782 Fed.Appx. 892 (11th Cir. 2019), 18-13184, Watkins v. Joy

Docket Nº:18-13184
Citation:782 Fed.Appx. 892
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM:
Party Name:Eric WATKINS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Officer A. JOY, Defendant-Appellee.
Attorney:Eric Watkins, Pro Se
Judge Panel:Before JORDAN, BRANCH and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 01, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Page 892

782 Fed.Appx. 892 (11th Cir. 2019)

Eric WATKINS, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Officer A. JOY, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 18-13184

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

August 1, 2019

Editorial Note:

DO NOT PUBLISH. (See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1. See also U.S.Ct. of App. 11th Cir. Rule 36-2.)

Eric Watkins, Pro Se

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, D.C. Docket No. 0:18-cv-61330-BB

Before JORDAN, BRANCH and JULIE CARNES, Circuit Judges.



Eric Watkins, proceeding pro se, appeals the district court’s denial of his motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and sua sponte dismissal of his

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42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action. Mr. Watkins alleged Fourteenth Amendment Due Process and Fourth Amendment violations by Officer A. Joy, in her individual capacity, when she ordered him to vacate a private parking lot. Because Mr. Watkins did not state a valid Due Process claim, we affirm in that regard. Although the district court may have erred in failing to address Mr. Watkin’s Fourth Amendment claim, the potential error was harmless because the facts alleged in Mr. Watkin’s complaint do not amount to a search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.


On June 16, 2014, Mr. Watkins was in a parking lot adjacent to a shopping center. Officer Joy and two other officers from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office ("BSO") arrived, advised him that he was trespassing, and instructed him to leave. Mr. Watkins told the officers they did not have authority to order him to leave because there were no "No Trespassing" signs or signs indicating that the BSO had authority to issue trespass warnings on the property. The officers threatened to arrest him if he did not leave, and Mr. Watkins left.

Mr. Watkins filed suit, arguing that Florida’s trespass statute grants Florida citizens a due process right to not be ordered to leave property by law enforcement officers who have no authority to do so, and that the Eleventh Circuit has recognized a liberty interest to be on property open to the public. He also raised a Fourth Amendment claim, asserting that Officer Joy and the other officers had stopped or detained him without reasonable suspicion and unreasonably seized him without probable cause.

Mr. Watkins moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which the district court denied, stating without...

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