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Williams v. Department of Mental Health

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

December 12, 2016

THEODORE G. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, ET AL., Defendant.

          ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL AND REVOKING ORDER OF REFERENCE

          NANCY G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Theodore G. Williams is presently confined at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline, Michigan. Plaintiff has filed a pro se complaint challenging his continued confinement. Plaintiff is proceeding without prepayment of the filing fee in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The Court dismisses Plaintiff's complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), [1] because Plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrine of res judicata and Heck v. Humprhey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Further, on December 5, 2016, the Court issued an Order of Reference to United States Magistrate Judge. The Court hereby revokes that Order.

         I. Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set 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 purpose of this rule 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) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). The notice pleading standard requires more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee for this action. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the court is required to sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint before service on a defendant 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).

         II. Discussion

         In October 1967, Plaintiff pleaded guilty in Michigan state court to first-degree murder. Williams v. Meyer, 346 F.3d 607, 610 (6th Cir. 2003)). Prior to sentencing, he was designated a “criminal sexual psychopath” under the Criminal Sexual Psychopath Act (CSPA), Mich. Comp. Laws § § 780.501-.509 (repealed Aug. 1, 1968), and committed to the custody of a state mental hospital. Id. He was discharged in September 1973, but returned to custody in 1979 when the Michigan Supreme Court determined that his release had been improper. People v. Williams, 406 Mich. 909 (1979). He has remained in the custody of the Michigan Department of Mental Health since 1979. Plaintiff has filed several petitions for release in state court and, in 1993, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in this Court, arguing that his continued incarcerated under the CSPA violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause. See Williams v. Meyer, No. 93-cv-75495. The district court denied the petition and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial. Williams v. Meyer, 254 F. App'x 459 (6th Cir. 2007).

         Plaintiff has now filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, again challenging his continued confinement under the CSPA. Under the doctrine of res judicata, a “valid and final judgment on a claim precludes a second action on that claim or any part of it.” J.Z.G. Resources, Inc. v. Shelby Ins. Co., 84 F.3d 211, 214 (6th Cir. 1996). Res judicata serves “not only to bar the parties from relitigating issues that were actually litigated but also to bar them from relitigating issues that could have been raised in an earlier action.” Id. (emphasis in original). Plaintiff's claim regarding his the validity of his continued confinement under the CSPA already has been litigated. Therefore, Plaintiff may not relitigate this claim in this Court.

         Moreover, a claim under § 1983 is an appropriate remedy for a state prisoner challenging a condition of his imprisonment. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 (1973). In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the Supreme Court established that a state prisoner does not state a cognizable civil rights claim challenging his imprisonment if a ruling on his claim would necessarily render his continuing confinement invalid, until and unless the reason for his continued confinement has been reversed on direct appeal, called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, or otherwise invalidated. Id. at 486-87. Plaintiff seeks release from continued custody. This claim is not properly filed under § 1983.

         III. Conclusion

         Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that the December 5, 2016 Order of Reference to United States Magistrate Judge is REVOKED and the complaint is DISMISSED.

         The Court finds an appeal in this case would be frivolous and not taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). Therefore, Plaintiff is not certified to pursue an appeal from this judgment in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). Nevertheless, should Plaintiff decide to file a notice of appeal, he may seek leave from the Court of Appeals to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(5).

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