United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
LEONARD DOUGLAS #601998, ET AL.
STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL.
take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report
has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen
(14) days after being served with the attached Report to file
written objections to the proposed findings of fact,
conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to
file written objections to the proposed findings,
conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being
served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from
attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual
findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which
have been accepted by the District Court.
NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN
OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pro se plaintiff, an inmate confined at Dixon
Correctional Institute (“DCI”), Jackson,
Louisiana, filed this proceeding pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the State of Louisiana, the 19th
Judicial District Court, the East Baton Rouge District
Attorney's Office, the City of Baton Rouge Police, City
Constable Leo Lamotte, Judge Michael Erwin, Judge Laura
David, former police chief Jeff Leduff, District Attorney
Hillar Moore, Assistant District Attorney Dana Cummings,
attorney Ettie Sue Bernie, and attorney Chris Alexander
complaining that his constitutional rights were violated
resulting in a wrongful conviction for rape, due in part to
ineffective assistance of counsel. He requests that his
conviction be reversed, a new trial be conducted, and that he
be compensated for business losses, loss of his freedom and
familial relationships, and damage to his reputation.
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A, this Court is
authorized to dismiss an action or claim brought by a
prisoner who is proceeding in forma pauperis or is
asserting a claim against a governmental entity or an officer
or employee of a governmental entity if satisfied that the
action or claim is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. An action or claim is
properly dismissed as frivolous if the claim lacks an
arguable basis either in fact or in law. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992), citing Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Hicks v.
Garner, 69 F.3d 22, 24-25 (5th Cir. 1995).
is factually frivolous if the alleged facts are
“clearly baseless, a category encompassing allegations
that are ‘fanciful, ' ‘fantastic, ' and
‘delusional.'” Id. at 32-33. A claim
has no arguable basis in law if it is based upon an
indisputably meritless legal theory, “such as if the
complaint alleges the violation of a legal interest which
clearly does not exist.” Davis v. Scott, 157
F.3d 1003, 1005 (5th Cir. 1998). The law accords judges not
only the authority to dismiss a claim which is based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the factual allegations.
Denton v. Hernandez, supra, 504 U.S. at 32.
Pleaded facts which are merely improbable or strange,
however, are not frivolous for purposes of § 1915.
Id. at 33; Ancar v. Sara Plasma, Inc., 964
F.2d 465, 468 (5th Cir. 1992). A § 1915 dismissal may be
made any time, before or after service or process and before
or after an answer is filed, if the court determines that the
allegation of poverty is untrue; or the action is frivolous
or malicious; fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) and Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1116,
1999 (5th Cir. 1986).
plaintiff's claim is barred under Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) because the plaintiff
seeks monetary relief. In Heck, the Supreme Court
ruled that, in order to recover damages for an 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
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. A claim for
damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence
that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable
under § 1983. Id. at 486-87
the 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 the plaintiff can demonstrate that the
conviction or sentence has already been invalidated.”
Id. at 487. When success in a “ §
1983 damages action would implicitly question the
validity of conviction or duration of sentence, the litigant
must first achieve favorable termination of his available
state, or federal habeas, opportunities to challenge the
underlying conviction or sentence.” