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Stewart v. Montgomery County

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 13, 2017

JOHN L. STEWART, Plaintiff,



         On September 24, 2016, Plaintiff, a prisoner[1] appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to dismissal without prejudice.

         Statutory Screening of Prisoner and In Forma Pauperis Complaints

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of such entity to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Additionally, with any litigant, such as Plaintiff, who is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court has a duty to screen the complaint to determine its sufficiency. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Upon completion of this screening, the Court must dismiss any claim that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         To survive this review, the plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In applying the Twombly standard, the Court must assume the truth of all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Leverington v. City of Colo. Springs, 643 F.3d 719, 723 (10thCir. 2011). While a pro se plaintiff's complaint must be liberally construed, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), pro se status does not relieve the plaintiff of “the burden of alleging sufficient facts on which a recognized legal claim could be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).


         Plaintiff's complaint stems from his arrest for driving under the influence (“DUI”) in Montgomery County, Kansas, on December 12, 2014. Plaintiff was held and charged with a misdemeanor, but the charges were voluntarily dismissed in early January of 2015. Plaintiff was subsequently held pursuant to a warrant from Jasper County, Missouri, and then extradited to Missouri on January 27, 2015, to face a felony DUI charge there. Plaintiff's first count claims his imprisonment in Montgomery County from December 12, 2014, through January 27, 2015, was unlawful. Plaintiff alleges he did not receive “credit” for this 46 days of confinement.

         On February 9, 2015, the Montgomery County District Attorney (“DA”) refiled charges against Plaintiff, this time as DUI-3rd offense with at least one conviction in the preceding ten (10) years, which is a felony. Plaintiff alleges the DA strategically dismissed the misdemeanor charge related to the December 12 arrest after learning of the Missouri charge, planning to refile as a felony.

         Kansas filed a detainer with Missouri on August 31, 2015. Per the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act (“IADA”), Plaintiff received notice of the Montgomery County detainer on October 6, 2015, and immediately requested disposition of the Kansas charge. Defendant received notice of Plaintiff's request on October 15, 2015. Plaintiff was returned to Montgomery County on March 16, 2016. Under the IADA, Montgomery County had 180 days from the receipt of Plaintiff's request for disposition to commence trial on the charge. The 180 days expired on April 12, 2016, without trial commencing. As a result, the charge against Plaintiff was dismissed with prejudice by the Montgomery County District Court on May 25, 2016. Plaintiff was returned to Missouri on June 3, 2016, to continue serving his sentence there. Plaintiff's second count claims he was unlawfully confined by Defendant from April 12, 2016, when the 180 days expired, until June 3, 2016, when he was returned to Missouri.

         Plaintiff's third count claims that the refiling of charges and issuance of the detainer by Montgomery County negatively impacted his release on parole in Missouri. His argument seems to be that because the Montgomery County charge was ultimately dismissed, he should be able to recover for the negative impact on his Missouri parole determination.

         Plaintiff sues one defendant, Montgomery County, Kansas, and he seeks “the fullest compensation allowable for the 98 days” of allegedly unlawful confinement he suffered.


         After reviewing Plaintiff's complaint with the standards set out above in mind, the Court finds that the complaint is subject to summary dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) for the following reasons.

         1. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such ...

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