United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DAJUAN BENSON, No. 122731, Plaintiff,
BRIAN L. MACKIE, ET. AL., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING CASE
F. COX, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
DaJuan Benson, a pretrial detainee housed at the Washtenaw
County Jail in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently filed a pro
se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Dkt. 1. The defendant, Brian L. Mackie, is the Washtenaw
County Prosecutor. Plaintiff also includes unnamed Assistant
Prosecuting Attorneys for Washtenaw County as John Doe
defendants. In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that the
defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights by
failing to comply with state court rules related to the
presentation of lab report evidence. Plaintiff seeks relief
“at the Court's discretion.” Id. at
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, a federal district
court must screen and dismiss an indigent prisoner's
complaint if the allegations are frivolous, malicious, fail
to state a claim for which relief can be granted, or seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A; 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1); Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d
249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010). “A case is frivolous if it
lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.”
Beach v. Ohio, 79 Fed.Appx. 754, 756 (6th Cir. 2003)
(citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989)). “A complaint is subject to dismissal for
failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true,
show the plaintiff is not entitled to relief.”
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).
deciding a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
Court must “construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff and accept all allegations as
true.” Keys v. Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 608
(6th Cir. 2012). “To survive a motion to dismiss, 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). A plausible claim need not contain “detailed
factual allegations, ” but it must contain more than
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
pro se complaint is entitled to a liberal
construction and “must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
asserts that the Washtenaw County Prosecutor and his
Assistants are violating his Fourteenth Amendment rights by
violating state court rules related to the presentation and
use of laboratory technician reports in his state criminal
proceeding. For the reasons stated below, the claim cannot go
as public prosecutors the defendants are entitled to absolute
immunity for their actions in prosecuting a criminal action
against plaintiff. Absolute immunity protects from suits
brought under § 1983. Koubriti v. Convertino,
593 F.3d 459, 467 (6th Cir. 2010); Grant v.
Hollenbach, 870 F.2d 1135, 1136 n.1 (6th Cir. 1989). The
Supreme Court embraces a functional approach to determining
whether a prosecutor is entitled to absolute immunity.
Kalina v. Fletcher, 522 U.S. 118, 127 (1997);
Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 486 (1991). Under a
functional analysis, a prosecutor is absolutely immune when
performing the traditional functions of an advocate.
Spurlock v. Thompson, 330 F.3d 791, 797 (6th Cir.
2003). For instance, a prosecutor is absolutely immune for
the initiation and pursuit of a criminal prosecution.
Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 431 (1976);
Lomaz v. Hennosy, 151 F.3d 493, 497 (6th Cir. 1998).
In contrast, a prosecutor is not entitled to immunity for
investigatory or administrative functions that are normally
performed by a detective or police officer. Buckley v.
Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 273, 276-78 (1993). Here,
plaintiff alleges only that defendants violated court rules
related to the use of lab reports at his criminal proceeding.
They are entitled to absolute immunity for that conduct, even
if it violated state evidentiary law. See Koubriti,
593 F.3d at 467 (noting that prosecutorial immunity
“‘extend[s] to the knowing use of false testimony
before the grand jury and at trial.'” (quoting
Burns, 500 U.S. at 484)). Plaintiff has not alleged
any conduct by defendants that would fall outside the scope
of prosecutorial immunity.
any request to have the Court dismiss the criminal charges
against him is a challenge to his physical confinement. Any
claim challenging his physical confinement must be brought as
a habeas corpus petition, which first requires exhaustion of
available state law remedies. See Dotson v.
Wilkinson, 329 F.3d 463, 466 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 n.14, 500
(1973)). In addition, federal courts should not interfere in
active state criminal prosecutions, absent extraordinary
circumstances. Devlin v. Kalm, 594 F.3d 893, 894
(6th Cir. 2010) (citing New Orleans Pub. Serv., Inc. v.
Council of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350, 364 (1989)).
Extraordinary circumstances do not exist here, because the
issues can be raised and resolved in state court. Instead,
the proper course of action is for the federal court to
refrain from entertaining the action.
reasons stated above, Plaintiff's allegations fail to
state a plausible claim for relief. Accordingly, the Court
DISMISSES the complaint. Dkt. 1.