United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
who is currently housed at Autry State Prison in Pelham,
Georgia, filed a Complaint, as amended, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 contesting certain events allegedly occurring in
Brunswick, Georgia. (Docs. 1, 3, 4.) Plaintiff also filed a
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc.
2.) For the reasons which follow, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to
Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) For these same
reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court
DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint, as
amended, for failure to state a claim and
DIRECT the Clerk of Court to
CLOSE this case and enter the appropriate
judgment of dismissal. Additionally, I
RECOMMEND the Court DENY
Plaintiff leave to appeal in forma pauperis.
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff contends Defendant Sheri Doyle,
a detective with the Brunswick Police Department, arrested
him without probable cause on May 8, 2002. (Doc. 4, p. 6.) He
implies Defendant Barbara Retzer, a forensic investigator
with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, testified falsely
about test results and did not preserve evidence.
(Id. at pp. 2, 17.) Plaintiff also contends
Defendants Judge E.M. Wilkes, III, and Judge Stephen
Scarlett; District Attorneys Jackie Johnson and Stephen
Kelly; Assistant District Attorneys Leslie DeVoogt and Keith
Higgins; Public Defender J. Jeff Lacy; and the remaining
named Defendants conspired to convict him of incest and to
keep Plaintiff in prison at all costs. (Id. at pp.
14-22.) Plaintiff maintains he was prosecuted maliciously
because the evidence at trial showed he did not commit the
crimes for which he was charged. (Id. at pp. 28-29.)
Plaintiff claims he was slandered and that Defendants
intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him.
(Id. at pp. 32-34.) In addition, Plaintiff contends
Defendants Wilkes and Scarlett silenced him by failing to
conduct hearings he requested. (Id. at p. 35.) As
relief, Plaintiff requests that this Court order the Glynn
County Superior Court to conduct an evidentiary hearing and
over $65, 000, 000.00 in monetary damages. (Id. at
seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. Under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), the Court may authorize the
filing of a civil lawsuit without the prepayment of fees if
the plaintiff submits an affidavit that includes a statement
of all of his assets, shows an inability to pay the filing
fee, and also includes a statement of the nature of the
action which shows that he is entitled to redress. Even if
the plaintiff proves indigence, the Court must dismiss the
action if it is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). Additionally, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court must review a complaint in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity.
Upon such screening, the Court must dismiss a complaint, or
any portion thereof, that is frivolous, malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or which
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Court looks to the instructions for pleading contained in the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when reviewing a Complaint
on an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 (“A pleading that states
a claim for relief must contain [among other things] . . . a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 10
(requiring that claims be set forth in numbered paragraphs,
each limited to a single set of circumstances). Further, a
claim is frivolous under Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) “if
it is ‘without arguable merit either in law or
fact.'” Napier v. Preslicka, 314 F.3d 528,
531 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting Bilal v. Driver, 251
F.3d 1346, 1349 (11th Cir. 2001)).
a complaint fails to state a claim under Section
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Thompson v. Rundle, 393 F. App'x 675,
678 (11th Cir. 2010). Under that standard, this Court must
determine whether the complaint contains “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A plaintiff must assert “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not” suffice. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. Section 1915 also “accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Bilal, 251
F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 327 (1989)).
analysis, the Court will abide by the long-standing principle
that the pleadings of unrepresented parties are held to a
less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys and,
therefore, must be liberally construed. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); Boxer X v.
Harris, 437 F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006)
(“Pro se pleadings are held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by
attorneys[.]”) (quoting Hughes v. Lott, 350
F.3d 1157, 1160 (11th Cir. 2003)). However, Plaintiff's
unrepresented status will not excuse mistakes regarding
procedural rules. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993) (“We have never suggested that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
Dismissal Pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey and the
allegations contained in Plaintiff's Complaint center
around his criminal proceedings in Glynn County, Georgia.
While it appears that Plaintiff has been convicted, there is
nothing to indicate that his conviction has been reversed,
expunged, invalidated, called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, or otherwise
overturned. (Docs. 1, 3, 4.) Consequently, this Court is
precluded from reviewing his claims by the decision in
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Heck, a state prisoner filed a Section 1983 damages
action against the prosecutors and investigator in his
criminal case for their actions which resulted in his
conviction. The United States Supreme Court analogized the
plaintiff's claim to a common-law cause of action for
malicious prosecution, which requires as an element of the
claim that the prior criminal proceeding was terminated in
favor of the accused. 512 U.S. at 484. The Supreme Court
We think the hoary principle that civil tort actions are not
appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of
outstanding criminal judgments applies to § 1983 damages
actions that necessarily require the plaintiff to prove the
unlawfulness of his conviction or confinement, just as it had
always applied to actions for malicious prosecution (footnote
We hold that, in order to recover damages for allegedly
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other
harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid, (footnote omitted), a
§ 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for
damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence
that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under
§ 1983. Thus, when a state prisoner seeks damages in a
§ 1983 suit, the district court must consider whether a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff would ...