Jones v. Missouri Public Defender Office et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioner shall show cause, no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of this Order, why this action should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if petitioner fails to show adequate cause, this action will be dismissed without further proceedings.. Signed by District Judge John A. Ross on 7/7/14. (LGK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
RUBEN C. JONES,
MISSOURI PUBLIC DEFENDER
OFFICE, et al.,
No. 4:14CV1659 JAR
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on petitioner’s petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. It appears from the face of the petition that jurisdiction does not exist. As a
result, the Court will order petitioner to show cause why the petition should not be summarily
Petitioner has completed serving a twenty-five-year prison sentence for first degree
robbery. While he was incarcerated, petitioner brought several successive habeas petitions in
this Court. See, e.g., Jones v. Missouri, 4:09CV1836 ERW (E.D. Mo.). In the instant petition,
petitioner names the Missouri Public Defender Office, David Angle, and Emmet D. Queener as
respondents. Petitioner claims that his public defender did not show up for court and was
therefore ineffective. And petitioner states, in a wholly conclusory manner, that he was falsely
imprisoned because the charges were false. Petitioner seeks monetary relief.
District courts have jurisdiction to entertain petitions for habeas relief only from persons
who are “in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28
U.S.C. § 2241(c)(3). The custody requirement is fulfilled when a petitioner is in custody “under
the conviction or sentence under attack at the time his petition is filed.” Maleng v. Cook, 490
U.S. 488, 490-91 (1989). Where, as is the case here, the sentence under challenge has fully
expired, the custody requirement is not met. Id. As a result, it appears that the Court does not
have jurisdiction over the petition, and the Court will direct petitioner to show cause why the
case should not be summarily dismissed. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3); Rule 4 of the Rules
Governing § 2254 Cases.
Additionally, even if petitioner is in custody, the petition should be dismissed as
successive because petitioner has not obtained permission from the appellate court to file it.
Finally, the Court notes that even if it were to construe petitioner’s false imprisonment
claim as a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, petitioner would not be entitled to relief. A
plaintiff may not recover damages in a § 1983 suit where the judgment would necessarily imply
the invalidity of his conviction, continued imprisonment, or sentence unless the conviction or
sentence is reversed, expunged, or called into question by issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994).
Where there has been a conviction, false
imprisonment claims are barred by Heck. Anderson v. Franklin County, Mo., 192 F.3d 1125,
1131 (8th Cir. 1999). Petitioner has not alleged that his conviction was overturned in state
postconviction proceedings. As a result, he may not recover damages on his false imprisonment
claim, and the interests of justice do not require the Court to construe this action as falling under
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that petitioner’s motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis [ECF No. 2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that petitioner shall show cause, no later than fourteen
(14) days from the date of this Order, why this action should not be dismissed for lack of
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if petitioner fails to show adequate cause, this action
will be dismissed without further proceedings.
Dated this 7th day of October, 2014.
JOHN A. ROSS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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