United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff, an inmate detained in the Cumberland
County Jail, alleges Defendants retaliated against him for
his grievance activity and postings on a social media
account, and discriminated against him. (Complaint, ECF No.
has filed a Motion to Amend his Complaint to add Johanna
Gauvreau as a defendant. (ECF No. 12, as supplemented by ECF
Nos. 13, 14.) Ms. Gauvreau is an Assistant Attorney General
with the State of Maine. Plaintiff appears to allege that Ms.
Gauvreau “tried” to charge him, in violation of
his First Amendment rights, with a crime for posting legal
discovery materials to a social media account. (ECF Nos. 1,
14.) The Court denies the motion to amend.
should grant leave to amend “freely” when
“justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Leave
to amend is properly denied for “undue delay, bad faith
or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated
failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously
allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of
allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment,
etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “The relevant question ... in assessing
plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any
particular factual allegations but, rather, whether
‘the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed
in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to
relief plausible.'” Rodríguez-Reyes v.
Molina- Rodríguez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir.
2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n.14).
a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
the complaint may not consist entirely of “conclusory
allegations that merely parrot the relevant legal standard,
” Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 717 F.3d 224,
231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618
F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal
standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs
“is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required
to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim”).
United States Supreme Court has stated, prosecutors have wide
discretion when deciding whether to initiate a prosecution.
In our criminal justice system, the Government retains
“broad discretion” as to whom to
prosecute.” United States v. Goodwin, 457 U.S.
368, 380, n.11 (1982); accord, Marshall v. Jerrico,
Inc., 446 U.S. 238, 248 (1980). “[S]o long as the
prosecutor has probable cause to believe that the accused
committed an offense defined by statute, the decision whether
or not to prosecute, and what charge to file or bring before
a grand jury, generally rests entirely in his
discretion.” Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S.
357, 364 (1978). This broad discretion rests largely on the
recognition that the decision to prosecute is particularly
ill-suited to judicial review.
Wayte v. United States, 470 U.S. 598, 607 (1985).
See also United States v. Armstrong, 517 U.S. 456,
464 (1996) (“Judicial deference to the decisions of
these executive officers rests in part on an assessment of
the relative competence of prosecutors and courts.”);
United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 693 (1974)
(“the Executive Branch has exclusive authority and
absolute discretion to decide whether to prosecute a
case”); Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448, 456
(1962) (“[T]he conscious exercise of some selectivity
in enforcement is not in itself a federal constitutional
violation.”). The broad discretion exercised by
prosecutors is subject only to a prohibition against
“selective enforcement ‘based upon an
unjustifiable standard such as race, religion, or other
arbitrary classification.'” United
States v. Batchelder, 442 U.S. 114, 125 n.9 (1979)
(quoting Oyler, 368 U.S. at 456). Plaintiff has
failed to assert any facts that would suggest Ms.
Gauvreau's alleged attempt to prosecute Plaintiff was not
within her broad discretion.
a prosecutor such as Ms. Gauvreau is entitled to immunity
against civil liability for the decision whether to initiate
a prosecution. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 431
(1976) (“[I]n initiating a prosecution and in
presenting the State's case, the prosecutor is immune
from a civil suit for damages under [§] 1983.”);
Harrington v. Almy, 977 F.2d 37, 40 (1st Cir. 1992)
(“[T]he interest that prosecutorial immunity is
designed to protect-independence in the charging decision-is
implicated whether the decision is to initiate a prosecution
or decline to do so.”). Here, Plaintiff has failed to
allege any facts that would suggest that Ms. Gauvreau is not
entitled to immunity for whatever actions she took in her
attempt to prosecute Plaintiff.
on the foregoing analysis, the amendment of Plaintiff's
complaint to add Ms. Gauvreau as a defendant would be futile.