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Fairbanks v. Lawson

United States District Court, D. Kansas

September 28, 2017

JAMIE LEN LAWSON, et al., Defendants.


          DAVID J. WAXSE U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Joshua Hamilton Fairbanks, a county inmate appearing pro se, brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff is ordered to show cause to the Honorable Sam A. Crow why his complaint should not be dismissed.

         I. Nature of the Matter before the Court

         Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. #1) is based on the following allegations. Plaintiff was in the parking lot of 2409 Morningside Drive on October 19, 2016, when officers from the Lawrence Police Department (“LPD”) approached him. Plaintiff agreed to a voluntary interview and was taken to the LPD's Investigations and Training Center where the interview was conducted. He was then returned to 2409 Morningside Drive where LPD officers executed a search warrant on Plaintiff's apartment. According to Plaintiff, the warrant specifically referred to “all gray or black bandanas, ” but the officers obtained a purple bandana and a red bandana. LPD Detective Jamie Len Lawson then conducted two custodial interrogations of Plaintiff without advising Plaintiff of his Miranda rights.

         Plaintiff was released but was arrested the next day pursuant to an arrest warrant. He remains in the Douglas County Jail.

         According to online records of the Douglas County District Court, of which this Court takes judicial notice, Plaintiff was charged with one count each of aggravated burglary (K.S.A. 21-5807(b)) and attempted aggravated robbery (K.S.A. 21-5420(b)). He pled no contest to attempted aggravated burglary and attempted robbery (K.S.A. 21-5420(a)) in August of 2017, and is awaiting sentencing.

         Plaintiff claims he was “unlawfully stopped, searched, arrested, and detained.” Doc. #1, p. 2. He does not specify which of his constitutional rights were allegedly violated. Plaintiff describes his request for relief as “some form of financial compensation for the unlawful acts committed against me.” Doc. #1, p. 6.

         II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner 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. See 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 upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b), 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). The Court need not accept “mere conclusions characterizing pleaded facts.” Bryson v. City of Edmond, 905 F.2d 1386, 1390 (10th Cir. 1990). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         “To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1523 (10th Cir. 1992). In addressing a claim brought under § 1983, the analysis begins by identifying the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989). The validity of the claim then must be judged by reference to the specific constitutional standard which governs that right. Id.

         III. ...

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