Lingo v. State of Alabama et al (INMATE1)

Filing 4

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 1 Inmate 1983 Complaint filed by Ralph Wilson Lingo, that this case be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Objections to R&R due by 6/7/2006. Signed by Judge Charles S. Coody on 5/25/2006. (dmn)

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Lingo v. State of Alabama et al (INMATE1) Doc. 4 Case 1:06-cv-00462-WHA-CSC Document 4 Filed 05/25/2006 Page 1 of 5 IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA S O U T H E R N DIVISION R A L P H LINGO, Plaintiff, v. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CASE NO. 1:06-CV-462-WHA [WO] S T A T E OF ALABAMA, et al., Defendants. R E C O M M E N D A T I O N OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE In this 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, Ralph Wilson Lingo ["Lingo"], an inmate presently c o n f in e d at the Montgomery City Jail, challenges a conviction entered against him by the C irc u it Court of Henry County, Alabama. Lingo names the State of Alabama, the Alabama P lu m b in g and Gas Board, David Wilcox, a state plumbing inspector, and the Henry County C o u r t as defendants in this case. Lingo seeks monetary damages from the defendants. P la in tiff's Complaint at 4. Upon review of the complaint, the court concludes that dismissal of this case prior to serv ice of process is proper under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).1 1. 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 Case 1:06-cv-00462-WHA-CSC Document 4 Filed 05/25/2006 Page 2 of 5 I . DISCUSSION L in g o attacks the validity of a conviction imposed upon him by the Circuit Court of H e n ry County, Alabama arising from his "do[ing] mobile home plumbing and plumbing re p a irs ." Plaintiff's Complaint at 3. Specifically, Lingo complains that the trial judge " re f u se [ d ] [him] a jury trial" and failed to bring him before the court for entry of his guilty p le a . Id. at 2. Lingo further argues that counsel "lied" when he advised plaintiff "to sign a w a iv e r" in a separate criminal case from Houston County because the document he "sign[ed] w a s actually a guilty plea" for the Henry County case. Id. at 2-3. Lingo further maintains th a t his actions which formed the basis for the conviction did not constitute a crime under s ta te law. Id. at 3. The aforementioned claims go to the fundamental legality of Lingo's c o n v ic tio n . These claims therefore provide no basis for relief under 1983 at this time. E d w a r d s v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997); Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); P r e is e r 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 is not cognizable in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action "unless and until the c o n v ictio n or sentence is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or impugned by the grant of a writ o f habeas corpus" and complaints containing such claims must thisefore be dismissed. 512 U .S . at 483-489. Under Heck, the relevant inquiry is "whether a judgment in favor of the p la in tif f would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence." 512 U.S. at 2 Case 1:06-cv-00462-WHA-CSC Document 4 Filed 05/25/2006 Page 3 of 5 4 8 7 . The Court emphasized that "habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a . . . prisoner w h o challenges" a conviction or sentence, "even though such a claim may come within the lite ra l terms of 1983" and, based on the foregoing, concluded that Heck's complaint was d u e to be dismissed as no cause of action existed under section 1983. 512 U.S. at 481. In so doing, the Supreme Court rejected the lower court's reasoning that a 1983 action should b e construed as a habeas corpus action. In Balisok, the Court concluded that a state prisoner's "claim[s] for declaratory [and in ju n c tiv e ] relief and money damages, . . . that necessarily imply the invalidity of the p u n is h m e n t imposed, is not cognizable under 1983 . . ." unless the prisoner can d e m o n s tra te that the challenged action has previously been invalidated. 520 U.S. at 648. M o re o v e r, the Court determined that this is true not only when a prisoner challenges the ju d g m e n t as a substantive matter but also when "the nature of the challenge to the procedures c o u ld be such as necessarily to imply the invalidity of the judgment." Id. at 645. The Court re ite ra te d its position taken in Heck that the "sole remedy in federal court" for a prisoner c h a lle n g in g the constitutionality of a conviction or sentence is a petition for writ of habeas c o rp u s . Balisok, 520 U.S. at 645. Additionally, the Court "reemphasize[d] . . . that a claim e ith e r is cognizable under 1983 and should immediately go forward, or is not cognizable a n d should be dismissed." Id. at 649. 3 Case 1:06-cv-00462-WHA-CSC Document 4 Filed 05/25/2006 Page 4 of 5 T h e claims presented in the present complaint challenge the constitutionality of a c o n v ic tio n imposed upon Lingo by the Circuit Court of Henry County. A judgment in favor o f Lingo on the pending claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of this conviction. It i s clear from the complaint that the conviction about which Lingo complains has not been in v a lid a te d in an appropriate proceeding. Consequently, the instant collateral attack on the ju d g m e n t of the state court is prohibited and subject to summary dismissal by this court in a c c o rd a n c e with the directives of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Balisok, 520 U.S. at 645; H e c k, 512 U.S. at 481; Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-490 (1973). CONCLUSION A c c o rd in g ly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that this case be d is m is s e d without prejudice pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). It is further ORDERED that on or before June 7, 2006 the parties may file objections to this R e c o m m e n d a tio n . Any objections filed must clearly identify the findings in the Magistrate J u d g e 's Recommendation to which the party is objecting. Frivolous, conclusive or general o b jec tio n s will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are advised that this R e c o m m e n d a tio n is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable. F a ilu re to file written objections to the proposed findings and advisements in the M a g is tra te Judge's Recommendation shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the 4 Case 1:06-cv-00462-WHA-CSC Document 4 Filed 05/25/2006 Page 5 of 5 D is tric t Court of issues covered in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from a tta c k in g on appeal factual findings in the Recommendation accepted or adopted by the D is tric t Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. W a in w r ig h t, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1982). See Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 3 3 (11th Cir. 1982). See also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981, en b a n c ), adopting as binding precedent all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981. D o n e this 25 th day of May, 2006. /s/Charles S. Coody CHARLES S. COODY C H IE F UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 5

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