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Murphy v. Unnamed Police Officer's Sioux Falls South Dakota Police Department

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

October 17, 2016

JAMES ANTHONY MURPHY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNNAMED POLICE OFFICER'S SIOUX FALLS SOUTH DAKOTA POLICE DEPARTMENT, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING CASE

          KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, James Anthony Murphy, is an inmate at the Oxford Correctional Institution in Oxford, Wisconsin. On September 19, 2016, he filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1. The court ordered Murphy to give notice whether he was seeking habeas relief, and, if he meant to proceed with his § 1983 claims, to pay an initial partial filing fee. Docket 4. Murphy has given the court notice that he wishes to proceed under § 1983, Docket 5, and paid his initial partial filing fee. Docket 6. The court has screened Murphy's complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the following reasons Murphy is granted in forma pauperis status, and his complaint is dismissed.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In March 2014, Murphy visited a website called “back page” that offers what Murphy calls “Adult services and entertainment . . . .” Docket 1 ¶¶ 4-5. Murphy clicked on an advertisement that led him to a site that advertised “Too Hot Young Girls.” Id. ¶¶ 6-7. Murphy alleges that he did not know what the website was but emailed the owner of the listing, who then sent him pictures of “available” women. Id. ¶¶ 6-8. Murphy alleges that he refused the “offer, ” but the owner kept calling and emailing Murphy. Id. ¶ 9. The owner of the website was an undercover Sioux Falls police officer. Id.

         After receiving multiple calls and emails, Murphy agreed to meet the website owner. Id. ¶ 10. Murphy alleges that once he met the website owner and learned the age of “the person whom would be meeting with him, ” he tried to leave. Id. ¶ 11. Murphy alleges he was held against his will. Id. His complaint does not state what happened next, but Murphy eventually pleaded guilty, id. ¶ 12, and is now serving a 24 month sentence. Id. ¶ 1.

         On September 19, 2016, Murphy filed this complaint raising three claims. Docket 1. The court, noting that his claims were likely barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994)), ordered him to give notice whether he was seeking habeas relief or wished to proceed with his claims under § 1983. Docket 4. Murphy gave notice that he wished to proceed with his claims under § 1983. Docket 5.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         The court must accept the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true. Schriener v. Quicken Loans, Inc., 774 F.3d 442, 444 (8th Cir. 2014). Civil rights and pro se complaints must be liberally construed. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted); Bediako v. Stein Mart, Inc., 354 F.3d 835, 839 (8th Cir. 2004). Even with this construction, “a pro se complaint must contain specific facts supporting its conclusions.” Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 518 F.App'x 502, 504 (8th Cir. 2013). A complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations . . . [but] requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “If a plaintiff cannot make the requisite showing, dismissal is appropriate.” Abdullah v. Minnesota, 261 F. App'x 926, 927 (8th Cir. 2008); Beavers v. Lockhart, 755 F.2d 657, 663 (8th Cir. 1985).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis

         Because it was not clear whether Murphy meant to file a § 1983 complaint or whether he sought habeas relief, the court provisionally granted Murphy leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Now that Murphy states that he wishes to proceed with his claims under § 1983, the court determines whether to grant him leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a prisoner who ''brings a civil action or files an appeal in forma pauperis . . . shall be required to pay the full amount of a filing fee.'' 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). '' 'When an inmate seeks pauper status, the only issue is whether the inmate pays the entire fee at the initiation of the proceedings or over a period of time under an installment plan.' '' Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 483 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997)).

         In addition to the initial partial filing fee that Murphy has already paid, he must ''make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account.'' 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The statute places the burden on the prisoner's ...


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