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Ellis v. DeWine

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

July 31, 2019

L'DDARYL D. ELLIS, Plaintiff,
v.
GOVERNOR MIKE DeWINE, [1] et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NO. 4]

          BENITA Y. PEARSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Complaint (ECF No. 1) of Pro Se Plaintiff L'Ddaryl Ellis against Governor John Kasich (“Kasich”), Gary Mohr (“Mohr”), Charmaine Bracy (“Bracy”), Christopher LaRose (“LaRose”), Judge Janet R. Burnside (“Judge Burnside”), and Cuyahoga County (“County”) (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff claims that Defendants conspired to violate his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(2) and (3), and 1986, as well as 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 13, ¶ 24.

         For the reasons that follow, this case is dismissed.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner in the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (“ODRC”), and is currently confined in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center.[2]Plaintiff alleges that Kasich was the governor of the State of Ohio during all relevant times herein (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2, ¶ 4), Mohr is the Director of the ODRC (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2, ¶ 5), Bracy was the warden at TCI as of 2015 (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2, ¶ 6), LaRose is the former warden at TCI (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2, ¶ 7), Burnside is the judicial officer in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas who presided over the criminal matter underlying this action (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2, ¶ 8), and Cuyahoga County is the county where the criminal matter underlying this action transpired (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2, ¶ 9).

         The events giving rise to this action began on October 28, 2012 when Ellis was arrested in Maple Heights and later indicted on 14 counts related to two separate shooting incidents. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2-3, ¶ 10; see State v. Ellis, No. 99830, 2014 WL 197880, at *1 (Ohio App. 8th Dist. Jan. 16, 2014).[3] Plaintiff pleaded not guilty, waived his right to a jury trial, and his case was tried to the bench before Judge Burnside. Burnside found Plaintiff guilty on counts 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 14 of the indictment. With respect to count 5, Judge Burnside found Plaintiff not guilty of aggravated murder, but guilty of the lesser included offense of involuntary manslaughter. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 2-3, ¶ 10.

On April 15, 2013, Ellis appeared for sentencing. The trial court merged the involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and aggravated riot counts with the murder count for sentencing purposes. The trial court then imposed a prison term of 15 years to life to be served after Ellis served three years for the firearm specifications.

Ellis, 2014 WL 197880, at *3 ¶ 19.

         On direct appeal, Ellis raised eight assignments of error. Id. at *1. The Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals affirmed all of Ellis's convictions except the aggravated riot charge, and remanded the case to the trial court to vacate the aggravated riot conviction. See id., at *11; ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 5-6, ¶ 12.

         This brings the Court to the heart of Ellis's claim Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.13. Plaintiff alleges that when the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals remanded the case to the trial court to vacate his conviction for aggravated riot, § 2953.13 was triggered. According to Ellis, the statute required the TCI warden to transport him back to the Cuyahoga County jail and place him in the custody of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 7-8, ¶ 13.

         After the state Court of Appeals remanded the case, Judge Burnside entered a Journal Entry (ECF No. 1-15) vacating Ellis's conviction for aggravated riot Ellis's original sentence was unchanged. Plaintiff was not transported from TCI to the Cuyahoga County jail. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 8, ¶¶ 14-15.

         Ellis unsuccessfully moved Judge Burnside to be conveyed back to the trial court pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code § 2953.13, unsuccessfully sought a writ of mandamus from the Eighth District Court of Appeals to be conveyed back to the trial court, [4] and unsuccessfully sought a writ of mandamus from the Ohio Supreme Court to require Burnside and the TCI warden to comply with the statute.[5] ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 8-9, ¶¶ 16-17. Ellis also unsuccessfully grieved the TCI warden's alleged failure to comply with the statute (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 9-10, ¶ 19), and wrote Kasich concerning the alleged violation of § 2953.13 (ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 11, ¶ 21).

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' failure to comply with the statute violated his constitutional rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments “to due course of law[.]” ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 13, ¶ 24. He seeks $125 million in compensatory damages and the same amount in punitive damages. ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 13-14, ¶¶ 25-31.

         II. Standard of Review

         Pro se pleadings are liberally construed by the Court. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Notwithstanding, the district court is required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to review all in forma pauperis complaints, and to dismiss before service any such complaint that the Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470 (6th Cir. 2010). While some latitude must be extended to pro se plaintiffs with respect to their pleadings, the Court is not required to conjure unpleaded facts or construct claims against defendants on behalf of a pro se plaintiff. See Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 577 (6th Cir. 2008); Thomas v. Brennan, No. 1:18 CV 1312, 2018 WL 3135939, at *1 (N.D. Ohio June 26, 2018) (Gaughan, J.) (citing Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985) and Erwin v. Edwards, 22 Fed.Appx. 579, 580 (6th Cir. 2001)).

         In order to withstand scrutiny under § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A, “‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Hill, 630 F.3d at 471 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)) (holding that the dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A). Thus, a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted when it lacks “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id.

         III. ...


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