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Vallecillo v. People

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 7, 2020

JORGE GABRIEL ESPINOZA VALLECILLO, Plaintiff,
v.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN, MICHAEL DOWDY, RICHARD SCHWAB, SANFORD SCHULMAN, JENIFER DOUGLAS, PAUL JOHN CUSICK, JEFFREY KNOCHE, ANDREW DIMAGGIO, and ANGELES R. MENESES, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE

          ARTHUR J. TARNOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter has come before the Court on plaintiff Jorge Gabriel Espinoza Vallecillo's pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is a state prisoner at the St. Louis Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan. The defendants are the People of the State of Michigan, one municipal detective, one municipal police officer, four court-appointed attorneys, one prosecuting attorney, and one state-court judge.

         Plaintiff filed his complaint in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. United States District Judge George H. Wu transferred the case to the Eastern District of Michigan on November 8, 2019, because the events and omissions giving rise to Plaintiff's claims occurred in this District and the defendants are located here. (Order Transferring Action, ECF No. 2.) Thus, the Eastern District of Michigan is the proper venue for Plaintiff's case.

         The Court has screened the complaint and concluded that Plaintiff's allegations are unsubstantial, frivolous, and devoid of merit. Accordingly, the complaint must be dismissed.

         I. Introduction

         As noted above, Plaintiff is a Michigan prisoner. He is suing the People of the State of Michigan and the following individuals in their personal and official capacities: detective Michael Dowdy of the Detroit (Michigan) Police Department; police officer Richard Schwab of the Detroit Police Department; court-appointed attorneys Sanford Schulman, Jeffrey Knoche, Andrew Dimaggio, and Angeles R. Meneses; prosecuting attorney Jenifer Douglas; and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Paul John Cusick. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID. 3-5.)

         Plaintiff alleges that, on August 11, 2017, Detroit police officers arrested him without a warrant and jailed him on charges of (1) reckless driving, causing death, and (2) failure to stop at the scene of an accident. Id., PageID. 6. The charges arose from an incident on August 6, 2017, when the driver of a 2005 Buick Rendezvous struck and killed a pedestrian in Detroit. Id., Page ID 8. According to Plaintiff, there is no evidence that he or his car were involved in the accident. Id.

         Plaintiff further alleges that: Detective Dowdy and Officer Schwab took the stand at his trial and made false statements; attorney Schulman misrepresented his case; prosecuting attorney Douglas failed to provide him with information for trial and committed other violations; Judge Cusick abused his discretion; attorney Knoche misrepresented Plaintiff's case and made decisions against Plaintiff's wishes; and attorney Dimaggio failed to follow (sic) motions. Id., PageID. 3-5. Plaintiff states that, on November 9, 2018, he was sentenced to prison for ten to fifteen years, id., PageID. 6, and attorney Meneses is misrepresenting his case on appeal and completely disregarding him, id., PageID. 5.

         Plaintiff's legal claims appear to be that he was denied his rights to a speedy trial, to be well-represented in legal proceedings, to receive information before trial, to be properly dressed during trial, to have a competent Spanish interpreter, to represent himself, and to have a fair trial. Id., PageID.6. Plaintiff wants the Court to overturn his convictions, dismiss the charges against him with prejudice, and set him free. Id., PageID. 7. Plaintiff also seeks a full investigation of the evidence related to his case. He contends that many frivolous and malicious actions occurred, and because he is sure that corrupt officers will kill him and his family at any time, he wants to be released to a higher authority. Id.

         II. Legal Framework

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 requires a federal district court to screen a prisoner's complaint and to dismiss the 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. Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e); Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A). “District courts are required to screen all civil cases brought by prisoners, regardless of whether the inmate paid the full filing fee, is a pauper, is pro se, or is represented by counsel, as the statute does not differentiate between civil actions brought by prisoners.” In re Prison Litigation Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th Cir. 1997) (emphasis added).

         Plaintiff prepaid the filing fee for this action, and courts may not summarily dismiss a prisoner's fee-paid complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) because that section applies only to complaints filed in forma pauperis. Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014, 1015-17 (6th Cir. 1999). Benson, however, does not prohibit a federal court from screening a prisoner's fee-paid civil rights complaint against a governmental official or entity under §1915A.[1] Hyland v. Clinton, 3 Fed.Appx. 478, 478-79 (6th Cir. 2001). Moreover, a federal “district court may, at any time, sua sponte dismiss a complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when the allegations of a complaint are totally implausible, attenuated, unsubstantial, frivolous, devoid of merit, or no longer open to discussion.” Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff's complaint is unsubstantial, frivolous, and devoid of merit because it challenges his convictions and confinement in prison. When, as here, “a state prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of his physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a speedier release from that imprisonment, his sole ...


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