United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
JOHN W. CHAMBERS, Petitioner,
TIMOTHY FOX, ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF MONTANA; HON. MIKE MCGRATH, CHIEF JUSTICE, the SUPREME COURT STATE OF MONTANA, et. al., Respondents.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES
Johnston United States Magistrate Judge
John W. Chambers, a state prisoner proceeding pro se,
see (Doc. 5), filed a Complaint alleging
irregularities in his state criminal proceedings. (Doc. 2).
The Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted and should be dismissed.
Chambers is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis the Court
must review his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915,
1915A. Sections 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B) require the Court
to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis and/or by a
prisoner against a governmental defendant before it is served
if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
complaint is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A complaint is malicious if not
pleaded in good faith. Kinney v. Plymouth Rock Squab.
Co., 236 U.S. 43, 46 (1915). A complaint fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails
to allege the "grounds" of his "entitlement to
relief." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a
complaint "that states a claim for relief must contain
... a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
[plaintiff] is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). In order to satisfy the requirements in Rule 8 a
complaint's allegations must cross "the line from
conceivable to plausible." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 680 (2009). There is a two-step procedure to
determine whether a complaint's allegations cross that
line. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662. First, the Court must identify "the
allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the
assumption of truth." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679,
680. Factual allegations are not entitled to the assumption
of truth if they are "merely consistent with
liability," or "amount to nothing more than a
'formulaic recitation of the elements' of a
constitutional" claim. Id. at 679, 681. A
complaint stops short of the line between probability and the
possibility of relief where the facts pled are merely
consistent with a defendant's liability. Id. at
the Court must determine whether the complaint states a
"plausible" claim for relief. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679. A claim is "plausible" if the factual
allegations, which are accepted as true, "allow[ ] the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678.
This inquiry is "a context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense." Id. at 679 (citation omitted).
If the factual allegations, which are accepted as true,
"do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it
has not "show[n]"-"that the pleader is
entitled to relief." Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
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. Pardu, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007); cf. Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(e)
("Pleadings must be construed so as to do
Chambers, along with Maurice Archer, Charles Clary, Keith
Doyle, and Brian Smith, joined in filing the complaint lodged
in this matter and sought certification to proceed as a
class. See Archer v. Fox et. al., CV-17-108-GF,
(Docs. 6, 7, 8). The Court denied the Plaintiffs' motion
for class certification and ordered that the claims be
severed. See generally Archer v. Fox et. al.,
CV-17-108-GF (Doc. 15); see also (Doc. 3).
Accordingly, separate cases were opened for each of the named
while Chambers was serving a prison term for a conviction out
of Montana's Thirteenth Judicial District, Yellowstone
County, Chambers was charged under an "indictment by
information" from Montana's Tenth Judicial District,
Fergus County, in Cause No. DC 2012-31. (Doc. 2-3 at 1;
see also Doc. 2 at 3). It appears that while the
current matter has been pending, Chambers was convicted and
sentenced in the Fergus County matter.
instant matter Chambers complains his state charges were
brought "under indictment by information" and that
he was deprived of either a "constitutionally mandated
preliminary examination before a magistrate" or a
"non-perfunctory adversarial hearing before the district
judge prior to being indicted by information on judicial
order to file the information as the instrument of
indictment." (Doc. 2 at 2). Chambers contends that other
similarly situated individuals, too numerous to number, have
had their due process rights violated by the purported faulty
charging manner utilized by the State of Montana and are also
entitled to justice. Id. at 4.
asserts Attorney General Timothy Fox, as the chief law
enforcement officer in the state, has been made aware of the
due process violations that have occurred as a result of the
unconstitutional charging practice, by virtue of numerous
appeals, post conviction matters, and state habeas petitions
that have been filed. Id. at 4-5. Chambers complains