Brown v. Anderson et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION dismissing this civil action. This dismissal will count as a "strike" in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Signed by District Judge Henry T. Wingate on 5/31/16. (copy mailed to plaintiff) (RRL)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
HENRY ORLANDO BROWN, #195918
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:16-cv-220-HTW-LRA
WILLIE J. ANDERSON and BILLY PATRICK
This cause is before the Court, sua sponte, for consideration of dismissal. Plaintiff
Henry Orlando Brown, an inmate of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), brings
this pro se Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Brown is proceeding in forma pauperis in
this case. See Order . The named Defendants are: Captain Willie J. Anderson, an
investigator with the Scott County Sheriff’s Department; and Sergeant Billy Patrick, an
investigator with the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. The Court, having liberally
construed Brown’s Complaint , Letter , and Response , in consideration with the
applicable law, finds that this case should be dismissed.
Brown states that on February 11, 2015, he was convicted of burglary, felony malicious
mischief and two counts of grand larceny by the Circuit Court for Scott County, Mississippi. As
a result of these convictions, Brown is serving a 32-year term of imprisonment in the custody of
Brown asserts complaints regarding the validity of his criminal convictions and term of
imprisonment. Specifically, Brown claims that Anderson and Patrick withheld information and
documents from the grand jury, produced false documents at trial, and provided false testimony
before the grand jury and at his criminal trial. Brown states that his direct appeal of these
convictions is pending before the Mississippi Supreme Court. As relief Brown states, “[a]ll I
want is a fair trial” and for Anderson and Patrick “to pay for their unjust deeds - my false
imprisonment.” Pet.  at 4.
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 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 the Court has permitted Plaintiff Brown to
proceed in forma pauperis in this action, his Complaint is subject to the case screening
procedures set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2).
A. Witness Immunity
“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). Insofar as
Brown claims Anderson and Patrick committed perjury or conspired to commit perjury during
their grand jury testimony or their trial testimony, Brown’s claims are barred by absolute
immunity. Id. at 1506-07; Mowbray v. Cameron Cnty., Tex., 274 F.3d 269, 277-78 (5th Cir.
2001) (finding absolute witness immunity bars § 1983 suits for conspiracy to commit perjury).
B. Heck v. Humphrey
Regardless of Anderson and Patrick’s witness immunity, Brown’s claims challenging the
validity of his criminal conviction are subject to dismissal under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477 (1994). Under Heck, where a claim for damages or equitable relief 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; Wilkinson v. Dotson,
544 U.S. 74, 78-82 (2005).
Brown argues that his convictions are illegal and that he is unlawfully imprisoned. A
finding in his favor would necessarily imply the invalidity of his sentence. Since Brown’s direct
appeal is pending before the Mississippi Supreme Court, it is clear that his convictions have not
been invalidated by any of the means set forth in Heck. Therefore, Brown fails to meet the
requirements to proceed with his claims under Heck v. Humphrey.1 As such, Brown’s claims
will be dismissed with prejudice, until the Heck conditions are met. See Johnson v. McElveen,
101 F.3d 423, 424 (5th Cir. 1996) (holding claims dismissed under Heck are properly “dismissed
with prejudice . . . until the Heck conditions are met”).
The Court has considered the pleadings and applicable law. For the reasons stated, this
civil action is dismissed as frivolous and as seeking relief against defendants who are immune
To the extent Brown’s request for “a fair trial” can be construed as seeking habeas
corpus relief, the Court finds that Brown has not completed the exhaustion of his state court
remedies as required to proceed in federal court. See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(b)(1); Sam v. Louisiana,
409 F. App’x 758, 763 (5th Cir. 2011) (“A federal district court may not adjudicate a habeas
petition unless all claims in the petition are exhausted.”).
from such relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See 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). This dismissal will
count as a “strike” in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act. See 28 U.S.C.
A Final Judgment in accordance with this Memorandum Opinion will be entered.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED, this the 31ST day of May, 2016.
s/ HENRY T. WINGATE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
civil action no. 3:16-cv-220-HTW-LRA
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