United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Honorable Gordon J. Quist, Judge
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), the Court
is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under
federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se
complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations
as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly
incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33
(1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
a jury trial in the Wayne County Circuit Court, Plaintiff was
convicted of first-degree murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.316, and possession of a firearm during the commission of
a felony, Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.227b. On January 26,
1993, the court sentenced Plaintiff to respective,
consecutive terms of imprisonment of life and two years.
Plaintiff appealed his convictions and sentences to both the
Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. The
court of appeals rejected all appellate grounds and affirmed
the sentences and convictions on November 10, 1995. The
supreme court denied leave to appeal on July 29, 1996.
filed a motion for relief from judgment in the Wayne County
Circuit Court on April 12, 2014, raising eight grounds for
relief. The court denied the motion on September 17, 2014.
Plaintiff sought leave to appeal to both the Michigan Court
of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. Those courts
denied leave to appeal on August 13, 2015, and July 26, 2017,
respectively. It also appears that Plaintiff has attempted to
seek relief in the Michigan courts by way of motions for
superintending control and complaints for writ of habeas
corpus. See Mich. Ct. App. Electronic Case Search
eIndex=0&PartyOpenOnly=0 (last visited June 22, 2018)
(reflecting that Plaintiff made nine different attempts to
seek relief in the Michigan appellate courts).
present civil rights action, Plaintiff alleges that he was 18
years old at the time of the offenses for which he was
committed, though he remained within the jurisdiction of the
probate court as an individual who had been placed in foster
care and was transitioning to independence. He alleges that,
because the probate court had not yet relinquished
jurisdiction over him, he should be entitled to the
protections of Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.25a, which was
adopted to implement the holding of Miller v.
Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) (barring the imposition of
mandatory sentence of life without parole on a defendant who
was a juvenile at the time of the offense of conviction).
Michigan Compiled Laws § 769.25a provides the procedures
to be applied in cases once the state supreme court has
concluded that Miller v. Alabama retroactively
applies to a defendant who was under 18 years of age at the
time of the crime, Plaintiff contends that Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 769.25a, which was signed by Defendant Snyder,
arbitrarily and capriciously excludes 18-year-old offenders
who remain within the jurisdiction of the foster care system.
seeks a declaration that the statute violates the Equal
Failure to state a claim
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement,' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
effectively challenges the duration of his incarceration by
the State of Michigan, because he claims that the Equal
Protection Clause requires that he be eligible for
consideration for parole under the procedures set forth in
Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.25a, a claim the state trial
court has rejected. A challenge to the fact or duration of
confinement should be brought as a petition for habeas corpus
and is not the proper subject of a civil rights action
brought pursuant to § 1983. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973) (the essence of
habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the
legality of that custody and the traditional function of the
writ is to secure release from illegal custody). Therefore,
to the extent that Plaintiff's complaint challenges the
fact or duration of his incarceration, it must be dismissed.
See Adams v. Morris, 90 Fed.Appx. 856, 858 (6th Cir.
2004) (dismissal is appropriate where § 1983 action
seeks equitable relief and challenges fact or duration of
confinement); see also Moore v. Pemberton, 110 F.3d
22, 23-24 (7th Cir. 1997) (reasons for not construing a
§ 1983 action as one seeking habeas relief include (1)
potential application of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477 (1994), (2) differing defendants, (3) differing standards
of § 1915(a)(3) and § 2253(c), (4) differing fee
requirements, (5) potential application of second or
successive petition doctrine or three-strikes rules of §
extent Plaintiff seeks injunctive, declaratory and monetary
relief for alleged violations of Constitutional rights, his
claim is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994), which held that “in order to recover
damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence
invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been [overturned].” See
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646 (1997) (emphasis
in original). In Heck, the Supreme Court held that a
state prisoner cannot make a cognizable claim under §
1983 for an allegedly unconstitutional conviction or for
“harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render
a conviction or sentence invalid” unless a prisoner
shows that the conviction or sentence has been
“reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive
order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to
make such determination, or called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.”
Id. at 486-87 (footnote omitted). The holding in
Heck has been extended to actions seeking injunctive
or declaratory relief. See Edwards, 520 U.S. at
646-48 (declaratory relief); Clarke v. Stalder, 154
F.3d 186, 189-90 ...