Benjamin v. Hobbs et al
OPINION finding no merit to Benjamin's Objections 9 to the Proposed Findings and Recommended Partial Disposition 7 . Signed by Judge J. Leon Holmes on 9/11/12. (vjt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
No. 5:12CV00237 JLH/JTR
RAY HOBBS, Director,
Arkansas Department of Correction, et al.
United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray has entered Proposed Findings and
Recommended Partial Disposition in which he has recommended that some of Michael Benjamin’s
claims be dismissed and that Benjamin be allowed to proceed on others; and he has recommended that
Benjamin’s motion for preliminary injunction be denied. Benjamin has filed objections to the
Proposed Findings and Recommended Partial Disposition. Upon a de novo review, the Court adopts
the Proposed Findings and Recommended Partial Disposition and writes separately to explain why
Benjamin’s objections are without merit.
Benjamin’s first objection is that he did not consent to the magistrate judge’s conducting
findings or making any recommendations regarding his claim. Benjamin apparently believes that the
magistrate judge has no authority to make proposed findings and recommended dispositions without
his consent, but that belief is mistaken. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b); Local Rule
Benjamin’s next two objections appear to go together. He says that he claims that a subgroup of defendants conspired with other state, federal, and local officials to cover up a false arrest
caught on tape, a malicious prosecution, and to murder the plaintiff; and he says that the magistrate
judge misrepresented his claim. He does not explain what he means when he says that the magistrate
judge misrepresented his claim, but presumably he was referring to the allegation in the complaint that
the defendants conspired with other officials to murder him in order to cover up a malicious
prosecution on a false arrest caught on tape. The magistrate judge did not mention that allegation
in his Proposed Findings and Recommended Partial Disposition. Although Benjamin makes that
allegation in his complaint, he does so only in a conclusory fashion. There are no facts alleged to
support the allegation that he was falsely arrested or maliciously prosecuted or that anyone has
attempted to murder him in order to cover up a malicious prosecution on a false arrest. In reviewing
the sufficiency of the complaint, the Court is not required to accept as true such a conclusory
allegation. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868
Benjamin has attached to his complaint a copy of a judgment and commitment order from the
Circuit Court of Washington County, Arkansas, stating that on August 29, 2007, the court sentenced
him to two consecutive sentences of 300 months each following a trial by jury in which he was
convicted of delivery of a controlled substance (meth). The Court will take judicial notice of the fact
that Benjamin appealed his conviction, and the Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed. Benjamin v.
State, 102 Ark. App. 309, 285 S.W.3d 264 (2008). Thereafter, Benjamin filed a petition to vacate,
set aside, or correct his sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in the United States District Court
for the Western District of Arkansas. The opinion in that action states that Benjamin was convicted
in the Circuit Court of Washington County, Arkansas, on two counts of delivery of a controlled
substance and was sentenced to two consecutive 25-year terms in the Arkansas Department of
Correction. Benjamin v. Norris, 2009 WL 2136047 (W.D. Ark. July 15, 2009). The Western
District of Arkansas denied Benjamin’s section 2254 petition. Id. Benjamin’s conclusory allegation
that he was falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted is belied by the fact that he was convicted and
his conviction was affirmed. Moreover, any claim that necessarily implies the invalidity of his
conviction is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87, 114 S. Ct. 2364, 2372, 119 L. Ed.
2d 383 (1984).1 Consequently, Magistrate Judge Ray was correct to disregard the conclusory
allegation of a conspiracy to murder Benjamin in order to cover up a false arrest and a malicious
There is no merit to Benjamin’s objections to the Proposed Findings and Recommended
DATED this 11th day of September, 2012.
J. LEON HOLMES
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Benjamin alleges that he is in the Arkansas Department of Correction for a crime for which
he was not charged. The Western District of Arkansas addressed that claim in denying Benjamin’s
section 2254 petition.
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