United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Robert J. Jonker Judge
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. 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 for failure to state a claim.
is a Turkish citizen who presently is incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Saginaw
County Correctional Facility (SRF) in Freeland, Saginaw
County, Michigan. However, the actions about which he
complains occurred while Plaintiff was housed at the Ingham
County Jail (ICJ). Plaintiff sues the ICJ and the following
ICJ officials: Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth; Undersheriff Scott
Wriggelsworth; and Jail Administrator Sam Davis.
to the complaint, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to aggravated
stalking, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.411i, on August 23,
2016. At the instruction of his attorney, Plaintiff remanded
himself into custody at the ICJ on August 31, 2016, while he
was still awaiting sentencing. On September 1, 2016, upon a
motion filed by the Ingham County Prosecutor, Ingham County
Circuit Judge Clinton Canady, III, issued an order suspending
Plaintiff's phone privileges pending sentencing on
October 19, 2016, at which point the court would reconsider
whether a continued phone restriction was necessary.
(See 9/1/16 Ingham Cty. Cir. Ct. Order, ECF No. 1-1,
court's September 1, 2016, order detailed a series of
contacts by Plaintiff made in violation of his pretrial
release condition that he have no contact with the victim.
One of the earlier violations had led to Plaintiff serving
three days in jail for contempt of court prior to entry of
the plea. In addition, the court held, following
Plaintiff's guilty plea on August 23, 2016, but before
Plaintiff's report to jail on August 31, 2016, Plaintiff
again contacted the victim on August 30, 2016. As a result of
the August 30 contact, the court revoked Plaintiff's bond
and remanded Plaintiff to jail until sentencing. The court
found in its September 1, 2016, order that the victim
reported a further contact from Plaintiff on August 31, 2016,
after Plaintiff had been lodged in the jail. The entire
history formed the backdrop for the court's September 1,
2016, order suspending Plaintiff's phone privileges.
complains that the only evidence of a phone call after
Plaintiff was jailed was the victim's report. Although
Plaintiff does not expressly deny making the call, he
contends that the jail records show that he could not have
made the phone call, due to his jail movements and phone
records. Plaintiff also alleges that the jail does not
activate phones for new jail arrivals for 24 hours. He
therefore contends that the evidence supports a conclusion
that he did not make such a call.
accommodate the court's order barring Plaintiff from the
use of a telephone, Plaintiff was placed in solitary
confinement between September 1 and September 26, 2015.
Plaintiff contends that his solitary confinement amounted to
cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment and
an atypical and significant deprivation under the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff suggests that,
because he had been found guilty but was not yet sentenced,
he should be considered a pretrial detainee.
also alleges that he was barred from using the telephone
until July 13, 2017, well beyond his time in solitary
confinement. He complains that, during this time, he was
barred from contact with his lawyers, his family, and the
Turkish Consulate. Plaintiff acknowledges that he eventually
was given a limited ability to speak with members of the
Turkish Consulate and his family, but he was ordered to speak
solely in English. Plaintiff complains that his right to
confidentially speak with his attorneys and the consulate
violated his rights under the First, Sixth, and Fourteenth
addition, Plaintiff claims that, because he had been an
upstanding member of the community and an employee of
Michigan State University for 25 years before his conviction,
he was an easy target for threats, extortion, theft, and
jailhouse schemes that put his life and liberty in harm's
way. He argues that he was housed with dangerous inmates who
extorted commissary goods and money and who conspired to
convince Plaintiff to make an attempt on the life of the
victim of Plaintiff's stalking. As part of this
conspiracy, inmates Charles Allen and Reginald Close
allegedly informed the prosecutor or police that Plaintiff
wanted his girlfriend killed. Plaintiff was charged in one
case with three counts of solicitation of murder, Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.157b(2), and, in the second case, with one
count of aggravated stalking. On January 24, 2018, following
a jury trial, Plaintiff was convicted of all four offenses.
He was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 16 years and 8
months to 30 years on the solicitation convictions and 3 to 7
years on the aggravated-stalking conviction.
also alleges that Defendants failed to provide a confidential
and effective grievance process, preventing Plaintiff from
effectively addressing his concerns. Plaintiff alleges that
the absence of an effective procedure denied him due process
under the Fourteenth Amendment.
relief, Plaintiff seeks a declaration that Defendants
violated his Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment Rights,
together with an injunction barring Defendants from violating
the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners in ICJ. He also
seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Motion to Appoint Counsel
Plaintiff has filed a motion to appoint counsel (ECF No. 3).
Indigent parties in civil cases have no constitutional right
to a court-appointed attorney. Abdur-Rahman v. Mich.
Dep't of Corr., 65 F.3d 489, 492 (6th Cir. 1995);
Lavado v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 604-05 (6th Cir.
1993). The Court may, however, request an attorney to serve
as counsel, in the Court's discretion.
AbdurRahman, 65 F.3d at 492; Lavado, 992
F.2d at 604-05; see Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court, 490
U.S. 296 (1989).
of counsel is a privilege that is justified only in
exceptional circumstances. In determining whether to exercise
its discretion, the Court should consider the complexity of
the issues, the procedural posture of the case, and
Plaintiff's apparent ability to prosecute the action
without the help of counsel. See Lavado, 992 F.2d at
606. The Court has carefully considered these factors and
determines that, at this stage of the case, the assistance of
counsel does not appear necessary to the proper presentation
of Plaintiff's position. Plaintiff's request for
appointment of counsel therefore will be denied.
Failure to state a claim
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement,' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-that the pleader
is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
Ingham County Jail / Ingham County
sues the Ingham County Jail. The jail is a building, not an
entity capable of being sued in its own right. However,
construing Plaintiff's pro se complaint with all
required liberality, Haines, 404 U.S. at 520, the
Court assumes that Plaintiff intended to sue Ingham County.
Ingham County may not be held vicariously liable for the
actions of its employees under § 1983. See Connick
v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60 (2011); City of Canton
v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 392 (1989); Monell v.