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Corpa v. Dale County Jail

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

November 29, 2018

DANE J. CORPA, Plaintiff,
v.
DALE COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a complaint filed by Dane J. Corpa, an indigent inmate incarcerated in the Dale County Jail, in which he alleges that jail personnel have acted with deliberate indifference to his safety and medical/mental health needs. Doc. 1 at 2-3. Corpa also complains that he has been denied the opportunity to bring criminal charges against inmates who he alleges assaulted him. Doc. 1 at 3. Corpa names the Dale County Jail, Wally Olson, the Sheriff of Dale County, Lt. Steve Baxley, Brandon Tucker, Harvey Mcloud and Eric Baker as defendants in this cause of action.

         Upon thorough review of the complaint, the court finds that the claims presented by Corpa against the Dale County Jail, Wally Olson, Brandon Tucker and Harvey Mcloud are subject to summary dismissal in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii).[1]

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Dismissal of Dale County Jail

         Corpa names the Dale County Jail as a defendant in this case. The law is well settled that

in order to state a claim for relief under Section 1983, a plaintiff must satisfy two elements. First, a plaintiff must allege that an act or omission deprived him “of some right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Hale v. Tallapoosa Cty., 50 F.3d 1579, 1582 (11th Cir. 1995). Second, a plaintiff must allege that the act or omission was committed by “a person acting under color of state law.” Id. While local governments qualify as “persons” under Section 1983, state agencies and penal institutions are generally not considered legal entities subject to suit. See Grech v. Clayton Cty., 335 F.3d 1326, 1343 (11th Cir. 2003). Consequently, a county jail [is] not [a] viable defendant[] under Section 1983. Williams v. Chatham Cty. Sherriff's Complex, No. 4:07-CV-68, 2007 WL 2345243, at *1 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 14, 2007) (“The county jail . . . has no independent legal identity and therefore is not an entity that is subject to suit under Section 1983.”).

Bell v. Brown, 2017 WL 3473845, at *5 (S.D. Ga. Aug. 11, 2017); see Ex parte Dixon, 55 So.3d 1171, 1172 n.1 (Ala. 2010) (“Generally, the departments and subordinate entities of municipalities, counties, and towns that are not separate legal entities or bodies do not have the capacity to sue or be sued in the absence of specific statutory authority.”).

         In light of the foregoing, it is clear that the Dale County Jail is not a legal entity subject to suit and is therefore due to be dismissed as a defendant in accordance with the directives of 28 U . S. C. § 1915(e) (2) (B) (i) .

         B. Request for Criminal Charges

         Insofar as Corpa seeks to have state criminal charges brought against the defendants, he is due no relief from this court. A “private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or non-prosecution of another.” Linda R. S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973); Nelson v. Skehan, 386 Fed.Appx. 783, 786 (10th Cir. 2010) (plaintiff has no constitutional right to have a defendant prosecuted); Napier v. Baron, 198 F.3d 246, 1999 WL 1045169, *1 (6th Cir. 1999) (“[T]he district court properly dismissed [Plaintiff's] complaint as frivolous . . . [because] contrary to [his] belief, he does not have a constitutional right to have a particular person criminally charged and prosecuted.”); see also Rockefeller v. United States Court of Appeals Office for Tenth Circuit Judges, 248 F.Supp.2d 17, 23 (D.D.C 2003) (criminal statutes “do not convey a private right of action.”); Risley v. Hawk, 918 F.Supp. 18, 21 (D.D.C. 1996), aff'd, 108 F.3d 1396 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (no private right of action exists under federal statute criminalizing conspiracies to deprive an individual of his constitutional rights); Gipson v. Callahan, 18 F.Supp.2d 662, 668 (W.D.Tex 1997) (“Title 18 U.S.C. § 242 makes it a crime to willfully deprive persons under color of law of their rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States. The statute does not create a private cause of action. Powers v. Karen, 768 F.Supp. 46, 51 (E.D.N.Y. 1991), aff'd, 963 F.2d 1552 (2nd Cir. 1992); Dugar v. Coughlin, 613 F.Supp. 849, 852 n.1 (S.D.N.Y. 1985).”). Thus, the request for criminal prosecution of the defendants alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly does not exist and, as such, is due to be summarily dismissed pursuant to the directives of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).

         C. Respondeat Superior

         Corpa alleges that defendant Baxley acted with deliberate indifference to his safety by placing him in Cell Block 3 instead of protective custody. Doc. 1 at 2-3. Corpa also complains that defendant Baker acted with deliberate indifference to his mental health and medical needs by failing to place him on suicide watch upon his initial entry into the jail and refusing him medical treatment for injuries suffered in an attack by other inmates. Doc. 1 at ...


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