United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar United States District Judge
7, 2016, the court received for filing the above-captioned
civil action filed by Joseph Kaisam ("Kaisam"), a
state prisoner housed at the Eastern Correctional Institution
("ECI"). Kaisam states that the State of Maryland,
the Circuit Court for Worcester County, and the Division of
Correction ("DOC") have not acted on his request to
receive credit for time spent in custody, which he alleges
would result in his release. ECF No. 1. He asks that the
State of Maryland and the Circuit Court for Worcester County
be ordered to pay him for every day he is subject to
"false imprisonment." Kaisam's Motion for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis shall be granted. His action,
construed as a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint for damages,
shall be summarily dismissed.
state court docket reveals that on September 10, 2015, Kaisam
pled guilty to one count of second-degree assault in the
Circuit Court for Worcester County and was sentenced to an
18-month term. See State v. Kaisam, Case No.
23K15000134 (Circuit Court for Worcester County)
On September 21, 2015, a "motion for credit for time
spent in an official detention" was filed, and on
October 19, 2015, an order was entered "granting the
credit if due." Further, on October 13, 2015, a
motion for "credit against sentence for time spent in
custody" was filed by Kaisam. On November 9, 2015, an
order was entered denying the motion. Another motion for
credit for time spent in custody was filed on or about April
11, 2016, and denied on May 3, 2016. On June 9, 2016, Kaisam
filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence in the Circuit
Court for Worcester County. The motion was denied on July 1,
2016, the court finding that Kaisam "was not entitled to
any credit for time served." This court is required to
construe self-represented actions liberally. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (a document filed
pro se is to be liberally construed).
Self-represented petitions are held to a less stringent
standard than those drafted by attorneys, and a federal
district court is charged with liberally construing a
petition filed by such a litigant to allow the development of
a potentially meritorious case. See Hughes v. Rowe,
449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d
1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). When a federal court is
evaluating a pro se petition, the petitioner's
allegations are assumed to be true, Hughes, 449 U.S.
at 9; nonetheless, the requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a
claim currently cognizable in a federal district court.
See Weller v. Dep't of Social Servs., 901 F.2d
387 (4th Cir. 1990).
seeks the award of monetary compensation against defendants.
His complaint may not proceed for several reasons. Under the
Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, a
state, its agencies, and its departments are immune from
suits in federal court brought by its citizens or the
citizens of another state, without consent. See Penhurst
State School and Hospital v Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100
(1984). While the State of Maryland has waived its sovereign
immunity for certain types of cases brought in state courts,
see Md. Ann. Code, State Gov't. Art., §
12-201(a) (2014 West), it has not waived its immunity under
the Eleventh Amendment to suit in federal court. Thus, Kaisam
may not raise a § 1983 claim against the State of
defendant DOC is a state agency operating as a division of
the Maryland Department of Safety and Correctional Services.
See Md. Code. Ann., Corr. Servs., Art., §§
1-101(g) and 3-201. Neither a state nor an agency of a state
is a "person" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64-65 & 70-71 (1989). Moreover, as
previously discussed, state agencies are immune from
liability under the Eleventh Amendment from a § 1983
suit in federal court without regard to the nature of the
relief sought. See Hejirika v. Maryland Division of
Correction, et al., 264 F.Supp.2d 341, 345 (D.
Md. 2003). Consequently, the complaint against the DOC is
subject to dismissal for want of jurisdiction.
remaining defendant, the "Circuit Court for Worcester
County, " likewise is not amenable to suit. It is well
settled that only "persons" may act under color of
state law; therefore, a defendant in a § 1983
action must qualify as a "person." Inanimate
objects such as buildings, facilities, and grounds do not act
under color of state law. See Allison v. California Adult
Auth.,419 F.2d 822, 823 (9th Cir. 1969); Preval v.
Reno,57 F.Supp.2d 307, 310 (E.D. Va. 1999); Brooks
v. Pembroke City Jail,722 F.Supp. 1294, 1301 (E.D. N.C.
1989). Defendant Circuit Court for Worcester County is an
inanimate entity, and/or a ...