United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
Alexander Jiggetts, who is self-represented, filed suit
against the Baltimore City Police Department, Detective
Shirley Disney, and Lt. Michael Fries, alleging a violation
of his constitutional rights in connection with a search of
his home on November 11, 2013, and again on November 12,
2013. ECF 1. Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint
for failure to state a claim (ECF 5), supported by a
memorandum (ECF 5-1) (collectively, the
“Motion”). They assert the untimely filing of the
Complaint, collateral estoppel, and the inadequacy of the
alleged facts. ECF 5-1. Defendants also argue that the claims
asserted are barred by the doctrine announced in Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994) (stating that 42
U.S.C. §1983 claims, impugning the legality of a
criminal conviction, are not cognizable unless the conviction
filed a response in opposition. ECF 13. Defendants filed a
reply. ECF 17. Plaintiff then filed a surreply, without
seeking leave of court to do so. ECF 18.
has also filed several other motions, including a second
motion to amend complaint (ECF 14); a motion to have the U.S.
Marshal file a receipt (ECF 15); a “Motion To Name
Complaint A Regular Civil Suit” (ECF 16); a motion for
default judgment (ECF 20), which he supplemented (ECF 22);
and a motion to appoint counsel. ECF 23. Defendants oppose
the motion for default judgment. ECF 28.
hearing is necessary to resolve the pending motions.
See Local Rule 106.5 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons
that follow, I shall grant the motion to amend (ECF 14) as
well as the motion to dismiss. ECF 5. I shall deny the
alleges that on November 11, 2013, Baltimore City police used
an unspecified technology to raid his house and his
“alleged phones.” ECF 1 at 1. The police
suspected that the phones found in plaintiff's house were
used to commit the crime of “telephone misuse.”
But, according to plaintiff, the phones found in his home
were not used to commit the crime. Plaintiff maintains that
once it was established that the phones were not used to
commit a crime, the search should have ended. Moreover, he
claims that “they didn't have a warrant for the
phones or my house” and “they never had a warrant
to enter the technology into the phones.” Id.
According to plaintiff, the police “should have went to
a cell phone provider to enter the phone” and
“should have also had a warrant from a judge to use the
the initial search, plaintiff was arrested and taken to
Central Booking. The next day, according to plaintiff, the
police again “burglarized [his] house by going in . . .
a second time without a warrant.” Id.
alleges that the conduct of the police in searching the
phones and his house violated his rights under the Fourth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
Id. He explains that he is not attempting to
challenge his criminal conviction through the filing of this
lawsuit, which he declares is not one filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, but is a “regular suit.”
Id. at 2.
acknowledges that he pleaded guilty to the telephone misuse
charge, explains that he challenged the legality of the
search during the pendency of the criminal case, and states
that he was committed to Spring Grove immediately thereafter,
where he remained for the next three years. Id. In
his motion to amend the complaint, plaintiff specifies that
as relief he is seeking 15 million dollars or, in the
alternative, $400, 000. ECF 8.
Additional Factual Background
was committed to Spring Grove Hospital on September 5, 2014.
See State v. Jiggetts, No. 816180013 (Balt. City
Cir. Ct. 2016). Plaintiff's commitment was based on
the State court's finding that he was not competent to
stand trial. See also Jiggetts v. Hepburn, Civil
Action JFM-14-3614 (D. Md. 2014) (Petition for writ of habeas
corpus challenging legality of finding that he was not
competent to stand trial); Jiggetts v. Ekoh, Civil
Action JFM-15-3270 (D. Md. 2015) (challenge to legality of
forced medication). He remained hospitalized until June 28,
2016, when he pleaded guilty to charges of telephone misuse.
October 16, 2014, plaintiff filed a complaint similar to the
instant one, which also included Detective Disney and Lt.
Fries as defendants. See Jiggetts v. Johnson, et
al., Civ. Action JFM-14-3247 (D. Md. 2014). He alleged
that police officers used illegal technology to track down
his location and cell phone and arrested him on charges of
telephone misuse. In that complaint, plaintiff admitted to
making the phone calls in question, but claimed that the
calls did not hurt anyone and were simply prank calls,
warranting only a six-month sentence. Id. at ECF 1.
The relief sought by that complaint included dismissal of the
pending criminal charges against him as well as monetary
damages. Id. The complaint was dismissed, without
prejudice, pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 487 (1994). Id. at ECF 2.
the period of time that plaintiff was committed to Spring
Grove Hospital as incompetent to stand trial, he filed more
than forty civil actions in this court. See Civil
Actions: JFM-14-2486, JFM-14-3217, JFM-14-3219, JFM-14-3220,
JFM-14-3247, JFM-14-3306, JFM-14-3307, JFM-14-3447,
JFM-14-3614, JFM-14-3374, JFM-15-2569, JFM-15-2676,
JFM-15-2794, JFM-15-2895, JFM-15-2954, JFM-15-3059,
JFM-15-3231, JFM-16-2681, JFM-16-2683, JFM-16-2684,
JFM-16-2793, JFM-16-2794, JFM-16-2795, JFM-16-2796,
JFM-16-2797, JFM-16-2798, JFM-16-2681, JFM-17-1525,
JFM-17-1526, JFM-17-1573, JFM-17-1593, JFM-17-1690,
JFM-17-1691, ELH-17-1712, JFM-17-1866, JFM-17-1867,
JFM-17-1868, JFM-17-2360, JFM-17-2482, JFM-17-2483,
JFM-17-2551, JFM-17-2648, JFM-17-2760, JFM-17-2977.
plaintiff's other civil actions were dismissed on the
basis they were barred by Heck. See, e.g.,
Jiggetts v. Hepburn, Civ. Action JFM-14-3217 (D. Md.
2014) (dismissed without prejudice pursuant to
Heck); Jiggetts v. Bailey, Civ. Action
JFM-14-3220 (D. Md. 2014) (same, raising similar allegations
of illegal search); Jiggetts v. Balt. Co., Civ.
Action JFM-17-1526 (D. Md. 2017) (same); Jiggetts v.
Balt. Co. Police Dep't., Civ. Action JFM-17-1593 (D.
Md. 2017) (same); Jiggetts v. Dist. Ct. Patapsco,
Civ. Action JFM-17-1691 (D. Md. 2017) (same); Jiggetts v.
Balt. Cty State's Attorney, Civ. Action JFM-17-1868
(D. Md. 2017) (same); and Jiggetts v. St. of Md.,
Civ. Action JFM-17-2360 (D. Md. 2017) (same).
noted, plaintiff has filed a second motion to amend complaint
(ECF 14), a motion to have the U.S. Marshal file a receipt
(ECF 15), a motion to name complaint a regular civil suit
(ECF 16), a motion for default judgment (ECF 20), and a
motion to appoint counsel (ECF 23). Each is addressed below.
Motion to Amend (ECF 14)
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a),
[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course
within 21 days after serving it, or if the pleading is one to
which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after
service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of
a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a party
may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's
written consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
dictates that “[t]he court should freely give leave
when justice so requires.” Id. Where the
proposed amendment to the complaint appears to be a futility,