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Anderson v. Alabama Department of Corrections

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

September 29, 2014

JOHN LANKSTON ANDERSON, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

SUSAN RUSS WALKER, Chief Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff has filed a motion seeking to proceed in forma pauperis in this action (Doc. # 2). Upon consideration of plaintiff's affidavit of substantial hardship, it is

ORDERED that the motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. Upon its review of the complaint filed in this case, the court concludes that dismissal of the complaint prior to service of process is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).[1] Accordingly, it is further

ORDERED that service of process is STAYED until further order of the court directing such service.

Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff John Lankston Anderson, Jr., proceeding pro se, brings this § 1983 action asserting constitutional and statutory claims against the Alabama Department of Corrections ("ALDOC"); the Arkansas Department of Corrections ("ADC"); the District Attorneys for Franklin County and Walker County, Alabama, and Miller County, Arkansas; "John and Jane Does" (identified as the Commissioners of the Alabama and Arkansas Departments of Corrections and the District Attorneys in Arkansas and Alabama, in their individual and official capacities); and defendants "ET AL., " whose names are "not yet known to the Plaintiff" but who "may be Defendants relevant to the facts and violations" alleged, in their official and individual capacities.

Plaintiff alleges that, in August 2002, he entered a plea of guilty to three counts of sexual abuse in the first degree in the Circuit Court of Walker County, Alabama. In exchange for his guilty plea, he received a "split" sentence to a term of ten years on each count - to be served concurrently with each other and with his sentence from convictions in Franklin County, Alabama - with plaintiff to serve three years in confinement, followed by a period of probation. After he entered his guilty plea, plaintiff was transferred to Miller County, Arkansas, where he pled guilty to charges of sexual abuse in exchange for a sentence to ten years of confinement. Shortly thereafter, plaintiff was transferred to the Alabama Department of Corrections to serve three years of confinement pursuant to his "split" sentence. After he completed his confinement in Alabama, he was again transferred to Arkansas to serve the ten-year sentence to confinement resulting from his Arkansas conviction. (Complaint, ¶¶ 11-16).

Plaintiff further alleges that - while he had "no detainer of warrant lo[d]ged against him" upon completion of his sentence to confinement in the Arkansas Department of Corrections - "the State of Alabama had issued a warrant for the Plaintiff's arrest/extradition back to Alabama for probation violation" and he "was t[ra]nsferred back to the custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections, absent any warrant or detainer" and held until on or around February 13, 2013. ( Id., ¶¶ 17-18). He asserts that, "[a]s a direct result of the Arkansas and Alabama convictions, the Plaintiff was required and did register as a sex offender in the State of Tennessee." ( Id., ¶ 19).

Plaintiff contends that the state of Alabama had no jurisdiction or authority to extradite him back to Alabama upon completion of his term of confinement in Arkansas "because the State of Alabama[] acted without a warrant signed by a court of competent jurisdiction" and, thus, his confinement in Arkansas and Alabama - and his present status as a registered sex offender - are "null and void." ( Id., ¶ 20). He claims that the state of Arkansas had no authority or jurisdiction to release him to the state of Alabama "without authorization by a court of competent jurisdiction." ( Id., ¶ 20). Plaintiff asserts:

For at least fourteen years and continuing at the time of filing of this action, the Defendants, and each of them as though named in this action, have held the Plaintiff confined under the authority and jurisdiction of the Arkansas and Alabama Department Of Correction, and have held the Plaintiff bound to register as a sex offender in the State Of Tennessee, all in the absence of any such authority of jurisdiction.

( Id., ¶ 9).

Plaintiff claims that the defendants have conspired to violate, and have violated, his constitutional rights under the "constitutional laws of both the States of Arkansas and Alabama, " and the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution (Complaint, ¶¶ 1, 10, 24, 25, 26, 27). He asserts claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and also claims that defendants violated his rights under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986.[2]

Eleventh Amendment

Plaintiff's claims against the ALDOC, the ADC, and the official-capacity defendants (ALDOC and ADC Commissioners and the "District Attorneys") are barred entirely by the Eleventh Amendment. The Eleventh Amendment bars a federal court from entertaining a suit brought by a private party against a state - or one of its agencies or departments - absent the unequivocally-expressed consent of the state to being sued in federal court. Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Halderman , 465 U.S. 89, 98-101 (1984)(citations omitted); see id. at 100 ("[I]n the absence of consent a suit in which the State or one of its agencies or departments is named as the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment.")(citations omitted).[3] "This jurisdictional bar applies regardless of the nature of the relief sought." Id. at 100. Neither Alabama nor Arkansas has consented to suit in federal court. See Ala. Const., Art. I, § 14 ("[T]he State of Alabama shall never be made a defendant in any court of law or equity."); Burk v. Beene , 948 F.2d 489 (8th Cir. 1991)(no waiver of immunity by Arkansas). Additionally, Congress has not abrogated the states' Eleventh Amendment immunity with respect to § 1983 or § 1985 claims. Quern v. Jordan , 440 U.S. 332, 338 (1979); Fincher v. State of Florida Dept. of Labor & Employment Security-Unemployment Appeals Commission , 798 F.2d 1371, 1372 (11th Cir. 1986). Thus, plaintiff's claims against the Arkansas Department of Corrections and the Alabama Department of Corrections are due to be dismissed with prejudice. See Watson v. Division of Child Support Services, 560 F.Appx. 911, 913 (11th Cir. ...


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