United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division
HUBERT BABB, Inmate No. 217290, Plaintiff,
CLARA SMITH, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ELIZABETH M. TIMOTHY, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
cause is before the court on Plaintiff's civil rights
complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No.
1). Leave to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted (ECF
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court is
required to dismiss the case at any time if it determines
that the “action or appeal” is “(i)
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.” 28
U.S.C.A. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A complaint is frivolous under
section 1915 “where it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 1833, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989).
Dismissals on this ground should only be ordered when the
legal theories are “indisputably meritless, ”
id. at 327, 109 S.Ct. at 1833, or when the claims
rely on factual allegations that are “clearly
baseless.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
31, 112 S.Ct. 1728, 1733, 118 L.Ed.2d 340 (1992). Dismissals
for failure to state a claim are governed by the same
standard as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1485 (11th Cir.
1997). The allegations of the complaint are taken as true and
are construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff.
Davis v. Monroe County Bd. Of Educ., 120 F.3d 1390,
1393 (11th Cir. 1997). The complaint may be dismissed only if
it appears beyond doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of
facts that would entitle him to relief. Brown v. Budget
Rent-A-Car Systems, Inc., 119 F.3d 922, 923 (11th Cir.
1997). Upon review of the complaint, this court concludes
that dismissal is warranted.
as Defendants are assistant state attorneys, defense
attorneys, and psychologists, all of whom were involved in
1999 in a criminal prosecution against Defendant which
resulted in his conviction and life sentence. Plaintiff
complains of various errors and acts of discrimination during
his trial, namely, that he was arrested under a false police
report, that he was denied effective assistance of counsel,
that his speedy trial rights were violated, that certain
depositions of witnesses were not allowed or admitted, that
he was not provided a fair and impartial jury, that perjured
testimony was used against him, that defense witnesses were
prevented from testifying, and that his counsel lied to him
(ECF No. 1 at 27-29). As relief, Plaintiff seeks declaratory
relief ruling that the above errors, which were somehow borne
of socioeconomic discrimination against him, were a
determinative factor in his conviction; he also seeks
Plaintiff filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, he seeks relief in the nature of habeas corpus. Based
upon the Supreme Court's decision in Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383
(1994), dismissal of the instant action is warranted. The
Court in Heck stated that an action under section
1983 that by its nature challenges the lawfulness of a
conviction or sentence is not cognizable unless and until the
sentence or conviction is “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 of a writ of
habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254.” Id. at
2372. Absent such an invalidation, the section 1983 suit must
reaffirmed what the Supreme Court stated in Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 490 (1973), that
“Congress has determined that habeas corpus is the
appropriate remedy for state prisoners attacking the validity
of the fact or length of their confinement, and that specific
determination must override the general terms of §
1983.” Regardless of the label Plaintiff may place on
the action, any challenge to the fact or duration of a
prisoner's confinement is properly treated as a habeas
corpus claim. Prather v. Norman, 901 F.2d 915,
918-19 n.4 (11th Cir. 1990) (per curiam); McKinnis v.
Mosley, 693 F.2d 1054, 1057 (11th Cir. 1982). Thus,
declaratory or injunctive relief claims which are in the
nature of habeas corpus claims are claims which challenge the
validity of a conviction and/or sentence and are simply not
cognizable under § 1983. Abella v. Rubino, 63
F.3d 1063, 1066 (11th Cir. 1995). Additionally, the type of
damages Plaintiff seeks strikes at the very heart of what
Heck was intended to avoid: the use of civil rights
or other such civil actions to seek redress for convictions
that have yet to be invalidated through habeas corpus or
other such proper avenues for relief. Heck therefore
bars this complaint.
it respectfully RECOMMENDED:
Plaintiff's claims be DISMISSED with
prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Pensacola, Florida, this.
TO THE PARTIES
to these proposed findings and recommendations must be filed
within fourteen (14) days after being served a copy thereof.
Any different deadline that may appear on the electronic
docket is for the court's internal use only, and does not
control. A copy of objections shall be served upon all other
parties. If a party fails to object to the magistrate
judge's findings or recommendations as to any particular
claim or issue contained in a report and recommendation, that
party waives the right to challenge on ...