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Tyson v. Clifford

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 21, 2018

DESHAWN TYSON, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK J. CLIFFORD, ET AL., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          JANET C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Deshawn Tyson (“Tyson”), is confined at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution. He has filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code against New Haven Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Clifford (“Judge Clifford”) and Connecticut State's Attorney John P. Doyle, Jr. (“Attorney Doyle”). For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint is dismissed.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to section 1915A(b) of title 28 of the United States Code, the court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss . . . any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or that “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. This standard of review “appl[ies] to all civil complaints brought by prisoners against governmental officials or entities regardless of whether the prisoner has paid [a] filing fee.” Shakur v. Selsky, 391 F.3d 106, 112 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A complaint that includes only “‘labels and conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement, '” does not meet the facial plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)). Although courts still have an obligation to interpret “a pro se complaint liberally, ” the Complaint must still include sufficient factual allegations to meet the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v. Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations omitted).

         II. FACTS

         Tyson states that he has been “wrong[ly] incarcerated” in a facility within the State of Connecticut Department of Correction since March 10, 2016.[1] See Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 22. The State of Connecticut Judicial Branch website reflects that New Haven police officers arrested Tyson on March 10, 2016, and that the State of Connecticut has charged him in a criminal case filed in the Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of New Haven with one count of sexual assault in the first degree, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-70(a)(1), and one count of unlawful restraint in the first degree, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-95. See State v. Tyson, No. NNH-CR16-0165313-T (Conn. Super. Ct. Mar. 10, 2016).[2] The case detail indicates that Tyson is represented by counsel and that a jury trial is scheduled for December 16, 2020. See id.

         Tyson alleges that, on or about July 26, 2018, in the Connecticut Superior Court for the Judicial District of New Haven, Judge Clifford stated on the record that he had instructed Attorney Doyle to ignore or disregard any motions, memoranda, or affidavits filed by Tyson. See Compl. at 5 ¶ 1, 22. Judge Clifford has ruled against Tyson even when Attorney Doyle refused to oppose Tyson's motions. See id. at 17.

         On or about August 22, 2018, Judge Clifford stated on the record that he had instructed Attorney Doyle to remain silent during a pretrial hearing and that Attorney Doyle agreed to do so. See id. at 5 ¶ 2. On or about September 12, 2018, Judge Clifford stated on the record that he had instructed Attorney Doyle to ignore or disregard Tyson's “Conditional Acceptance/Negotiable instrument/grievance” document. See Id. at 5 ¶ 3. On that same date, Judge Clifford informed Tyson that he would not consider any motions that Tyson might file. See id. at 5 ¶ 4. Tyson generally asserts that Judge Clifford and Attorney Doyle have misapplied statutes and laws and have failed to provide him with “Discovery/Brady material.” Id. at 6 ¶ 6, 17-18.

         At one point during the criminal proceeding, Judge Clifford issued an order that Tyson could represent himself. See id. at 22. Judge Clifford subsequently attempted to appoint an attorney to represent Tyson even though the attorney had made threats against Tyson in the past. See id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Tyson alleges that the defendants violated his rights under the First, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments as well as under sections 241 and 242 of title 18 of the United States Code. See id. at 17-18. Tyson seeks punitive, compensatory, nominal, and exemplary damages, as well as injunctive and declaratory relief. See Id. at 6-7.

         As a preliminary matter, the court notes that Tyson includes the following additional allegations in the Complaint. The “State of CT has declared me/plaintiff sovereign [f]rom itself, as establish[ed] by law, because I/plaintiff had/has no residency with the state and therefore plaintiff is not only a private man as opposed to a corporate fiction.” See id. at 6 ¶ 7. Tyson asserts that he cannot be “named in any statutes” and has “a Reservation of Rights which was made known to all defendants.” See id. at 6 ¶¶ 8-10. Tyson contends that, throughout his criminal case, “defendants [have] refuse[d] to adhere to the Supremacy Clause of the United States Supreme Court rulings.” See id. at 6 ¶ 5. Tyson signs the Complaint as: “Secured Party, Sui Juris, one of the sovereign people, a private man on the land, non-combatant, an American by birth, and child of the living God, Grantor, Secured Party/Creditor and principal of which ‘Rights' existed long antecedent to the Organization of the State and Trustee.” Id. at 33. Attached to the Complaint is a document titled “Memorandum of Law with points and Authorities on ‘sovereignty' of the people In Relationship to ‘Government' of the several Compact De-facto State and the Federal Government.” Id. at 25-32.

         This language and the title of the attachment to the Complaint suggest that Tyson considers himself a “sovereign citizen.” In United States v. Ulloa, 511 Fed.Appx. 105 (2d Cir. 2013), the Second Circuit described, “sovereign citizens, ” as “a loosely affiliated group who believe that the state and federal governments lack ...


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