Lynch v. Salyer
MEMORANDUM OPINION Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 8/9/17. (SAC )
2017 Aug-09 AM 10:36
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
OCIE LEE LYNCH,
JEFFREY W. SALYER,
Case No. 2:16-CV-00967-KOB-JHE
The magistrate judge filed a report on June 12, 2017, recommending this
action be dismissed without prejudice for failing to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). (Doc. 13). The plaintiff has
filed objections to the report and recommendation. (Doc. 14).
After repeating the factual allegations supporting his claims, the plaintiff
declares he is “not attacking his [state capital] conviction” and sentence, and
therefore is not seeking habeas relief. (Id. at 1-7). Instead, his “civil complaint” is
to “expose” with “the facts how unprofessional Mr. Jeffrey Salyer acted” as his
capital defense counsel “and how neglectful and careless he was” to the plaintiff
“as a client.” (Id.).
For relief, the plaintiff desires “closure” and “knowledge” for himself and
his family that Salyer is “being held accountable” for using his appointment as the
plaintiff’s defense counsel to engage in professional misconduct and poor
judgment during the state court capital proceedings as a “personal vendetta”
against the plaintiff. (Id.). The plaintiff also demands Salyer “pay for” breaking
his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution
and the Alabama State Constitution. (Id.). Finally, the plaintiff clarifies that his
request for appointment of federal counsel is not because he desires habeas
representation in this § 1983 case, but is because he does not trust any state public
defenders to represent him in state post-conviction proceedings. (Id. at 8).
Despite his insistence to the contrary, the plaintiff’s allegations do attack the
validity of his state court capital conviction and sentence as a matter of law. He
declares his innocence and asserts Salyer’s professional misconduct during the
state court capital proceedings violated his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment
constitutional rights. (Doc. 1 at 6; Doc. 14 at 7). He requests appointment of a
federal lawyer for the express purpose of pursuing state post-conviction remedies
to “fix this major problem caused by Mr. Salyer.” (Doc. 1 at 6; Doc. 14 at 8).
A judgment in his favor for declaratory or monetary relief as to either of
these claims would necessarily imply the invalidity of his convictions and
sentence. See Chandler v. United States, 218 F.3d 1305, 1312-13 (11th Cir. 2000)
(quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 688, 694 (1984) (“To succeed on a
claim of ineffective assistance, Petitioner must show both incompetence and . . .
that there ‘is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors,
the result of the proceeding would have been different.’”) (internal citation
omitted, emphasis supplied)); Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 342 (1963)
(“the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of right to
counsel obligatory upon the States.” )•
“[A] prisoner in state custody cannot use a § 1983 action to challenge ‘the
fact or duration of his confinement.’” Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 78 (2005)
(quoting Preiser v. Rodriquez, 411 U.S. 475, 489 (1973)); Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477, 486 (1994) (C]ivil tort actions are not appropriate vehicles for
challenging the validity of outstanding criminal judgments.”). The plaintiff’s
allegations against his attorney challenge—even if indirectly—the validity of his
state court conviction.
Further, even if his allegations did not bring into issue the validity of his
conviction, as the magistrate judge explained, his civil action against his attorney
cannot be brought in federal court. This federal court has very limited jurisdiction.
Mr. Lynch tries to invoke its jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. But without
actions under color of state law, his claim under § 1983 is legally flawed. In
reaching this decision, neither the magistrate judge nor this judge make any
determination of the merits of Mr. Lynch’s allegations against Mr. Salyer—only
that the allegations do not support a claim under § 1983 and do not confer
jurisdiction on this court.
The plaintiff’s objections are OVERRULED and the plaintiff’s request for
appointment of federal lawyer to represent him during any state post-conviction
proceedings is DENIED.
Having carefully reviewed and considered de novo all the materials in the
court file, including the report and recommendation, and the plaintiff’s objections,
the court ADOPTS the magistrate judge’s report and ACCEPTS the
Therefore, in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the
plaintiff’s federal claims are due to be dismissed without prejudice. Additionally,
the plaintiff’s state law claims asserted in the complaint are due to be dismissed
without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).
The court will enter a separate Final Order.
DONE and ORDERED this 9th day of August, 2017.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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