United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division
Morris United States District Court Judge
Robert M. Holguin, Jr. filed what has been construed as three
motions to amend his Complaint. (Docs. 6, 7, 10.) United
States Magistrate Judge John Johnston entered Findings and
Recommendations in this matter on May 10, 2018. (Doc. 13.)
Neither party filed objections.
party makes no objections, the Court need not review de
novo the proposed Findings and Recommendations.
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-52 (1986). This
Court will review Judge Johnston's Findings and
Recommendations, however, for clear error. McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Commodore Bus. Mach., Inc., 656 F.2d
1309, 1313 (9th Cir. 1981).
seeks to amend his Complaint to raise a racial discrimination
claim. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured
by the Constitution or laws of the United States are
violated, and (2) that a person acting under color of state
law committed the alleged violation. West v. Atkins,
487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Public defenders do not act
“under color of state law” when performing
traditional lawyer duties. Polk County v. Dodson,
454 U.S. 312 (1981).
Johnston correctly determined that Scott Harris, acting as
Holguin's criminal defense lawyer, did not act under
color of state law. Holguin cannot state a federal claim
against Harris. Judge Johnston correctly determined that
Holguin's remaining allegations against Correctional
Officer Warner do not rise to the level of stating a federal
constitutional claim for relief. Judge Johnston further
correctly determined that the Court should abstain from
hearing Holguin's discrimination claims against Cascade
County, the Cascade County Attorney's Office, Cascade
County Attorney's Office Employees Joshua Racki, Valerie
Winfield, and Stephanie Fueller, and the Cascade County
Sheriff's Department as Holguin cannot otherwise
challenge his state court criminal proceedings in this Court.
Denial of Access to the Courts
alleges that he has requested state and federal law, rules
and procedures, and legal books to assist him in this case.
Holguin alleges that his requests have been denied according
to a Cascade County Detention Center Policy. Holguin contends
that this policy does not allow inmates to access the law
library unless ordered by the Courts as pro se on criminal
cases. Holguin further contended that the Cascade County
Detention Center does not provide legal library or computer
access to pretrial detainees.
plead a cognizable claim for denial of access to the courts,
a plaintiff must allege the denial of such access caused him
an “actual injury” to a nonfrivolous claim
regarding a conviction or conditions of confinement.
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 350-55 (1996).
Johnston correctly determined that Holguin's only
allegation of having suffered actual injury is that Holguin
contends that he had “viable claims” dismissed.
His allegations prove insufficient to state a claim. The
Court has not dismissed any claims. The Court has only
abstained from hearing Holguin's claims challenging his
criminal proceedings until after the completion of those
Request for Appointment of Counsel
attached a request for the appointment of counsel to his
third motion to amend. A judge may only request counsel for
an indigent plaintiff under “exceptional
circumstances.” 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(1). Judge Johnston
correctly determined that Holguin has not made a showing of
exceptional circumstances. The Court has reviewed Judge
Johnston's Findings and Recommendations for clear error.
The Court finds no error in Judge Johnston's Findings and
Recommendations, and adopts them in full.
IS ORDERED that Judge Johnston's Findings and
Recommendations (Doc. 13), are ADOPTED IN FULL.
IS ORDERED that Holguin's claims against Sam
Harris as raised in ...