King #544586 v. Moyes et al
OPINION ; signed by Judge R. Allan Edgar (EDTN Judge R. Allan Edgar, cam)
King #544586 v. Moyes et al
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN NORTHERN DIVISION
DENNIS BRADFORD KING, Plaintiff, v. MICHAEL MOYES, et al., Defendants. ____________________________________/ OPINION This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, PUB. L. NO. 104-134, 110 STAT. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for failure to state a claim. Case No. 2:10-cv-234 Honorable R. Allan Edgar
Discussion I. Factual allegations
Plaintiff Dennis Bradford King, an inmate at the Marquette Branch Prison, filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Michael Moyes and David G. Hoft. In his complaint, Plaintiff states that on February 7, 2007, Plaintiff was brought before Judge James Betzer, at the Benzie County Circuit Court. Michigan State Trooper Michael Moyes testified the he pulled Plaintiff over for having a light out, and discovered that there was a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. Defendant Moyes searched Plaintiff's car and discovered drugs. Plaintiff's motion to quash the evidence was denied on May 11, 2007. Plaintiff pleaded guilty of possessing the drugs and was sentenced as an habitual drug offender. Plaintiff claims that his counsel was ineffective because he was not advised of the sentence he would receive. Plaintiff seeks to preserve his right to challenge his sentence. II. Failure to state a claim
A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if "`it fails to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."). The court must determine whether the complaint contains "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the -2-
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a "`probability requirement,' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged but it has not `show[n]' that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 (quoting FED. R. CIV . P. 8(a)(2)). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). Plaintiff's claims implicate the fact and / or duration of his confinement and therefore must be brought as claims for habeas corpus relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973) (habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of his confinement and seeks immediate or speedier release). Therefore, dismissal of his claims is appropriate. See Barnes v. Lewis, No. 93-5698, 1993 WL 515483 (6th Cir. Dec. 10, 1993) (dismissal is appropriate where § 1983 action seeks equitable relief and challenges fact or duration of confinement); Moore v. Pemberton, 110 F.3d 22 (7th Cir. 1997) (reasons for not construing a § 1983 action as one seeking habeas relief include (1) potential application of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), (2) differing defendants, (3) differing -3-
standards of § 1915(a)(3) and § 2253 (c), (4) differing fee requirements, (5) potential application of second or successive petition doctrine or three-strikes rules of § 1915(g)). Conclusion Having conducted the review now required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Court determines that Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the Court will assess the $455.00 appellate filing fee pursuant to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at 610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis, e.g., by the "three-strikes" rule of § 1915(g). If he is barred, he will be required to pay the $455.00 appellate filing fee in one lump sum. This is a dismissal as described by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). A Judgment consistent with this Opinion will be entered.
/s/ R. Allan Edgar R. Allan Edgar United States District Judge
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