United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division
LARRY JEROME WILLIAMS, FDOC Inmate No. 361941, Plaintiff,
STATE OF FLORIDA, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ELIZABETH M. TIMOTHY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Larry Jerome Williams (“Williams”), an inmate of
the Florida Department of Corrections (“FDOC”)
proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a civil
rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1). The
case was referred to the undersigned for the issuance of all
preliminary orders and any recommendations to the district
court regarding dispositive matters. See N.D. Fla.
Loc. R. 72.2(C); see also 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Upon consideration,
and for the reasons given below, the court recommends that
this case be dismissed.
names as Defendants the State of Florida, the Secretary of
the FDOC, and two police officers with the Marianna Police
Department (Complaint at 1-2, ECF No. 1). Williams alleges he
was convicted in December of 2010 in the Circuit Court in and
for Jackson County, Florida, Case No. 2010-CF-38, and
sentenced life in prison (Complaint at 5-6). Williams
contends he was incompetent during the criminal proceedings,
and his court-appointed counsel and the trial judge violated
his constitutional rights during the proceedings
(id.). Williams further alleges the trial court and
the state appellate court denied all of his challenges to his
conviction (id.). Williams states he is suing the
State of Florida and the FDOC in the amount of $2 million for
failing to have his co-defendants testify truthfully at his
trial, $2 million for not conducting a fair trial, $2 million
for not giving him an evidentiary hearing, $2 million for
wrongfully incarcerating him, $2 million for signing a
contract for his custody, and $50 per day for each day he has
spent in FDOC custody as compensation for pain and suffering,
lost wages, and “death” (id. at 6).
Williams states he is willing to exchange his release from
FDOC custody in settlement of his claims for compensatory
damages (id. at 6-7).
Williams is a prisoner, the court must review the Complaint
and dismiss it if satisfied the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. To survive
dismissal at the screening phase, a complaint must contain
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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
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. In
Heck, the Court 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.,
512 U.S. at 486. Absent such an invalidation, the section
1983 suit must be dismissed.
reaffirmed what the Supreme Court stated in Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 490, 93 S.Ct. 1827, 36 L.Ed.2d
439 (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.” Thus, whether the
claims are for damages or 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). Because it is facially clear from the Complaint that
Williams' claims are in the nature of habeas corpus, they
may not be brought in a § 1983 action and thus must be
dismissed under Heck.
a party must be given at least one opportunity to amend
before the district court dismisses the complaint.”
Corsello v. Lincare, Inc., 428 F.3d 1008, 1014 (11th
Cir. 2005). However, “[a] district court need not . . .
allow an amendment . . . where amendment would be
futile.” Bryant v. Dupree, 252 F.3d 1161, 1163
(11th Cir. 2001). Here, Williams' § 1983 claims are
clearly Heck-barred. This pleading deficiency cannot
be cured by amendment of the Complaint. Any additional
processing of Williams' claims would result in waste of
scarce public resources. The undersigned thus concludes that
this action should be dismissed for failure to state a claim
on which relief may be granted.
it respectfully RECOMMENDED:
1. That this case be DISMISSED for failure
to state a claim on which relief may be granted, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
2. That all pending motions be DENIED as
3. That the clerk of court be directed to enter judgment
accordingly and close this case.