Riley v. Craighead County
ORDER that Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. This dismissal counts as a "strike" for purposes of 28 U.S.C. Section 1915(g). The Court certifies that an in forma pauperis appeal taken from the Order & Judgment dismissing this action is considered frivolous & not in good faith. Signed by Judge James M. Moody on 7/12/2011. (jct)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
BENNY RAY RILEY, JR.
NO: 3:11CV00093 JMM
Plaintiff, currently held at the Craighead County Detention Facility, filed this pro se
complaint (docket entry #2), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on May 24, 2011. Because Plaintiff has
failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, his complaint must be dismissed.
Before docketing the complaint, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the Court must review
the complaint to identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint if it: (1) is frivolous or
malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)
requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
In Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (overruling Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41 (1967), and setting new standard for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted), the Court stated, “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the ‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment]to
relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do....Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level,” citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235236 (3d ed. 2004). A complaint must contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face, not merely conceivable. Twombly at 570. However, a pro se plaintiff's allegations must
be construed liberally. Burke v. North Dakota Dept. of Corr. & Rehab., 294 F.3d 1043, 1043-1044
(8th Cir.2002) (citations omitted).
According to Plaintiff’s complaint, he was sentenced to 270 days in jail or rehabilitation for
two misdemeanor offenses. Plaintiff began his sentence at the Craighead County Detention Center,
and then transferred to a rehabilitation facility. However, when he returned to the detention center,
Plaintiff claims, he was not given credit for time he previously served, and is scheduled to serve 15
months on his sentence as a result of the error. Plaintiff seeks credit for time he served, his
immediate release, and damages for the time he spent in confinement beyond the 270 day sentence.
Plaintiff’s only remedy for challenging the lawfulness of his continued incarceration is a writ
of habeas corpus, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81 (2005)
(state prisoners may use only habeas remedies when they seek to invalidate duration of confinement,
either directly through injunction compelling speedier release or indirectly through judicial
determination that necessarily implies unlawfulness of State's custody); Echols v. Kemna, 511 F.3d
783, 785 (8th Cir. 2007) (explaining that a petitioner generally must fully exhaust all available state
remedies before commencing a federal habeas action to invalidate his commitment).
Additionally, Plaintiff cannot be awarded damages because any judgment in his favor would
imply the invalidity of his continued incarceration. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
In Heck, the United States Supreme Court held that if a judgment in favor of a prisoner in a § 1983
action would necessarily imply the invalidity of the conviction, continued imprisonment, or sentence,
then no claim for damages lies unless the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged or called into
question by issuance of a federal writ of habeas corpus. Id. at 486-487. There is no indication that
Plaintiff’s conviction has been reversed, expunged or called into question by issuance of a federal
writ of habeas corpus, and any judgement in his favor would certainly imply the invalidity of his
continued incarceration. Accordingly, Plaintiff has failed to state an actionable claim, and his
complaint must be dismissed.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
Plaintiff’s complaint is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
This dismissal counts as a “strike” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
The Court certifies that an in forma pauperis appeal taken from the order and
judgment dismissing this action is considered frivolous and not in good faith.
DATED this 12
day of July, 2011.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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