United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Martin (“Martin”), a resident of Boston,
Massachusetts, filed a personal injury action against the
Montgomery County, Maryland Judge Terrence J. McGann,
alleging the Judge defamed him with remarks made during
Martin’s August 3, 2009 sentencing. Martin, who is
self-represented, filed this Complaint on May 24, 2016. ECF
No. 1. He will be granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
because the financial affidavit accompanying his Complaint
indicates that he has no source of income. ECF No. 2. His
motion to file electronically (ECF No. 3) shall be denied.
lawsuit represents the sixth action brought by Martin against
those involved in his criminal case. As a result of a criminal
investigation and indictment, Martin pleaded guilty in
Montgomery County Circuit Court to harassment and
fourth-degree burglary, for which he was sentenced to six
months of incarceration. He seeks $10 million in damages and
Judge McGann’s removal from the bench. Id. at
Complaint is filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), which
permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal
court without prepaying the filing fee. To guard against
possible abuses of this privilege, the statute requires a
district court to dismiss any claim that is frivolous or
malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). In this
context, this Court is mindful of its obligation to liberally
construe the pleadings of pro se litigants. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro
se complaint, a plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be
true. Id. at 93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)).
Nonetheless, liberal construction does not mean that a court
can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts
which set forth a cognizable claim. See Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990);
see also Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274,
1278 (4th Cir. 1985) (stating a district court may not
“conjure up questions never squarely
presented.”). In making this determination,
“[t]he district court need not look beyond the
complaint's allegations . . . . It must hold the pro se
complaint to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted
by attorneys and must read the complaint liberally.”
White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-723 (4th Cir.
1989). Thus, this Court is obligated to examine both the tort
claims outlined in the Complaint, and also examine whether
the Complaint is sufficient to state a civil rights violation
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
construction of Martin’s Complaint, however, does not
save it from early dismissal. The defense of absolute
immunity extends to “officials whose special functions
or constitutional status requires complete protection from
suit.” Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 807
(1982). Judges, whether presiding at the state or federal
level, are clearly among those officials who are entitled to
such immunity. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349
(1978). Because it is a benefit to the public at large,
“whose interest it is that the judges should be at
liberty to exercise their functions with independence and
without fear of consequences, ” Pierson v.
Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967), absolute immunity is
necessary so that judges can perform their functions without
harassment or intimidation. “Although unfairness and
injustice to a litigant may result on occasion, <it is a
general principle of the highest importance to the proper
administration of justice that a judicial officer, in
exercising the authority vested in him, shall be free to act
upon his own convictions, without apprehension of personal
consequences to himself.'” Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 10 (1991), quoting Bradley v.
Fisher, 13 Wall. 335, 20 L.Ed. 646 (1872).
determining whether a particular judge is immune, inquiry
must be made into whether the challenged action was
“judicial” and whether at the time the challenged
action was taken the judge had subject matter jurisdiction.
See Stump, 435 U.S. at 356. Unless it can be shown
that a judge acted in the “clear absence of all
jurisdiction, ” absolute immunity exists even when the
alleged conduct is erroneous, malicious, or in excess of
judicial authority. Id. at 356-57. Clearly the
adjudication of the criminal indictment against Martin, which
resulted in a guilty plea, is judicial conduct. Thus,
Martin’s claims cannot proceed under § 1983.
Martin’s tort claim is time-barred. Maryland's
one-year statute of limitations for defamation is most
applicable to the case at bar. See Md. Code Ann.,
Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 5-105.
latest, Martin’s claims against the judge would have
been manifested at the time of sentencing, which occurred on
August 3, 2009. ECF No. 1, p. 2. Martin’s request for
equitable tolling (ECF No. 1, p. 2), based upon his alleged
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by his arrest and a
2005 assault that caused a head injury, is unavailing, given
that Martin filed cases involving this incident throughout
the past year, including a previous case against Judge
McGann. Because Martin did not file the instant
lawsuit before the limitations period expired, it is
time-barred and cannot proceed.
28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2) obligates federal courts to
dismiss cases at any time if the action is legally
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 For the reasons
stated, the case is subject to dismissal. Martin’s
request to file electronic pleadings (ECF No. 3) shall be
denied as moot. A separate Order follows.
 See Martin v. Walsh, Civil
Action No. GJH-15-2302 (D. Md.); Martin v. The
State’s Attorney’s Office of Montgomery Co., et
al., Civil Action No. PWG-15-2429 (D. Md.); Martin
v. Baltimore City Police, Civil Action No. GJH-15-2430
(D. Md.); Martin v. Montgomery Co. Dept. of Police, et
al., Civil Action No. GJH-15-2431; and Martin v.
Maryland Courts, et al., Civil Action No. GJH-15-2432
(D. Md.). Each case was summarily dismissed on initial
 Martin was released after four months
of incarceration; his probation ended in 2014. See
Civil Action No. PWG-15-2429, ECF No. 1 at 7. The case is not
listed on Maryland’s electronic docket. Exhibits
provided with the Complaint in Civil Action No. PWG-15-2429
suggest the case of State of Maryland v. Richard
Martin, Case No. 112136, prosecuted in the Circuit Court
for Montgomery County, Maryland, arose when a local dentist,