Butler v. Manila Police Department et al
ORDER that Michael Butler's complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to Plaintiff's right to reassert his claim should his imprisonment be invalidated by a state tribunal or federal court. This dismissal constitutes a "strike" fo r purposes of 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g). It is certified pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(a)(3) that an in forma pauperis appeal taken from the Order & Judgment dismissing this action frivolous & not in good faith. Signed by Judge Brian S. Miller on 8/24/2011. (jct)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CASE NO. 3:11CV00088-BSM
MANILA POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al.
Plaintiff Michael Butler, a state inmate incarcerated at the Varner Super Max Unit of
the Arkansas Department of Correction, has been granted in forma pauperis status to proceed
in this action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983.
In his complaint, Butler states he was arrested in May 2002 for failing to pay
restitution of $439.84, and was incarcerated on the charge for forty-three days in the
Mississippi County Jail. He states he has been incarcerated since that time and is scheduled
to be released next year, but recently learned that he still owes the $439.84 restitution charge.
Butler claims that by serving forty-three days incarceration, he satisfied the restitution, and
also claims he was incarcerated pursuant to an illegal sentence. Butler seeks compensation
for the forty-three days he was illegally detained, together with punitive damages and legal
A prisoner’s complaint against a governmental entity, officer, or employee must be
reviewed to identify whether it sets forth cognizable claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The
complaint must be dismissed if the prisoner has raised claims that: (1) are legally frivolous
or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seek monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
An action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In reviewing a pro se
complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B), the complaint must be given the benefit of a liberal
construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). All factual allegations must also
be weighed in favor of Butler, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).
Regardless of whether a plaintiff is represented or appearing pro se, their complaint must
allege specific facts sufficient to state a claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F .2d 1334, 1337
(8th Cir. 1985).
To survive screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1)
screening, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 29 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009)
(citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,” but it asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint
pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line
between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Id. at 545-46.
Butler’s complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994). If a judgment in favor of a prisoner in an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
would necessarily imply the invalidity of the conviction, continued imprisonment, or
sentence, then no damages claim lies unless the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged,
or called into question by a state tribunal or federal court. Id. at 487. See also Sheldon v.
Hundley, 83 F.3d 231 (8th Cir. 1996). In this case, a judgment in favor of Butler on his
complaint for damages would imply the invalidity of his imprisonment in 2002, and Butler
does not allege or offer any evidence that his sentence was reversed, expunged or called into
question by a state tribunal or federal court. Therefore, his complaint is dismissed.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that
Butler’s complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to Plaintiff’s
right to reassert his claim should his imprisonment be invalidated by a state
tribunal or federal court.
This dismissal constitutes a “strike” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
It is certified pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an in forma pauperis
appeal taken from the order and judgment dismissing this action is considered
frivolous and not in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 24th day of August, 2011.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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