United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
AND CERTIFYING THAT AN APPEAL COULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD
BERNARD A. FRIEDMAN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on its own review of prisoners
Rufus Deon Wilson and John Robert Davis's pro se
civil rights complaint.
are incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton.
Both plaintiffs, after a jury trial in this Court, were
convicted of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1114, 1117, conspiracy to
murder an employee of the United States; 21 U.S.C.
§§ 841(a), 846, conspiracy to possess with intent
to distribute controlled substances; and 18 U.S.C.
§§ 2, 924(c), possession of a firearm in
furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and aiding and
abetting. Plaintiff Davis was also convicted of 18 U.S.C.
§ 922(g), possession of a firearm as a felon; and 21
U.S.C. §§ 41(a), 846, attempt to distribute a
controlled substance. Plaintiff Wilson was also convicted of
18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g), 924(e), possession of a
firearm as a felon; and 21 U.S.C. § 841(a), possession
with intent to distribute controlled substances. The Court
sentenced Davis to 300 months of imprisonment and Wilson to
mandatory life imprisonment. The convictions and sentences
were affirmed on appeal. See United States v.
Wilson, Nos. 14-2498, 14-2528 (6th Cir. June 24, 2016).
complaint alleges that Plaintiffs' convictions resulted
from “a fictitious stash house robbery that was created
and orchestrated by undercover (ATF) agent.” Compl. p.
3. Plaintiffs claim that during the investigation and
prosecution, defendants violated their Fourth, Fifth, Sixth,
and Fourteenth Amendment rights, engaged in a conspiracy,
committed abuse of process, conducted a malicious
prosecution, and fabricated evidence. Id. Plaintiffs
seek “exoneration” and damages. Id. at
have been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action. The Prison Litigation Reform Act
of 1996 requires federal district courts to screen a
prisoner's complaint and to dismiss the complaint if it
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; Flanory v. Bonn, 604
F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010); Smith v. Campbell,
250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001). A complaint is frivolous
if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke
v. Williams, Sr., 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
complaint alleges that defendants, all actors in the criminal
investigation and prosecution that led to plaintiffs'
imprisonment, committed acts that invalidate the convictions.
Plaintiffs' claims are therefore barred by the
favorable-termination requirement set forth in Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Under Heck, a
state prisoner may not file a § 1983 suit for damages or
equitable relief challenging his conviction or sentence if a
ruling on the claim would render the conviction or sentence
invalid, until and unless the conviction or sentence has been
reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order,
declared invalid by a state tribunal, or called into question
by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.
Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87; Wilkinson v.
Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005) (“[A] state
prisoner's § 1983 action is barred (absent prior
invalidation)-no matter the relief sought (damages or
equitable relief), no matter the target of the prisoner's
suit (state conduct leading to conviction or internal prison
proceedings)-if success in that action would necessarily
demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its
true regardless of the relief sought by the plaintiff.
Heck, 512 U.S. at 487- 89. The underlying basis for
the holding in Heck is that “civil tort
actions are not appropriate vehicles for challenging the
validity of outstanding criminal judgments.”
Id. at 486. If plaintiffs were to prevail on their
claims concerning the validity of their criminal proceedings,
their convictions and continued confinement would be called
into question. Consequently, such claims are barred by
Heck and dismissed. This dismissal is without
prejudice. See Hodge v. City of Elyria, 126 F.
App'x 222, 223 (6th Cir. 2005) (holding that a case
dismissed pursuant to Heck should be dismissed
without prejudice so that plaintiff may reassert claims if
they obtain a reversal or expungement of convictions).
IT IS ORDERED that the complaint is summarily dismissed under
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) because the
claims are barred by Heck.
FURTHER ORDERED that an appeal from this order would be
frivolous and could not be taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(3); Coppedge ...