Bryant v. Anderson et al (INMATE1)

Filing 4

RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that this case be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to the provisions of 28 USC 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Objections to R&R due by 5/1/2006. Signed by Judge Delores R. Boyd on 4/18/06. (sl, )

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Bryant v. Anderson et al (INMATE1) Doc. 4 Case 1:06-cv-00334-WKW-DRB Document 4 Filed 04/18/2006 Page 1 of 4 IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA SOUTHERN DIVISION KEVIN BRYANT, Plaintiff, v. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) 1:06-CV-334-WKW [WO] JUDGE LARRY ANDERSON, et al., Defendants. RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE In this 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, Kevin Bryant ["Bryant"], an indigent inmate, challenges the constitutionality of a conviction and sentence imposed upon him by the Circuit Court of Houston County, Alabama on December 23, 2003 for distribution of a controlled substance. Plaintiff's Complaint at 2-3. Bryant seeks freedom from incarceration. Id. at 3. Upon review of the complaint, the court concludes that dismissal of this case prior to service of process is proper under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).1 I. DISCUSSION Bryant attacks the validity of a 2003 conviction and sentence imposed upon him by the Circuit Court of Houston County, Alabama for distribution of a controlled substance. In support of his complaint, Bryant asserts that the trial court improperly enhanced his sentence and argues that he did not commit the crime for which he stands convicted. Plaintiff's Complaint at 2-3. Bryant further A prisoner who is allowed to proceed in forma pauperis in this court will have his complaint screened in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). This screening procedure requires the court to dismiss a prisoner's civil action prior to service of process if it determines that the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). 1 Dockets.Justia.com Case 1:06-cv-00334-WKW-DRB Document 4 Filed 04/18/2006 Page 2 of 4 maintains that his conviction is based on false and inconclusive testimony. Id. The aforementioned claims go to the fundamental legality of Bryant's conviction and sentence. Consequently, these claims provide no basis for relief at this time. Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997); Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). In Heck, the Supreme Court held that a claim for damages challenging the legality of a prisoner's conviction or confinement is not cognizable in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action "unless and until the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or impugned by the grant of a writ of habeas corpus" and complaints containing such claims must thisefore be dismissed. 512 U.S. at 483489. Under Heck, the relevant inquiry is "whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence." 512 U.S. at 487. The Court emphasized that "habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a . . . prisoner who challenges" a conviction or sentence, "even though such a claim may come within the literal terms of 1983" and, based on the foregoing, concluded that Heck's complaint was due to be dismissed as no cause of action existed under section 1983. 512 U.S. at 481. In so doing, the Court rejected the lower court's reasoning that a section 1983 action should be construed as a habeas corpus action. In Balisok, the Court concluded that a state prisoner's "claim[s] for declaratory [and injunctive] relief and money damages, . . . that necessarily imply the invalidity of the punishment imposed, is not cognizable under 1983 . . ." unless the prisoner can demonstrate that the challenged action has previously been invalidated. 520 U.S. at 648. Moreover, the Court determined that this is true not only when a prisoner challenges the judgment as a substantive matter but also when "the nature of the challenge to the procedures could be such as necessarily to imply the invalidity of the judgment." Id. at 645. The Court reiterated the position taken in Heck that the "sole remedy in federal court" for a prisoner challenging the constitutionality of a conviction or sentence is a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Case 1:06-cv-00334-WKW-DRB Document 4 Filed 04/18/2006 Page 3 of 4 Balisok, 520 U.S. at 645. Additionally, the Court "reemphasize[d] . . . that a claim either is cognizable under 1983 and should immediately go forward, or is not cognizable and should be dismissed." Id. at 649. The claims presented in the instant complaint challenge the constitutionality of a conviction and sentence imposed upon Bryant by the Circuit Court of Houston County on December 23, 2003. A judgment in favor of Bryant on these claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of this conviction and sentence. It is clear from the complaint that the conviction and sentence about which Bryant complains have not been invalidated in an appropriate proceeding. Consequently, the instant collateral attack on the judgment of the state court is prohibited and subject to summary dismissal by this court in accordance with the directivess of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Balisok, 520 U.S. at 645; Heck, 512 U.S. at 481; Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-490 (1973). CONCLUSION Accordingly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that this case be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). It is further ORDERED that on or before May 1, 2006 the parties may file objections to this Recommendat io n. Any objections filed must clearly identify the findings in the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation to which the party is objecting. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are advised that this Recommendation is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings and advisements in the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the District Court of issues covered in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual findings Case 1:06-cv-00334-WKW-DRB Document 4 Filed 04/18/2006 Page 4 of 4 in the Recommendation accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1982). See Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981, en banc), adopting as binding precedent all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981. Done this 18th day of April, 2006. /s/ Delores R. Boyd DELORES R. BOYD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

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