United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a federal civil detainee
under 28 U.S.C. § 1361. Under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996)
(PLRA), 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. §§ 1915(e)(2), 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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
against Defendant as frivolous.
Gary Debenedetto is incarcerated at the Rochester Medical
Center in Rochester, Minnesota. Plaintiff was arrested in the
Eastern District of Michigan on a federal arrest warrant
issued in the Northern District of Illinois, which was based
on an indictment on five counts of violating Interstate
Communications - Threats, 18 U.S.C. § 875(c). See
United States v. Gary Debenedetto, No. 2:12-cv-mj-30240
(E.D. Mich.) (ECF No. 1, PageID.1-8.) The government moved to
transfer Plaintiff to the Northern District of Illinois,
which the court granted on April 26, 2012. (No.
in the Northern District of Illinois, criminal proceedings
were initiated. See United States v. Debenedetto,
No. 1:12-cr-199-1 (N.D. Ill.). However, after numerous
ineffective efforts to establish Plaintiff's competency
to stand trial, court determined that Plaintiff was both
incompetent to stand trial and unlikely to be found competent
in the future, under 18 U.S.C. § 4241, and it therefore
committed Plaintiff to the custody of the Attorney General
for an expedited evaluation under 18 U.S.C. § 4246.
(1:12-cr-199-1, ECF No. 115, PageID.440.) Following that
evaluation at a federal facility in North Carolina, on
November 6, 2014, the Eastern District of North Carolina
found Plaintiff to be “suffering from a mental disease
or defect as the result of which his release would create a
substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or
serious damage to the property of another.”
(Id., ECF No. 121, PageID.454.) Plaintiff therefore
was involuntarily committed to the custody of the Attorney
General for placement in a mental institution under 18 U.S.C.
§ 4246. (Id.) He is presently detained at the
Rochester Federal Medical Center.
contends that he is a Michigan resident and entitled to equal
protection and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. He
asserts that, under 18 U.S.C. § 4246(d), a federal court
can involuntarily commit someone, but it must commit them at
a facility in their own state. (Pet. for Mandamus, ECF No. 1,
PageID.1.) He alleges that the Attorney General notified
Defendant Michigan Department of Human Services Interstate
Compact Coordinator to take custody of Plaintiff. However,
Defendant refused to accept custody of Plaintiff.
seeks a writ of mandamus directing Defendant to take custody
of Plaintiff and place him in a state mental hospital.
28 U.S.C. § 1361 confers authority over mandamus actions
to compel action by federal, not state, officials or
employees. Federal courts have no authority to issue writs of
mandamus to direct state officials to conform their conduct
to either state or federal law. Pennhurst State School
& Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89 (1984);
Haggard v. Tennessee, 421 F.2d 1384 (6th Cir. 1970).
Defendant is a state official. Therefore, the Court may not
grant Petitioner relief under 28 U.S.C. § 1361.
action may be dismissed as frivolous if “it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Lawler v.
Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir.1990). Because
Plaintiff's request for a writ of mandamus lacks an
arguable basis in law, it will be dismissed with prejudice as
frivolous. See Seyka v. Corrigan, 46 F. App'x
260, 261 (6th Cir. 2002) (dismissing as meritless
prisoner's request for mandamus relief in civil rights
case); Topsidis v. State, No. 97-3283, 1997 WL
778106, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 11, 1997) (affirming dismissal
of mandamus action challenging state conviction); Sparks
v. Doe, No. 85-3463, 1985 WL 14132, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec.
13, 1985) (affirming district court's dismissal of state
prisoner's mandamus action as frivolous); Haggard v.
Tenn., 421 F.2d 1384, 1386 (6th Cir. 1970) (affirming
dismissal of mandamus action because “federal courts
have no authority to issue writs of mandamus to direct state
courts or their judicial officers in the performance of their
duties”); Santee v. Quinlan, 115 F.3d 355, 357
(5th Cir. 1997) (same).
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that the case will be dismissed
under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), because
it is frivolous.
Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would
be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court
dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis
for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the
Court will assess the $505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant
to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at
610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in
forma pauperis, e.g., by ...