United States District Court, D. Kansas
KEVIN E. BROWNE, Plaintiff,
ROBERT SCOTT, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
D. CRABTREE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on Judge James's Order to Show
Cause (Doc. 4). For reasons explained below, the court
dismisses plaintiff's case for failure to state a claim.
March 29, 2019, pro se plaintiff Kevin Browne filed a
Complaint against Johnson County Magistrate Judge Robert
Scott, Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Zadina, and
Kansas Highway Patrol officers Christopher Beas and Williams
Bailiff. Doc. 1. The Complaint alleged only “false
arrest” and “unlawful stops, searches, or
arrests.” Doc. 1 at 4. The Complaint also cited several
federal statutes without explanation. Id. Also
attached to the Complaint were several documents, including
(1) Judge Robert Scott's Oath of Office, (2)
plaintiff's traffic ticket, (3) certified mail return
receipts, (4) IRS Form 56, (5) “Notice of Declaration
in the Form of a Commercial Affidavit of Truth, ” (5)
“Writ of a Freeman's Right to Travel, ” (6) a
“Legal Noticed and Demand Fiat Justitia Ruat
Caelum, ” and (7) a property receipt record for
plaintiff. Doc 1-1. Plaintiff's traffic ticket lists six
violations. They include driving in excess of the speed
limit, driving with a suspended license, and covering his
license plate with an opaque material. Id. at 2.
also filed a Motion to Proceed Without Prepayment of Fees.
Doc. 3. Magistrate Judge Teresa J. James granted
plaintiff's motion. Doc. 4 at 4. But, Judge James also
ordered plaintiff to show good cause by May 1, 2019, why the
court should not dismiss his claims for failing to state a
claim on which relief can be granted. Doc. 4 at 4. Judge
James noted that “[p]laintiff's complaint does not
contain sufficient allegations that rise to the level of
stating a violation of his constitutional rights or any other
recognized legal claim.” Id. Plaintiff filed
three responses to Judge James's Order. Docs. 5, 6, and
the court can discern, plaintiff brings claims against the
Kansas Highway Patrol officers who arrested him for traffic
violations, the prosecutor assigned to his case, and the
judge assigned to the case. Plaintiff claims his traffic stop
and subsequent arrest are “illegal” because he is
not subject to the jurisdiction of the state of Kansas.
party is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) requires the court to screen the
party's complaint. While § 1915 refers to prisoners,
the Tenth Circuit has held that “‘[s]ection
1915(a) applies to all persons applying for [in forma
pauperis] status, and not just prisoners.'”
Salgado-Toribio v. Holder, 713 F.3d 1267, 1270 (10th
Cir. 2013) (quoting Lister v. Dep't of Treasury,
408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir. 2005)). The court is mindful
that “[a] pro se litigant's pleadings are to be
construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). But a pro
se litigant is not relieved from following the same
procedural rules as any other litigant. Green v.
Dorrell, 969 F.2d 915, 917 (10th Cir. 1992). Likewise,
the court may not act as an advocate for the litigant.
Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110.
screening the Complaint, the court determines whether it
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). So, the court must determine
whether the Complaint contains “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see
also Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217 (10th Cir. 2007)
(using the same standard courts apply to a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion when screening the complaint of an in forma
pauperis litigant). The court views the Complaint's
well-pleaded factual allegations in the light most favorable
to plaintiff. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090,
1098 (10th Cir. 2009). But a Complaint can't state a
claim for relief simply by alleging the elements of a cause
of action or making other broad legal conclusions.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The governing case law
instructs the court that it need not accept legal conclusion
as true. Id.
Show Cause Order, Judge James noted plaintiff did not include
“factual allegations concerning his arrest” or
any “mention of District Magistrate Judge Scott and
Assistant District Attorney Zadina other than to include
their names as [d]efendants.” Doc. 4 at 3-4. Judge
James also explained that plaintiff's Complaint “is
therefore without sufficient facts on which any recognized
legal claim could be based.” Id. at 3. Thus,
Judge James ordered plaintiff to show good cause why the
court should not dismiss his Complaint for failing to state a
claim. None of plaintiff's multiple responses to Judge
James's Show Cause Order-individually or
collectively-establish the requisite good cause.
responses to the Show Cause Order fail to allege facts to
state a plausible claim for violation of his constitutional
rights based on the traffic stop, arrest, or the Kansas court
case against him. With his Complaint, he attached a copy of
his “Uniform Notice to Appear and Complaint” he
received after his traffic stop. Doc. 1-1 at 2. This Notice
describes various infractions and misdemeanors, including (1)
driving in excess of the speed limit, (2) driving with a
suspended driver's license, (3) failure to provide proof
of insurance, (4) failure to display license plate properly,
(5) covering license place with “opaque material,
” and (6) driving on a closed road. Id. But in
his response, plaintiff does not allege any facts to suggest
the Kansas Highway Patrol officer lacked probable cause to
initiate the traffic stop and arrest him.
plaintiff alleges on November 9, 2018, Kansas Highway Patrol
officer Christopher Beas stopped him “in violation of
the certified security agreements in admiralty law . . .
.” Doc. 6 at 1. Plaintiff's reference to these
“agreements” appears to refer to various
documents filed with his Complaint. See Doc. 1-1.
Plaintiff also alleges that Johnathan Zadina, the prosecutor
assigned to his case, and Judge Robert Scott “furthered
damages by not dismissing the state case despite motions put
in . . . .” Doc. 6 at 2. Plaintiff contends Mr. Zadina
and Judge Scott “have the fiduciary responsibility as
public servants to offset and discharge encumbrances,
citations, and true bills.” Id.
also alleges he asked for his Johnson County court case to be
dismissed by filing his “agreements” and a motion
with the Johnson County District Court. But the court did not
dismiss the case. Plaintiff contends that this violated the
judge's and attorney's oath to protect his rights.
The rights plaintiff refers to are the rights outlined in two
“Certified Security Agreement” filed in the
Johnson County Register of Deeds office. Plaintiff seeks