United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. MALONEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in
Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan. The actions about which
he complains, however, have to do with the search and arrest
warrants issued on October 22, 2010, related to the
convictions on which he presently is incarcerated. Plaintiff
sues the City of Grand Rapids, Kent County, Grand Rapids
Police Detective Daniel Adams, Police Officer Gretchen
Galloway, District Court Judge Jeanine N. LaVille, Kent
County Prosecutor William A. Forsyth, and Assistant
Prosecutor Helen Brinkman.
felony complaint signed by Judge LaVille on October 22, 2010
(ECF No. 3-1, PageID.32), Plaintiff was charged with
first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC I), Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.520b(1)(d) (involving accomplices). Following
a bench trial, Plaintiff was convicted. On July 17, 2012, the
court sentenced Plaintiff as a second-offense habitual
offender, Mich. Comp. Laws § 769.10, to a prison term of
9 to 25 years.
complains that the arrest and search warrants and the felony
complaint signed by Judge LaVille on October 22, 2010, were
false and illegal under Michigan and federal law. He bases
his argument on correspondence he received in 2018 from a
Kent County criminal scheduling clerk, in response to his
inquiry. Plaintiff asked for a copy of the court records for
October 22, 2010. The clerk responded that no court
proceedings were conducted by Judge LaVille on that date.
(See Correspondence, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.11.)
Because no court proceedings took place on that date,
Plaintiff concludes that the judge falsified the warrants and
complaint by signing them and that the police officers lied
in their police reports when they referred to the warrant
both being issued and entered into the LEIN system on that
date. He also contends that the prosecutors pursued his
conviction based on an illegal arrest and falsified
complaint. As a result, he contends, he was denied due
process in the proceedings leading to his being taken into
custody, and he argues that his conviction and deprivation of
liberty were illegal. Plaintiff also argues that
Defendants' false representations amounted to libel and
seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from his conviction,
together with compensatory damages.
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).
due process claims challenge the validity of his
incarceration by the State of Michigan. 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 (5th Cir. 1998) (claim for injunctive relief
intertwined with request for damages); Wilson v.
Kinkela, No. 97-4035, 1998 WL 246401, at *1 (6th Cir.
May 5, 1998) (injunctive relief). Plaintiff's allegations
clearly call into question the validity of his conviction.
Therefore, his action is barred under Heck unless
and until his criminal conviction has been invalidated.
court's dismissal of a claim on the basis that it is
barred by Heck v. Humphrey is properly considered a
dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) because it fails to
state a claim on which relief can be granted. See Hunt v.
Michigan, 482 Fed.Appx. 20, 22 (6th Cir. 2012) (a claim
barred by Heck is properly dismissed for failure to
state a claim); Morris v. Cason, 102 Fed.Appx. 902,
903 (6th Cir. 2004) (same). However, such a dismissal should
be without prejudice. Samp ...