Craig v. Lorraine et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT. Signed by Chief District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr on 1/23/17. (JCH)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
HENRY LEE CRAIG, #76582
CAUSE NO. 1:16-cv-373-LG-RHW
LOUIE MILLER and
JAMES B. COMEY
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DISMISSING PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT
This cause is before the Court, sua sponte, for consideration of dismissal.
Plaintiff Henry Lee Craig, an inmate of the Mississippi Department of Corrections,
brings this pro se Complaint seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief. Craig
is proceeding in forma pauperis. See Order . The named Defendants are:
Jerome Lorraine, FBI Agent; Louie Miller, FBI Agent; and James B. Comey, FBI
Director. The Court, having liberally construed Craig’s Complaint  and Amended
Complaint  in consideration with the applicable law, finds that this case should be
Facts and Procedural History
In 2011, Craig was convicted of murder in the Jackson County Circuit Court
and sentenced to life imprisonment. Craig v. State, 110 So. 3d 807, 808 (Miss. Ct.
App. 2012). Craig’s conviction arises from a shooting that occurred in May of 2009.
Id. Agent Lorraine testified at Craig’s trial regarding statements Craig made to him
about the shooting and the victim. Id. at 809. According to Craig, Agents Lorraine
and Miller conspired to conceal evidence of a crime from Director Comey. Compl. 
at 4. Craig also claims that Lorraine and Miller conspired with the prosecutor’s
office “by concealing evidence of a crime of intimidation by federal agents.” Id.
According to Craig, the “crime of intimidation” occurred on June 4, 2009, June 11,
2009, August 26, 2010, and May 10, 2011. Am. Compl.  at 3 (CM/ECF
Craig brings this Complaint on forms available for prisoners seeking relief
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and also states that he is filing his claims under Bivens1 and
§§ 1981, 1985, and 1986. Compl.  at 1, 4. Craig seeks “compensatory relief,
punitive relief,” attorney’s fees, “injunctive relief” and “whatever relief this Court
deems necessary and appropriate.” Id. at 4; Am. Compl.  at 4 (CM/ECF
The Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (as amended),
applies to prisoner proceedings in forma pauperis, and provides that “the court shall
An action seeking damages for a constitutional violation by a federal agent is
properly pursued as a Bivens action. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed.
Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 397 (1971). A Bivens action is considered the “federal
analog” to suits brought against state actors under § 1983. Hartman v. Moore, 547 U.S. 250,
254 n.2 (2006).
In addition to this case, Craig has filed eight other Complaints in this Court against
various individuals involved in his criminal case from witnesses and jurors to law
enforcement officers, attorneys, and judges. See Craig v. Ishee, cause no. 3:16-cv-804; Craig
v. Gore, cause no. 3:16-cv-805; Craig v. Holmes, cause no. 3:16-cv-806; Craig v. Fountain,
cause no. 1:16-cv-372; Craig v. Lawrence, cause no. 1:16-cv-375; Craig v. Taylor, cause no.
1:16-cv-377; Craig v. Taylor, cause no. 1:16-cv-407; and Craig v. King, cause no. 1:16-cv421.
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . (B) the action or appeal
-- (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” Since Craig is proceeding in forma pauperis, his Complaint is subject to the
case-screening procedures set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2). Having completed
that screening, it is apparent that Craig’s claims are barred by absolute witness
immunity, the applicable statute of limitations, and by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
“Absolute immunity is immunity from suit rather than simply a defense
against liability, and is a threshold question ‘to be resolved as early in the
proceedings as possible.’” Hulsey v. Owens, 63 F.3d 654, 356 (5th Cir. 1995) (quoting
Boyd v. Biggers, 31 F.3d 279, 284 (5th Cir. 1994)). Witnesses in grand jury
proceedings and criminal trials are entitled to absolute immunity against § 1983
suits. Rehberg v. Paulk, 132 S.Ct. 1497, 1506 (2012); see also Wafer v. Person, 70 F.
App’x 194, 195 (5th Cir. 2003) (absolute immunity for witness testimony extends to
Bivens actions). Insofar as Craig claims his rights were violated by Lorraine’s
testimony during his criminal proceedings, Craig’s claims are barred by absolute
immunity. Rehberg, 132 S.Ct. at 1506-07; see also Mowbray v. Cameron Cnty., Tex.,
274 F.3d 269, 277-78 (5th Cir. 2001) (finding absolute witness immunity bars claims
for conspiracy to commit perjury).
