges filed against
Plaintiff is helpful to an understanding of his claims.
Plaintiff was initially charged with three counts of
misdemeanor soliciting and accosting for purposes of
prostitution. (Compl. Misdemeanor, ECF No. 1, PageID.38,
39.) The charges related to three males who had provided
sexual favors to Plaintiff in exchange for rent, expenses, or
cash. (Id.) The prosecutor dismissed those charges
in favor of two felony counts of pandering. (Compl. Felony,
ECF No. 1, PageID.42, 43.) Prior to October of 2014, however,
that statute was limited to inducing a female to
become a prostitute and the persons with respect to whom
Plaintiff had been charged were male. Apparently, because the
enticement or procuring may have predated the October 2014
amendment, the prosecution could have been barred by the Ex
Post Facto Clause. Accordingly, they were dismissed.
prosecutor then attempted to proceed on a charge of gross
indecency between two men based on the same conduct, but
established Supreme Court precedent precluded that approach.
Instead, the prosecutor identified two females who had
provided sexual favors to Plaintiff in exchange for benefits,
and charged Plaintiff with pandering with respect to those
women. The case was bound over to circuit court on those
charges. The prosecutor then added a charge for maintaining a
house of prostitution. (Am. Felony Information, ECF No. 1,
PageID.79, 80.) The case went back to the district court for
a preliminary examination. The district court bound him over
to the circuit court on the new charge. Plaintiff entered a
plea of guilty on the charge of maintaining a house of
prostitution conditioned on his ability to challenge the
bindover on appeal. Any remaining charges were dismissed.
concedes that his conduct with respect to the individuals at
his shop falls within the prohibition of misdemeanor
soliciting and accosting. He argues, however, that his
conduct does not fall within the felonies of pandering or
maintaining a house of prostitution because those crimes
require a third person. According to Plaintiff, pandering is
something a pimp or madam might do, not something a
prostitute's customer might do. Similarly, Plaintiff
argues that one does not maintain a house of prostitution
when one simply pays for prostitutes in one's own house.
At least with respect to maintaining a house of prostitution,
the state courts did not agree. The Michigan Court of Appeals
denied leave because Plaintiff's position lacked merit.
People v. Rouse, No. 333701 (Mich. Ct. App. Aug. 24,
2016). The Michigan Supreme Court also denied leave to
appeal. People v. Rouse, __ N.W.2d __, 2016 WL
6436581 (Mich. 2016).
is suing Detective Michael Matteucci and Sheriff Tom Bensley
of the Grand Traverse County Sheriff's Department and
MDOC Director Heidi Washington. Each Defendant is sued in his or
her personal and official capacity. Plaintiff is suing
Defendant Bensley because the Grand Traverse County
is overcrowded, does not have a departmental grievance
procedure, does not have a law library, denies adequate
medical and dental care, denies access to telephones, and
denies access to personal hygiene items. Plaintiff also sues
Defendant Bensley for failing to adequately train and
supervise Defendant Matteucci “under the doctrine of
supervisory liability.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.18.)
sues Defendant Matteucci his role in the investigation and
prosecution of Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Matteucci signed “a search warrant affidavit to search
the Plaintiff's automotive shop without probable cause
that evidence of a crime would be seized.”
(Id., PageID.6.) Defendant Matteucci “signed
every one of the unconstitutional charges . . . .”
(Id., PageID.7.) Plaintiff contends the charges of
pandering violated the Ex Post Facto Clause; the charges of
gross indecency violated Supreme Court precedent, and the
charge for maintaining a house of prostitution was
nonsensical because it was Plaintiff's house and
Plaintiff was the only customer. (Id., PageID.13.)
Defendant Matteucci filed a false complaint against Plaintiff
alleging that Plaintiff committed criminal sexual conduct
with McClure. (Id.) Defendant Matteucci entrapped
Plaintiff; conspired to manipulate the jury pool by delaying
McClure's arrest; lied in the police report; and
conspired to revoke and forfeit Plaintiff's
with the use of false information.
to Plaintiff, Defendant Matteucci also withheld exculpatory
evidence, obstructed justice by conspiring with witnesses,
conspired to effect the forfeiture of Plaintiff's $10,
000 bond with perjured testimony, and conspired with
witnesses McClure and Thompson (two of Plaintiff's tenant
prostitutes) to bring false charges. (Id.) Defendant
Matteucci recorded Plaintiff secretly without Plaintiff's
permission and tried to use the recording against Plaintiff.
(Id., PageID.10.) Defendant Matteucci confiscated
items that were not on the search warrant and never returned
them. (Id., PageID.11.) Defendant Matteucci
attempted to influence witnesses. (Id., PageID.12.)
