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Wilson v. County of Wayne

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 17, 2015

VICTOR WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF WAYNE, CITY OF DETROIT, and DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO SUA SPONTE DISMISS, WITHOUT PREJUDICE, PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT [1] UNDER 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)

DAVID R. GRAND, Magistrate Judge.

I. RECOMMENDATION

This case has been referred to the undersigned for management, hearing and determination of all pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(A), and for any reports and recommendations on dispositive matters that may be necessary pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B). (Doc. #6).

Plaintiff Victor Wilson ("Wilson") has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this matter. (Doc. #5). The Court now having assessed the sufficiency of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e), IT IS RECOMMENDED that Wilson's complaint be dismissed sua sponte, without prejudice.

II. REPORT

A. Background

This is a pro se civil rights case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. In his complaint, Wilson, a State of Michigan prisoner, challenges the state criminal proceedings in which he was charged in the 36th District Court with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct - First Degree and two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct - Second Degree, though he was convicted only of the latter two offenses. (Doc. #1 at Ex. A, 1/2/09 criminal complaint).[1] Wilson alleges that he was arrested, subjected "to an unconstitutional criminal proceeding, " and convicted through Defendants' use of an unconstitutional "form complaint, " which deprived him of his "rights, privileges or immunities without due process, " and denied him "equal protection of the laws, within the meaning of State and federal constitutions." (Doc. #1). More specifically, Wilson alleges that Defendants - Wayne County, the City of Detroit, and the Detroit Police Department - used a "bare bones form complaint[]'" to procure the warrant that ultimately led to his criminal conviction. (Doc. #1). According to Wilson, Defendants "failed to include facts or circumstances on the face of the criminal complaint in order for a magistrate to make an independent determination of probable cause" and failed to "attach to [the] form complaint an affidavit of probable cause, or swear [] on oath [] [to facts] that support probable cause for issuance of [the complaint]..." (Id. at 2).[2] In short, Wilson claims he was charged based on nothing more than an assertion in the criminal complaint that he violated the statutes specified therein. He seeks a declaration that the Defendants' practices with respect to using the alleged "form complaint" violate the United States Constitution and other laws, an injunction against Defendants' future use of the alleged "form complaint, " an order requiring the Defendants to follow the "warrant requirements" of the Constitution, and "such other appropriate relief as the interests of justice may require." (Doc. #1 at 9-10).

B. Legal Standards

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 ("PLRA"), the Court shall sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint "at any time" if it determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 42 U.S.C. §1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B). Similarly, the Court must dismiss a complaint seeking redress against government entities, officers, and employees which it finds to be frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

The Court must liberally construe complaints filed by pro se litigants. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Such litigants must nevertheless satisfy the basic pleading requirements in Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), including the requirement of a complaint that sets forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " as well as "a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (3). The rule's purpose is to "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation omitted). While this notice pleading standard does not require detailed factual allegations, it does require more than the bare assertion of legal principles or conclusions. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. To state a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) he or she was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United States; and

(2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155 (1978); Harris v. Circleville, 583 F.3d 356, 364 (6th Cir. 2009).

C. Analysis

As discussed above, the crux of Wilson's Section 1983 complaint is that he was charged (and ultimately convicted) based solely on an assertion in the state court criminal complaint that he violated the statutes specified therein. Wilson is thus attempting to use this Section 1983 civil action to challenge the validity of his state court criminal proceedings and resulting conviction based on an alleged lack of probable cause. However, because Wilson does not allege that his criminal conviction has been overturned, the law makes clear that the relief he requests is not available under 42 U.S.C. §1983.

In general, §1983 provides a vehicle for a state prisoner to challenge a condition of his imprisonment, see Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 (1973), but not its validity. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994) (holding that for a state prisoner to be eligible for relief due to an "allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, " he must first "prove that [his] conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared ...


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