Lett v. Makrinos
Memorandum of Opinion and Order: The plaintiff's §1983 action fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted and is sua sponte dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan on 3/13/17. (LC,S) re 1
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Anthony H. Lett,
Theodore A. Makrinos,
CASE NO. 1: 16 CV 2710
JUDGE PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
Memorandum of Opinion and Order
Pro se plaintiff Anthony H. Lett, a federal pretrial detainee in custody at the Northeast
Ohio Correctional Facility, has filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against
Defendant Theodore A. Makrinos, an officer of the Berea Police Department. In his complaint,
he alleges Officer Makrinos violated his constitutional rights by detaining and questioning him
at a gun show in April 2016. Officer Makrinos allegedly detained and questioned him, and
placed him in a makeshift holding cell for an hour and a half, after determining he did not have
guns on him. During the plaintiff’s detention, an outstanding arrest for his arrest was
discovered, and he is currently awaiting trial on federal charges that were subsequently brought
against him for being a felon in possession of a firearm. See United States v. Lett, 1: 16 CR 198
The plaintiff alleges Officer Makrinos’ action of placing him in the makeshift holding
cell until the discovery of the outstanding warrant violated his rights under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, for which he seeks $200,000 in damages.
Discussion and Analysis
Federal district courts are expressly required, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1915(e)(2)(B) and
1915A, to screen all in forma pauperis actions and actions in which prisoners seeks redress
from governmental employees, and to dismiss before service any such action that the Court
determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Hill v. Lappin, 630
F.3d 468, 470 (6th Cir. 2010).
Upon review, the Court finds the plaintiff’s action must be dismissed.
The Supreme Court has held that a damages claim under §1983 is not cognizable if a
judgment on the merits of the claim would affect the validity of a conviction unless and until the
conviction has been invalidated or set aside. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486 (1994);
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997). The Sixth Circuit has applied Heck to pretrial
detainees and pre-conviction situations. See, e.g., Gorenc v. City of Westland, 72 F. App’x 336,
339 (6th Cir. 2003) (“Heck precludes §1983 claims relating to pending charges when a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of any conviction or
sentence that might result from prosecution of the pending charges”) (internal quotation
omitted); Adams v. Morris, 90 F. App'x 856, 858 (6th Cir. 2004) (holding that a pretrial
detainee’s §1983 challenge to the effectiveness of his trial counsel while criminal proceedings
were still pending was barred by Heck).
Plaintiff’s federal criminal prosecution resulting from his detention and arrest is still
pending. Accordingly, his §1983 claim challenging the reasonableness of his detention leading
to his arrest under the Fourth Amendment is barred by Heck unless and until the criminal
charges against him are resolved in his favor. See Shamaeizadeh v. Cunigan, 182 F.3d 391,
398-99 (6th Cir.1999) (holding that, where an allegedly illegal search produced evidence used
to obtain a conviction, the convicted cannot bring a §1983 claim challenging the search until the
conviction is overturned), overruled in other part, Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 393 (2007)
(recognizing that Heck bars the pursuit of a Fourth Amendment arrest claim until the conviction
is overturned, but concluding that the action accrues at the time of the arrest).
For the reasons stated above, the plaintiff’s §1983 action fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted and is sua sponte dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1915(e)(2)(B) and
1915A. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this
decision could not be taken in good faith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Patricia A. Gaughan
PATRICIA A. GAUGHAN
United States District Judge
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