Statute of Limitations
“A district court ‘may raise the defense of limitations sua sponte . . . [and]
[d]ismissal is appropriate if it is clear from the face of the complaint that the claims
asserted are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.’” Stanley v. Foster, 464
F.3d 565, 568 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 156 (5th
Cir. 1999)). Claims brought under § 1983 or Bivens are controlled by the applicable
state statute of limitations. See Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 240 (1989) (§ 1983
claims); Brown v. Nationsbank Corp., 188 F.3d 579, 590 (5th Cir. 1999)(Bivens
action); see also Mitchell v. Crescent River Port Pilots Ass’n, 265 F. App’x 363, 367,
367 n.3 (5th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted) (finding state’s personal injury limitation
period applies to claims under § 1981 and § 1985, but noting that § 1986 specifically
includes a one-year statute of limitations). The applicable Mississippi statute of
limitations period is three years. See Rankin v. United States, 556 F. App’x 305, 310
(5th Cir. 2014) (Bivens action); James v. Sadler, 909 F.2d 834, 836 (5th Cir. 1990) (§
1983 claims); see also Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49 (1972), as amended.3
While Mississippi law governs the applicable limitations period, federal law
governs when a claim accrues. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007) (§ 1983
claims); Rankin v. United States, 556 F. App’x 305, 310 (5th Cir. 2014) (Bivens
The Court recognizes that certain claims brought under the civil rights statutes,
namely those made possible by a post-1990 Congressional enactment, are subject to the
federal four-year catch-all statute of limitations set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1658. Jones v. R. R.
Donnelley & Sons, Co., 541 U.S. 369, 382 (2004). The Court finds that none of Craig’s
purported claims qualify for application of § 1658.
action). An action accrues when a plaintiff has “a complete and present cause of
action.” Wallace, 549 U.S. at 388. As noted by the Fifth Circuit:
Under federal law, the [limitations] period begins to run the
moment the plaintiff becomes aware that he has suffered an
injury or has sufficient information to know that he has been
injured. A plaintiff’s awareness encompasses two elements: (1)
the existence of the injury; and (2) causation, that is, the
connection between the injury and the defendant’s actions. A
plaintiff need not know that she has a legal cause of action; she
need know only the facts that would ultimately support a claim.
Actual knowledge is not required if the circumstances would lead
a reasonable person to investigate further.
Piotrowski v. City of Houston, 237 F.3d 567, 576 (5th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation
marks and citations omitted); see also Walker v. Epps, 550 F.3d 407, 414 (5th Cir.
2008) (citing Piotrowski).
Craig filed this lawsuit in October 2016. His claims are premised on the
inadequacies of his criminal conviction, including Lorraine’s and Miller’s alleged
conspiracy to conceal evidence of a crime of intimidation. Craig specifically
maintains that Lorraine’s and Miller’s purported conduct causing his injury occurred
on June 4, 2009, June 11, 2009, August 26, 2010, and May 10, 2011. Am. Compl. 
at 3 (CM/ECF pagination). Furthermore, any trial testimony provided by Lorraine
occurred prior to Craig’s conviction in 2011. Craig’s claims accrued more than three
years prior to Craig filing the present action in October 2016, and are therefore
Heck v. Humphrey
Craig’s claims regarding the validity of his criminal conviction are also subject
to dismissal under Heck v. Humphrey. See 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Under Heck, where
a claim for damages would “necessarily imply” the invalidity of a conviction, such a
claim is not cognizable unless and until the plaintiff obtains a favorable resolution of
a challenge to his conviction. Id. at 487.
If the Court were to find in Craig’s favor and determine that his criminal
conviction is unconstitutional, it would necessarily imply the invalidity of his current
term of imprisonment. Craig fails to demonstrate that his criminal conviction has
been invalidated by any of the means set forth in Heck.4 Therefore, Craig’s claims
that necessarily imply the invalidity of his imprisonment are barred by Heck. Id.;
Stephenson v. Reno, 28 F.3d 26, 27-28 (5th Cir. 1994) (holding Heck applies to Bivens
action); see also Amaker v. Weiner, 179 F.3d 48, 51 (2d Cir. 1999) (holding Heck also
applies to claims under §§ 1981, 1985, and 1986).
To the extent Craig now seeks injunctive relief invalidating his conviction and
releasing him from incarceration, he must pursue such relief through a petition for
writ of habeas corpus. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). As footnoted
above, Craig is currently litigating a habeas corpus case in this Court. Any habeas
claims Craig may be asserting in this civil action are dismissed without prejudice to
Craig’s pursuit of these claims in his pending habeas corpus case.
Craig is currently litigating a habeas corpus petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in
this Court. See Craig v. MDOC, cause no. 1:16-cv-371-LG-FKB (S.D. Miss.).
Having considered the pleadings and applicable law, the Court dismisses this
civil action as frivolous. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). As noted, Lorraine is
entitled to absolute immunity for his witness testimony, Craig’s claims are barred by
the statute of limitations and violate Heck. See Bates v. Price, 368 F. App’x 594, 595
(5th Cir. 2010) (finding prisoner case barred by statute of limitations and dismissed
as frivolous counts as a “strike” under § 1915(g)); Hamilton v. Lyons, 74 F.3d 99,
103 (5th Cir. 1996) (finding Heck-barred claims are legally frivolous); Boyd, 31 F.3d
at 285 (affirming frivolous dismissal of § 1983 claim based on absolute immunity).
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that this case is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). This dismissal will count as a “strike” in accordance with the
Prison Litigation Reform Act. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that any habeas corpus
claims asserted in this civil action are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to
Plaintiff’s pursuit of these claims in his pending habeas corpus case, Craig v. MDOC,
no. 1:16-cv-371-LG-FKB (S.D. Miss.).
A separate final judgment will be entered in accordance with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 58.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this the 23rd day of January, 2017.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
LOUIS GUIROLA, JR.
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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