United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm, United States District Judge
civil rights complaint was filed on August 8, 2018, by
Charles Conner, a Maryland state inmate. Complaint, ECF No.
1. Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in
Forma Pauperis (ECF No.4,, which will be granted.
initial Complaint, Plaintiff alleged a Maryland State Police
officer arrested him in September 2017 on "a warrant
that was not [supposed] to be served." Complaint 1.
Plaintiff was later released. See id The Complaint
asserts: "This is false [imprisonment, def[amation] of
character, 4 days of my life interrupted for a false
the Complaint did not state a cognizable claim or name a
proper Defendant, I accorded him an opportuntty to amend the
Complaint. See ECF NO.3. I directed him to provide
the "name of individuals whom he claims are responsible
for the alleged wrongdoing; the date of the alleged
incidents; and the facts supporting his claim."
Id. Plaintiff filed supplemental pleadings (ECF Nos.
5, 6) indicating he was "falsely arrested" on
September 10, 207,, by Jeffery Chase, who Plaintiff indicates
was either a Maryland state trooper or Wicomico County
Sheriffs Department employee. ECF NO.5. Plaintiff indicates
Chase pulled him over and "ran [his] name."
Id. The sum and substance of Plaintiffs claim is
that Chase "falsely arrested [him] for a[n] inaccurate
parole retake warrant." September 17, 2018 Supplement 2,
noted, Plaintiff filed his complaint m forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 9 1915(a)(1), which
permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in this
Court without prepaying the filing fee. To guard against
possible abuses of this privilege, the statute requires
dismissal of any claim that is frivolous or malicious or that
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28
U.S.C. 9 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). This Court is mindful of its
obligation to liberally construe self-represented pleadings,
such as the Complaint here. See Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating such a complaint, the
factual allegations are assumed to be true. Id. at
93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555-56 (2007)). Nonetheles,, liberal construction does
not mean that this Court can ignore a clear failure in the
pleading to allege facts setting forth a cognizable claim.
See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d
387, 390-91 (4th Crr. 9990); see also Beaudett
v. City of Hampton, 775F.2d 127'4, 1278(4thCir.
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 complaintss allegations .... It must, however,
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).
Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches
and seizures. See Terry v. Ohio,392 U.S. 1,
8-9(1968). To state a claim under 9 1983 for false arrest,
Plaintiff must show that his arrest was made without probable
cause. See Street v. Surdyka,492 F.2d 368, 372-73
(4th Cir. 1974). Probable cause exists if "at that
moment the facts and circumstances within [the officers]]
knowledge and of which they had reasonably trustworthy
information were sufficient to warrant a prudent man in
believing that the [individual] had committed or was
committing an offense." Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S.
89, 91 (1964) (citation omitted). A probable cause
determination is governed by a totality-of-the-circumstances
test. See Illinois v. Gates,462 U.S. 213, 241
(1983); United States v. Garcia,848 F.2d 58, 59-60
(4th Cir. 1988). Whether probable cause to arrest exists is
based on information the police had at the time of the
arrest. Id "Not every mix-up in the issuance of
an arrest warrant, even though it leads to the arrest of the
wrong person with attendant inconvenience and humiliation,
automatically constitutes a constitutional violation for
which a remedy may be sought under 42 U.S.C. S 1983."
Thompson v. Prince William Cty.,753 F.2d 363, 364
(4th Cir. 1985). "[A] public official cannot be charged
with false arrest when he arrests a defendant pursuant to a
facially valid warrant." Porterfield v. Lott,156 F.3d 563, 568 (4th Cir. 1998) (citing Brooks v. City
of Winston-Salem, N.C.,85 F.3d 178 (4th Cir. 1996));
see also Campbell v. Fitzsimmons, No. 8:09-2249-TLW,
2009 WL 4984297, at *4 (D.S.C. Dec. 11, 2009) (finding the
plaintiffs false arrest claim failed because the arrest
warrant bore the signature of a judge and appeared to state
that the victim identified the plaintiff as the perpetrator,
rendering the warrant facially valid). Rather, the Fourth
Circuit has stated that "a claim for false arrest may be
considered only when no arrest warrant has been
obtained." Porterfield, 156 F.3d at 568. Here,