Mastin v. Bullock County Correctional Facility (INMATE1)

Filing 4

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS that: (1) the claims presented against the Bullock County Corr Fac be dismissed with prejudice in accordance with the directives of 28 USC 1915(e)(2)(B)(i); (2) the plf's challenge to the constitutionality of his state felony conviction be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to the provisions of 28 USC 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); (3) this case be dismissed prior to service of process pursuant to the provisions of 28 USC 1915O(3)(2)(B)(i) and (ii); Objections to R&R due by 10/27/2005. Signed by Judge Charles S. Coody on 10/15/05. (djy, )

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Mastin v. Bullock County Correctional Facility (INMATE1) Doc. 4 Case 2:05-cv-00965-ID-CSC Document 4 Filed 10/14/2005 Page 1 of 5 IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES F O R THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION E D D IE EDWARD MASTIN, #134688, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) ) B U L L O C K COUNTY CORRECTIONAL ) F A C IL IT Y , ) ) Defendant. ) C I V I L ACTION NO. 2:05-CV-965-D [W O ] R E C O M M E N D A T I O N OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE T h is is a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action in which Eddie Edward Mastin ["Mastin"], a state in m a te, challenges the constitutionality of his confinement at the Bullock County C o rre c tio n a l Facility. 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)(i) and (ii).1 DISCUSSION A . The Named Defendant M a stin names the Bullock County Correctional Facility as the sole defendant in this ca se. A correctional facility is not a legal entity subject to suit or liability under 42 U.S.C. 1983. See Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992). In light of the 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 2:05-cv-00965-ID-CSC Document 4 Filed 10/14/2005 Page 2 of 5 f o re g o in g , the court concludes that the plaintiff's claims against the Bullock County C o rre c tio n a l Facility are due to be dismissed in accordance with the directives of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319 (1989).2 B . The Challenges to Plaintiff's Conviction In his complaint, Mastin also attacks the validity of the conviction on which he is p re se n tly incarcerated. Specifically, Mastin asserts that a witness provided inaccurate te stim o n y and maintains that the gun used in the crime "was not mine." Plaintiff's C o m p la in t at 3-4. The claims presented in the instant complaint go to the fundamental le g a lity of Mastin's conviction. Consequently, these claims provide no basis for 1983 re lie f 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 a n d until the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or impugned by the g ra n t of a writ of habeas corpus" and complaints containing such claims must therefore be d ism issed . 512 U.S. at 483-489. Under Heck, the relevant inquiry is "whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence." 5 1 2 U.S. at 487. The Court emphasized that "habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a Although Neitzke interpreted the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(d), the predecessor to 1915(e)(2), the analysis contained therein remains applicable to the directives of the present statute. 2 2 Case 2:05-cv-00965-ID-CSC Document 4 Filed 10/14/2005 Page 3 of 5 . . . prisoner who challenges" a conviction or sentence, "even though such a claim may come w ith in the literal terms of 1983" and, based on the foregoing, concluded that Heck's c o m p l a in t 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 ac tio n 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, . . . th a t necessarily imply the invalidity of the punishment imposed, is not cognizable under 1 9 8 3 . . ." unless the prisoner can demonstrate that the challenged action has previously been in v a lid a te d . 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 c h a lle n g e to the procedures could be such as necessarily to imply the invalidity of the ju d g m e n t." 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. Balisok, 520 U.S. at 645. Additionally, the Court " re e m p h a siz e [ d ] . . . that a claim either is cognizable under 1983 and should immediately g o forward, or is not cognizable and should be dismissed." Id. at 649. In this case, Mastin raises claims challenging the constitutionality of a conviction im p o s e d upon him which forms the basis for his present incarceration. A judgment in favor o f Mastin on these claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of this conviction and the re su ltin g sentence. It is clear from the complaint that the conviction about which Mastin 3 Case 2:05-cv-00965-ID-CSC Document 4 Filed 10/14/2005 Page 4 of 5 c o m p la in s has not been invalidated in an appropriate proceeding. Consequently, the instant co llateral attack on the plaintiff's state conviction is prohibited and subject to summary d is m is s a l by this court pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Balisok, 5 2 0 U.S. at 645; Heck, 512 U.S. at 481; Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-490 (1973). C O N C L U SIO N A c c o rd in g ly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that: 1 . The claims presented against the Bullock County Correctional Facility be dismissed w ith prejudice in accordance with the directives of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). 2. The plaintiff's challenge to the constitutionality of his state felony conviction be d is m is s e d without prejudice pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 3. This case be dismissed prior to service of process pursuant to the provisions of 28 U .S .C . 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). It is further ORDERED that on or before October 27, 2005 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 2:05-cv-00965-ID-CSC Document 4 Filed 10/14/2005 Page 5 of 5 D is tric t Court of issues covered in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from attacking o n appeal factual findings in the Recommendation accepted or adopted by the District Court e x c e p t upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5 th Cir. 1982). See Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11th Cir. 1982). See also B o n n e r v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981, en banc), adopting as binding p re c ed e n t all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the close of business on September 30, 1981. D o n e this 14th day of October, 2005. /s/Charles S. Coody CHARLES S. COODY C H IE F UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 5

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