United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION
WILLIAM E. DUFFIN U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending before the court is Leon Lion I. Eugene White,
Jr.'s Request to Proceed in District Court without
Prepaying the Filing Fee.
reviewed White's request, the court concludes that he
lacks the financial resources to prepay the fees and costs
associated with this action. Therefore, White's Request
to Proceed in District Court without Prepaying the Filing Fee
will be granted. However, because the court is granting
White's Request to Proceed in District Court without
Prepaying the Filing Fee, it must determine whether the
complaint is legally sufficient to proceed. 28 U.S.C. §
sought to ensure that no citizen would be denied the
opportunity to commence a civil action in any court of the
United States solely due to poverty. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992) (quoting Adkins v.
E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 335 U.S. 331, 342
(1948)). However, Congress also recognized that “a
litigant whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the
public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks an economic incentive
to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive
lawsuits.” Id. (quoting Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)). To balance these
competing concerns, before the court can allow a plaintiff to
proceed in forma pauperis it must determine that the case
neither (1) is frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, nor (3) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Thus, although “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) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)), a pro se complaint must meet these minimal standards
before the court shall grant a plaintiff leave to proceed in
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Denton, 504 U.S. at 31;
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325. Although factual
allegations must be weighed in favor of the plaintiff, that
does not mean that the court is required to accept without
question the truth of the plaintiff's allegations.
Denton, 504 U.S. at 32. Thus, a court may dismiss a
claim as frivolous if it is “clearly baseless, ”
“fanciful, ” “fantastic, ”
“delusional, ” “irrational, ”
“wholly incredible, ” or “based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at
32-33. A court may not dismiss a claim as frivolous simply
because “the plaintiff's allegations are
might not be frivolous or malicious but nonetheless fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted and,
therefore, be subject to dismissal. In determining whether a
complaint is sufficient to state a claim under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), the court applies the same
well-established standards applicable to a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 611 (7th Cir. 2000).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Although the allegations in a complaint need not be detailed,
a complaint “demands more than an unadorned,
the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation. A pleading
that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of
further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation
marks, citation, and brackets omitted). The complaint must be
sufficiently detailed “to give the defendant fair
notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957)) (quotation marks and ellipses omitted).
complaint contains well-pleaded non-frivolous factual
allegations, the court should assume the veracity of those
allegations and “then determine whether they plausibly
give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679. “Determining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief will … be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
the standards set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) in
mind, the court turns to the allegations raised in
White's complaint. White alleges that on April 24, 2019,
Officer Ozelie, an officer with the Milwaukee Police
Department, assaulted him and slammed him on the hood of a
squad car. White contends Ozelie did this because Ozelie did
not like that White “was Rastafari, Moorish American
National.” (ECF No. 1 at 2.) He alleges violations of
the First and Eighth Amendments.
also offers other allegations, such as that he “has the
right to control the territory he … stands as a Moor
according to Article 26 (1-3), ” and that Ozelie
“violated the Treaty of Peace and Friendship” and
the “Charter of the United Nations Declaration of Human
Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” (ECF No. 1 at 3.) He
alleges his marijuana and Haile Selassie Emblem Pendant were
illegally confiscated. (ECF No. 1 at 4.) According to White,
this constituted a denial of “his religious and
cultural material” by Ozelie and his sergeant,
“Sgt. Perry, ” in violation of “Article
11(1-2), Article 12(1-2), Article 24(1-2), Article 25,
Article 31(1-2) and Article 32(3).” (ECF No. 1 at 4.)
undeveloped and unexplained, White's complaint suggests
the sorts of frivolous theories of Moorish heritage
vis-à-vis sovereignty that courts have universally
rejected. See, e.g., Mitzs v. Zore, No.
1:13-cv-01052-JMS-TAB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98706, at *1-3
(S.D. Ind. July 15, 2013) (holding that claim based “on
the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1787 between Morocco
and the United States” “is frivolous [and]
warrants no further discussion”) (citing Hamilton
v. Schroeder, No. 4:13CV822 CEJ, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
82422 (E.D. Mo. June 12, 2013) (claim against state court
judge based on Treaty of Peace and Friendship dismissed as
legally frivolous); Hall-El v. United States, No.
