Sheppard v. Wayborne et al
Memorandum Opinion and Order: The court ORDERS that all claims and causes of action asserted by plaintiff, Otis Wayne Sheppard, against defendants, Bill Wayborne and Joe Fitzgerald, be, and are hereby, dismissed pursuant to the authority of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1). (Ordered by Judge John McBryde on 10/10/2017) (edm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRIC
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
. NORTIIERN DISTRICT OF tEXA§
CLERK,. U.S. DISTRICT CU\.._'RT
' - - - - - - - ' - ' - - ·---~ ' ...
Plaintiff, Otis Sheppard, a prisoner incarcerated at Tarrant
County Jail, filed this action pro se under 42 U.S.C.
naming as defendants', Tarrant County Sheriff Billy Wayborne and
Chief of Police Joe Fitzgerald.
Plaintiff in this case has filed 2 versions of his amended
See Doc.' at 7-8.
The language in these complaints
is nearly identical, alleging that plaintiff was unlawfully
arrested and imprisoned, and that defendants have refused to
release him despite, in his words, an "affirmed statement made
The complaint does not specify if defendants are named in their official or individual capacities.
A suit naming defendants in their official capacities would be tantamount to a suit against Tarrant County
("County"). Accordingly, the comt is considering that defendants are named in their individual
BILL WAYBOURNE, ET AL.,
The "Doc._" references are to the numbers assigned to the referenced documents on the docket
of this civil case, No 4:17-CV-784-A.
unlawfully to manipulate law enforcement,• Doc. 7 & 8 at 4, and
that law enforcement "found out I am the wrong person.•
Plaintiff seeks a judgment on his false imprisonment claim
against defendants and monetary compensation for his time spent
Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
As a prisoner seeking redress from government officials,
plaintiff's complaint is subject to preliminary screening under
1915A, regardless of whether he is proceeding in
See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th
Section 1915A(b) (1) provides for sua sponte
dismissal if the court finds that the complaint is either
frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
A claim is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis in
either fact or law."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted when, assuming that all the allegations in the
complaint are true even if doubtful in fact, such allegations
fail to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted).
Having now considered
the allegations in the complaint, the court concludes that all
claims asserted by plaintiff against defendants should be
dismissed under the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
The law is clear that in order to recover damages for an
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment; or for
other harm caused by actions that would render his conviction or
sentence invalid, plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed or otherwise declared invalid.
Otherwise, the claim is not cognizable under
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87
1983. Heck v.
(1994). "[C]ivil tort actions are
not appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of
outstanding criminal judgments." Id., 512 u.s. at 486.
Although plaintiff's amended complaints are lacking many
factual allegations, plaintiff makes clear that he is challenging
the fact of his arrest' and alleged unlawful imprisonment.
favorable ruling by this court on any of these claims would
necessarily imply the invalidity of plaintiff's criminal
This, in fact, is the result plaintiff seeks
1983 action, as plaintiff states he wants a
The primary distinction between his two amended complaints is that one refers to his arrest and
confinement for an unlawful restraint charge, and the other refers to an arrest and confinement for
reckless driving. His original complaint stated he was unlawfully arrested and confined for assault. The
record is unclear as to if these arrests are all part of the same transaction or occurred on separate dates,
Either way, plaintiff seems to be challenging his arrest(s) for all listed offenses.
judgment that his confinement is unlawful and monetary
compensation for the time he has spent falsely imprisoned.
Because plaintiff has failed to allege or show that an
authorized tribunal or executive body has overturned or otherwise
invalidated his conviction, his claims ' [are] not cognizable
1983. '" Id.
dismissed as frivolous.
Accordingly, plaintiff's claims are
Hamilton v. Lyons, 74 F.3d 99, 102
(A claim that falls under the rule of Heck "is legally
frivolous unless the conviction or sentence at issue has been
reversed, expunged, invalidated, or otherwise called into
The court ORDERS that all claims and causes of action
asserted by plaintiff, Otis Wayne Sheppard, against defendants,
Bill Wayborne and Joe Fitzgerald, be, and are hereby, dismissed
pursuant to the authority of 28
SIGNED October 10, 2017.
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