BAYNARD v. PINEDA et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE WENDY BEETLESTONE ON 11/2/15. 11/2/15 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PLFF.(kw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
BRYANT LEE BAYNARD
DISTRICT ATTORNEY LAZARD PINEDA,
NOVEMBER Pl. ~
Plaintiff Bryant Lee Baynard brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
based on a December 2, 2010 incident that led to his arrest and conviction. He seeks to proceed
in forma pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff leave to proceed in
forma pauperis and dismiss his complaint with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Plaintiff brought this action against Police Officer Edwin Ocasio, Police Officer Meckeyver,
the 22°ct Police District, District Attorney Lazard Pineda, ADA Kristin Powers, Judge Hayden
Charles, and the "Court of Common Pleas." The complaint indicates that plaintiffs landlord
gave him two weeks to vacate his home for non-payment ofrent in mid-November of2010. On
December 2, 2010, Officers Ocasio and Meckeyver entered plaintiffs home without a warrant
and demanded identification. Plaintiff alleges that the officers grabbed and assaulted him and
that he grabbed one of the officers in response.
The facts are taken from the complaint, documents attached to the complaint, and public
dockets for criminal proceedings related to the complaint.
Plaintiff was "placed in[a] 22°d Police District car" and charged with assault and resisting
arrest, among other things. He was ultimately convicted in the Philadelphia Court of Common
Pleas and sentenced to a period of incarceration. See Commonwealth v. Baynard, Docket No.
CP-51-CR-0015720-2010; Commonwealth v. Baynard, CP-51-CR-0015719-2010. Plaintiff filed
a motion for post-conviction relief, a copy of which he attached to his complaint in the instant
case, claiming that the officers lacked probable cause to enter his home. His motion remains
pending in state court.
The Court understands plaintiff to be bringing Fourth Amendment claims based on the entry
into his home on December 2, 2010, the officers' conduct on that occasion, and his arrest.
Although unclear, it appears that plaintiff is also challenging his convictions. He seeks monetary
relief and requests that the Court clear his criminal record.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court grants plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is
incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the complaint if it fails to state a
claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the
same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to
determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quotations omitted). The Court may also consider exhibits attached to the complaint and
matters of public record. Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F .3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2006).
Additionally, the Court may dismiss claims based on an affirmative defense ifthe affirmative
defense is obvious from the face of the complaint. See Fogle v. Pierson, 435 F.3d 1252, 1258
(10th Cir. 2006); cf Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 459 (3d Cir. 2013). As plaintiff is
proceeding prose, the Court will construe his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d
333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Plaintiffs Fourth Amendment claims are time-barred. Pennsylvania's two-year statute of
limitations applies to those claims. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524; Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S.
384, 387 (2007). The limitations period generally begins to run from the time "the plaintiff knew
or should have known of the injury upon which [his] action is based." Sameric Corp. of Del.,
Inc. v. City of Phi/a., 142 F.3d 582, 599 (3d Cir. 1998). "[T]he statute oflimitations upon a§
1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the
arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant becomes
detained pursuant to legal process." Wallace, 549 U.S. at 397.
Plaintiffs claims challenging the legality of police officers' entry into his home and the
officers' conduct accrued on December 2, 2010, the date of the incident. His false arrest claims
accrued by December 3, 2010, the date that plaintiff was arraigned on charges in Philadelphia
Municipal Court following his arrest. See Commonwealth v. Baynard, Docket No. MC-51-CR0052216-2010; Commonwealth v. Baynard, Docket No. MC-51-CR-0052217-2010. As plaintiff
did not file this action until October 27, 2015-more than two years after his claims accruedthe claims are time barred.
To the extent plaintiff is challenging his convictions, his claims are not cognizable in a civil
rights action. If plaintiff seeks to invalidate his convictions, he must file a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus after exhausting state remedies, rather than a civil rights action. See Preiser v.
Rodrigu,ez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). Furthermore, a plaintiff may not "recover damages for
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions
whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, ... [unless] the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a
state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's
issuance ofa writ ofhabeas corpus[.]" Heckv. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)
(footnote and citation omitted). As plaintiffs convictions have not been invalidated, his claims
are not cognizable.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs complaint with prejudice
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Plaintiff will not be given leave to amend because
amendment would be futile. An appropriate order follows, which shall be docketed separately.
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