United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee United States District Judge
Lamont Wilson, a prisoner without a lawyer, has filed a
complaint against Grant County, Grant County Superior Court,
and the Grant County Sheriff's Department. “A
document filed pro se is to be liberally construed,
and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded,
must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers . . .” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nevertheless, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this court must review the
complaint and dismiss it if the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. “In order to state a claim under [42
U.S.C.] § 1983 a plaintiff must allege: (1) that
defendants deprived him of a federal constitutional right;
and (2) that the defendants acted under color of state
law.” Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th
asserts that his constitutional right to a speedy trial is
being violated because he has been detained for six months
without a trial. He seeks money damages and the dismissal of
his pending criminal case in State court. The Sixth Amendment
guarantees criminal defendants “the right to a speedy
and public trial.” “The speedy trial right
attaches when a defendant is indicted, arrested, or otherwise
officially accused.” Hart v. Mannina, 798 F.3d
578, 596 (7th Cir. 2015). To assess an alleged violation of
the right to a speedy trial, courts consider four factors:
(1) the length of the delay, (2) the reasons for the delay,
(3) whether the defendant asserted his right to a speedy
trial, and (4) any prejudice the defendant suffered by the
delay. Barker v. Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 530-32 (1972).
“The length of the delay is to some extent a triggering
mechanism. Until there is some delay which is presumptively
prejudicial, there is no necessity for inquiry into the other
factors that go into the balance.” Id.
“A delay approaching one year is presumptively
prejudicial.” United States v. Arceo, 535 F.3d
679, 684 (7th Cir. 2008); United States v. Oriedo,
498 F.3d 593, 597 (7th Cir. 2007). Here, Wilson asserts that
he was arrested on November 29, 2017, and he filed this
complaint on May 20, 2018, for a total delay of about six
months. Therefore, Wilson does not state a valid speedy trial
even if Wilson had a meritorious claim, he could not obtain
the relief he seeks. The doctrine of abstention prohibits
federal courts from staying or enjoining pending State court
proceedings except under special circumstances. Younger
v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43 (1971). This means that
“federal courts must abstain from enjoining or
otherwise interfering in ongoing state court proceedings that
are (1) judicial in nature, (2) involve important state
interests, and (3) provide an adequate opportunity to raise
the federal claims, as long as (4) no exceptional
circumstances exist that would make abstention
inappropriate.” Stroman Realty, Inc. v.
Martinez, 505 F.3d 658, 662 (7th Cir. 2007). Because
ordering the dismissal of Wilson's State criminal case
would interfere with an ongoing State court proceeding, he
cannot obtain such relief in federal court. See Neville
v. Cavanagh, 611 F.2d 673, 676 (7th Cir. 1979);
Barrett v. Scott, 2016 WL 3661103, at *2 (C.D. Ill.
July 5, 2016). Further, the Supreme Court of the United
States has suggested that monetary damages are not available
for speedy trial violations. See e.g., Betterman v.
Montana, 136 S.Ct. 1609, 1615 (2016) (“The sole
remedy for a violation of the speedy trial right [is the]
dismissal of the charges”); Strunk v. United
States, 412 U.S. 434, 439 (1973); Barker v.
Wingo, 407 U.S. 514, 522 (1972); but see Hart v.
Mannina, 798 F.3d 578, 595 (7th Cir. 2015) (declining to
the address the issue).
it is usually necessary “to give pro se litigants one
opportunity to amend after dismissing a complaint[, ]
that's unnecessary where, as here, it is certain from the
face of the complaint that any amendment would be futile or
otherwise unwarranted.” Carpenter v. PNC Bank, Nat.
Ass'n, 633 Fed.Appx. 346, 348 (7th Cir. Feb. 3,
2016) (quotation marks omitted); Luevano v.
Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th Cir. 2013); Hukic v.
Aurora Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009)
(“[C]ourts have broad discretion to deny leave to amend
where . . . the amendment would be futile.”).
these reasons, the court DISMISSES this case pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A because the complaint does not state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
 Wilson could have raised this claim in
a petition for habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2241
instead of as a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. See Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit Court of
Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 492 (1973). However, for the
reasons set forth ...