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 the Glynn County Detention Center
in Brunswick, Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 contesting certain events which allegedly
occurred in Brunswick, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also
filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel. (Docs.
2, 3.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motions. For these
same reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court
DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint based on
his failure to state a claim, DIRECT the
Clerk of Court to CLOSE this case and enter
the appropriate judgment of dismissal, and
DENY Plaintiff in forma pauperis
status on appeal.
Complaint, Plaintiff contends he was arrested at his
mother's residence on May 23, 2017, based on several
charges of forgery in the fourth degree. (Doc. 1, p. 9.) He
was then transported to the headquarters of the Glynn County
Police Department, where he was questioned about the alleged
forgeries and the whereabouts of his mother, Lisa Mansfield.
Plaintiff asserts that on May 25, 2017, Defendant Jeffrey C.
Williams charged him with theft by taking a motor vehicle
which belonged to his mother, even though the vehicle had not
been reported stolen and was at his mother's residence.
(Id.) Plaintiff avers Defendant Williams then gave
perjured testimony to a grand jury, which led to Plaintiff
being indicted on June 14, 2017, for murder, despite a lack
of evidence. (Id.) Plaintiff maintains Defendant
Williams' actions have led to Plaintiff's malicious
prosecution and defamation of character, as the charges
pending against Plaintiff have been published in social and
news media. (Id. at pp. 9-10.) Plaintiff seeks $100,
000.00 in damages for defamation of character and for the
costs that he contends he will incur for relocating to
another state, as well as monetary damages for false
imprisonment, lost wages, and deprivation of liberties.
(Id. at p. 3.)
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, 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
allegations contained in Plaintiff's Complaint center
around his ongoing criminal proceedings in Glynn County,
Georgia. There is no indication from his Complaint that
Plaintiff has been convicted, much less whether that
conviction has been reversed, expunged, invalidated, called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus, or otherwise overturned. (Doc. 1.)
Consequently, this Court is precluded from reviewing his
claims by the decision in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
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 be 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