1:11CV1037, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48003 (M.D. N.C. Apr. 3,
2013) (“claims which rely on international treaties or
organizations and rights of Moorish nationals are clearly
frivolous and do not state a claim”); Bey v.
Zajeski, No. 02 C 2996, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1465 (N.D.
Ill. Jan. 29, 2003) (dismissed “unusual,
non-federal” claim based on Treaty of Peace and
Friendship between Morocco and United States as frivolous));
Mfalme El Bey v. Centralia Police Dep't, No.
13-cv-313-JPG, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59670, at *9 (S.D. Ill.
Apr. 25, 2013) (citing United States v. James, 328
F.3d 953, 954 (7th Cir. 2003) (“Laws of the United
States apply to all persons within its borders”
regardless of citizenship); United States v. Toader,
409 Fed.Appx. 9, 13 (7th Cir. 2010) (rejecting claim of
Native Asiatic Moorish National Citizen that federal criminal
laws did not apply to him); Shahir-El ex rel. Banks v.
City of Chicago Dept. of Admin. Hearings, 2013 IL App
(1st) 120448-U, 2013 WL 968282, at *2 ( Ill. App. 2013)
(argument that member of the Moorish Science Temple of
America is not subject to state laws has no merit);
Pitt-Bey v. District of Columbia, 942 A.2d 1132,
1135-36 (D.C. 2008) (rejecting Moorish national's claim
of immunity from prosecution under the 1837 Moroccan-American
Treaty of Peace and Friendship)); McDonald-Bey v.
Springer, No. 1:12-CV-120, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57121,
at *5 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 24, 2012); Golden Ali v.
Centralized Infractions Bureau, No. 1:12-CV-53-TLS, 2012
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52934, at *5-7 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 16, 2012);
Blake-Bey v. Vill. of S. Holland, No. 11 C 5987,
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131946, at *9 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 15, 2011)
(citing Moorish Nat'l Republic v. City of Chi.,
No. 10-cv-1047, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78904 (N.D. Ill. July
19, 2011)); Moorish Nat'l Republic v. City of
Chi., No. 10-cv-1047, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78904, at
*24 (N.D. Ill. July 19, 2011) (citing Sanders-Bey v.
United States, 267 Fed.Appx. 464, 466 (7th Cir. 2008)).
Therefore, the court finds frivolous all such arguments,
including that White “has the right to control the
territory the [sic] he … stands as a Moor
…” (ECF No. 1 at 3); claims under the
“Treaty of Peace and Friendship” (ECF No. 1 at
3-4); claims under “The Charter of the United Nations
Declaration on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and
Selassie I Government” (ECF No. 1 at 3); and that he
was “officiating as a Sovereign Governing
National” (ECF No. 1 at 3).
the remainder of his allegations with respect to Officer
Ozelie, at best the court might be able to speculate as to
constitutional claims White may be attempting to present.
Although the court must broadly construe his complaint in
light of his pro se status, that does not mean the court is
to guess as to the claim a litigant may be asserting, and it
certainly does not permit the court to rewrite a complaint to
state a claim. The court finds that White has failed to
present a plausible claim against Officer Ozelie. However,
because that conclusion may be the result of a lack of
clarity in White's complaint, the court will permit White
the opportunity to amend his complaint. This permission to
amend is limited to constitutional claims.
the court concludes that White has not alleged a plausible
claim under the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Charter of
the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, or any other purported authority. Moreover, because
White's claims against Sgt. Perry are not based on the
Constitution, the court finds White has failed to allege any
claim against Sgt. Perry. However, the court will afford
White the opportunity to amend his complaint to attempt to
allege a plausible constitutional claim against Officer
also alleges that on April 18, 2019, Milwaukee Police Officer
L. Rodgers similarly “illegally apprehended and
detained” White. White demands to be “fully
compensated for his marijuana that was illegally confiscated
by Officer L. Rodgers.” (ECF No. 1 at 5.) White
similarly alleges that Officer Rodgers's actions violated