United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
CHARLES D. BOYCE, Plaintiff,
ROBERT HOBKIRK, ET. AL, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
AND CERTIFYING THAT AN APPEAL COULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD
J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on its own review of Michigan
prisoner Charles D. Boyce's pro se civil rights
complaint. Plaintiff Boyce is incarcerated at the West
Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights,
Michigan. Plaintiff was convicted of four counts of
third-degree criminal sexual conduct after he pled no contest
in the Huron County Circuit Court in 2013.
Court interprets the complaint to allege that the
Defendants-five named law enforcement officers, two minor
victims, the trial prosecutor, and Plaintiff's criminal
defense attorney-conspired to violate Petitioner's
constitutional rights during the investigation and
prosecution of his criminal case. Plaintiff chiefly asserts
that his Fifth Amendment rights were violated when he was not
read his Miranda rights after his arrest, but he
also mentions in passing a conspiracy to convict him between
the defendants, violations of his Fourth Amendment rights,
violations of his due process rights, and violation of the
Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff briefly mentions a use of force
by defendant police officer Hobkirk during his arrest, but he
does not allege that it resulted in physical harm. Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages.
has 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) and 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,
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: (1) he 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. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights complaint is
to be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
complaint alleges that the Defendants conspired and violated
his constitutional rights during the investigation and
prosecution of his criminal case. He names as defendants the
law enforcement officers involved, the two minor victims, the
trial prosecutor, and his defense attorney. Plaintiff's
complaint is barred by the favorable-termination requirement
set forth in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Under the Heck doctrine, 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. Id.
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 duration.”). This holds 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.” Heck, 512 U.S. at 486. If
Plaintiff were to prevail on his claim concerning the
validity of the investigation and criminal prosecution, his
convictions and continued confinement would be called into
question. Consequently, his claims are barred by
Heck and must be 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 re-assert claims if
plaintiff obtains reversal or expungement of convictions).
Plaintiff briefly mentions in his complaint that the
arresting officer, defendant Hobkirk, used unnecessary force
“by pushing him to the ground” when he arrested
Plaintiff. Dkt. 1, at 7. An excessive force claim under the
Fourth Amendment is generally not barred by Heck.
See Schreiber v. Moe, 596 F.3d 323, 334 (6th Cir.
2010). Nevertheless, this allegation fails to state a claim
because Petitioner does not attribute any physical injury to
the manner in which he was arrested. O'Malley v. City
of Flint, 652 F.3d 662, 671 (6th Cir. 2011).
IT IS ORDERED THAT the complaint is summarily dismissed under
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b).
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 ...