United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Michael Ray Thomas, a state inmate incarcerated at the
Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan, has
filed a pro se civil complaint. The Court granted
Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, and
he is proceeding without prepayment of the filing fee in this
action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). After careful
consideration, the court summarily dismisses the complaint.
to the Michigan Department of Corrections website, Plaintiff
is incarcerated as a result of several convictions and
sentences imposed by the Macomb County Circuit Court, the
most serious of which is his 2015 conviction for using a
computer to commit possession of child sexually abusive
material, contrary to Mich. Comp. Laws §
complaint names “The People of the State of
Michigan” as defendant. The complaint alleges that the
statute for which Petitioner was convicted violates an
accused's First Amendment free speech rights. Plaintiff
seeks a judgment declaring the statute unconstitutional. He
also asks that the ruling be made retroactive “to allow
reversal of any Michigan conviction brought under
750.145d.” Dkt. 1, at 10.
complaint filed by a pro se prisoner is subject to the
screening requirements of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Brown v. Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 866 (6th Cir. 2000).
Section 1915(e)(2) requires district courts to screen and to
dismiss complaints that are frivolous, fail to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or that seek monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); McGore v. Wigglesworth,
114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997). A complaint is frivolous
and subject to sua sponte dismissal under § 1915(e) if
it lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact. Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A plaintiff fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, when,
construing the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff and accepting all the factual allegations as true,
the plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in
support of his claims that would entitle him to relief.
Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197
(6th Cir. 1996); Cline v. Rogers, 87 F.3d 176, 179
(6th Cir. 1996); Wright v. MetroHealth Med. Ctr., 58
F.3d 1130, 1138 (6th Cir. 1995).
civil action seeks to invalidate a Michigan penal statute on
the grounds that it is unconstitutional, paving the way for
reversal of his state conviction. In Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), the Supreme Court
held such claims to be improper:
[W]hen a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983 suit,
the district court must consider whether a judgment in favor
of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of
his conviction or sentence; if it would, the complaint must
be dismissed unless plaintiff can demonstrate that the
conviction or sentence has already been invalidated.
petition for a writ of habeas corpus provides the appropriate
vehicle for challenging the fact or duration of a
prisoner's confinement in federal court. Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 486-87 (1973).
the Court cannot convert this matter into a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus. When a suit that should have been
brought under the habeas corpus statute is prosecuted instead
as a civil suit, it should not be “converted”
into a habeas corpus suit and decided on the merits.
Pischke v. Litscher, 178 F.3d 497, 500 (7th Cir.
1999). Instead, the matter should be dismissed, leaving it to
the prisoner to decide whether to re-file it as a petition
for writ of habeas corpus. Id. Moreover,
Heck clearly directs a federal district court to
dismiss a civil rights complaint which raises claims that
attack the validity of a conviction; it does not direct a
court to construe the civil rights complaint as a habeas
petition. See Murphy v. Martin, 343 F.Supp.2d 603,
610 (E.D. Mich. 2004).
foregoing reasons, the complaint is