United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
who is currently housed at the Coffee County Jail in Douglas,
Georgia, filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
contesting certain events which allegedly occurred in Coffee
County, Georgia. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a Motion for
Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. (Doc. 2.) For
the reasons set forth below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's Motion. 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 Defendant Sanders, a police
officer, wrongfully accused him of criminal charges and
arrested him. (Doc. 1, p. 3.) Plaintiff also contends
Defendant Johnson, the District Attorney, indicted him
without evidence or a preliminary hearing. As relief,
Plaintiff requests that Defendants Sanders and Johnson be
fired from their positions and that he be paid for the time
he has been in jail. (Id. at p. 5.)
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 of Claims Pursuant to Heck v.
allegations contained in Plaintiff's Complaint center
around criminal proceedings in Coffee County, Georgia.
However, there is nothing before the Court indicating that he
has been convicted or 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. (Doc. 1.) 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 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