Defendant Matteucci told witnesses that they did not have to
speak to Plaintiff's attorneys or private investigator.
names MDOC Director Heidi Washington as a Defendant, but
makes no specific allegations against her. With respect to
the MDOC generally, however, Plaintiff alleges that he was
blocked from using the prison law library at times, or at
least denied “extra time.” (Id.,
PageID.18.) He was also denied the ability to make copies and
sufficient time to conduct research. (Id.) Plaintiff
alleges that the mailroom rejected a legal book sent to him
by an MDOC approved vendor. (Id.) Plaintiff also
contends he was retaliated against after he requested extra
time in the library. The retaliation took many forms,
including misconduct reports, periodic shakedowns, loss of
callouts to the law library, and verbal confrontations.
makes additional allegations with regard to his counsel,
other county officials, and state appellate court personnel,
but does not sue them as Defendants. He purports to bring his
claims on behalf of the entire class of persons who have been
harmed by conditions at the Grand Traverse County Jail. He
specifically mentions wrongs committed against other persons
who resided in Plaintiff's shop.
seeks different types of relief. He seeks immediate and
permanent injunctive relief to stop unconstitutional
conditions of confinement in the Grand Traverse County Jail.
Plaintiff contends that because of the wrongs committed by
Defendant Matteucci, Plaintiff is being illegally detained.
(Id., PageID.15.) He seeks millions of dollars in
compensatory and punitive damages for his improper detention.
He also requests release on bond pending this Court's
review of his case and the return of the bond money that was
Request for class certification
purports to act on behalf of others with respect to the
conditions at the Grand Traverse County jail. He titles his
complaint as a “Class Action Complaint” and he
complains of particular practices (for example, mattress
sharing) that it appears others have suffered while he has
not. The Court construes Plaintiff's allegations as a
request for class certification.
case to proceed as a class action, the court must be
satisfied on a number of grounds, including the adequacy of
class representation. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(4).
It is well established that pro se litigants are
inappropriate representatives of the interests of others.
See Garrison v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 333 F.
App'x 914, 919 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Oxendine v.
Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975)); see
also Dodson v. Wilkinson, 304 F. App'x 434, 438 (6th
Cir. 2008); Ziegler v. Michigan, 59 F. App'x
622, 624 (6th Cir. 2003); Palasty v. Hawk, 15 F.
App'x 197, 200 (6th Cir. 2001); Howard v.
Dougan, No. 99-2232, 2000 WL 876770, at *1 (6th Cir.
June 23, 2000). Because Plaintiff is an incarcerated pro
se litigant, the Court finds that he is not an
appropriate representative of a class. Therefore, the Court
will deny Plaintiffs' request for class certification.
extent Plaintiff seeks to represent the interests of other
prisoners in some other way, he is not permitted to do so.
Plaintiff lacks standing to assert the constitutional rights
of others. Newsom v Norris, 888 F.2d 371, 381 (6th
Cir. 1989); Raines v. Goedde, No. 92-3120, 1992 WL
188120, at *2 (6th Cir. Aug. 6, 1992); see also Warth v.
Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975) (a plaintiff must
“assert his own legal rights and interests, and cannot
rest his claim to relief on the legal rights or interests of
as a layman, Plaintiff may only represent himself with
respect to his individual claims, and may not act on behalf
of other prisoners (or his sister). See O'Malley v.
Brierley, 477 F.2d 785 (3d Cir. 1973); Lutz v.
LaVelle, 809 F.Supp. 323, 325 (M.D. Pa. 1991); Snead
v. Kirkland, 462 F.Supp. 914, 918 (E.D. Pa. 1978). A
party in federal court must proceed either through a licensed
attorney or on his or her own behalf. 28 U.S.C. § 1654;
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(a) (“Every
pleading, written motion, and other paper shall be signed by
at least one attorney of record in the attorney's
individual name, or, if the party is not represented by an
attorney, shall be signed by the party”). No pro se
plaintiff may sign pleadings on behalf of another plaintiff.
Johns v. Cnty. of San Diego, 114 F.3d 874, 876 (9th
Cir. 1997) (“While a non-attorney may appear pro se on
his own behalf, ‘[h]e has no authority to appear as an
attorney for others than himself.'”).
these reasons, any claims Plaintiff purports to bring for
violations of the rights of any person other than himself are
Request for preliminary injunctive relief
asks the Court to grant a preliminary injunction against the
Grand Traverse County jail ordering them to stop
“double matting” and to immediately provide
access to online legal research. The issuance of preliminary
injunctive relief is committed to the discretion of the
district court. See Ne. Ohio Coal. v. Blackwell, 467
F.3d 999, 1009 (6th Cir. 2006); Nader v. Blackwell,
230 F.3d 833, 834 (6th Cir. 2000). In exercising that
discretion, a court must consider whether plaintiff has
established the following elements: (1) a strong or
substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) the
likelihood of irreparable injury if the preliminary
injunction does not issue; (3) the absence of harm to other
parties; and (4) the protection of the public interest by
issuance of the injunction. Id. These factors are
not prerequisites to the grant or denial of injunctive
relief, but factors that must be “carefully
balanced” by the district court in exercising its
equitable powers. Frisch's Rest., Inc. v.
Shoney's, Inc., 759 F.2d 1261, 1263 (6th Cir. 1985);
see also Ne. Ohio Coal, 467 F.3d at 1009. Moreover,
where a prison inmate seeks an order enjoining state prison
officials, the court is required to proceed with the utmost
care and must recognize the unique nature of the prison
setting. See Glover v. Johnson, 855 F.2d 277, 284
(6th Cir. 1988); Kendrick v. Bland, 740 F.2d 432 at
438 n.3, (6th Cir. 1984). The ...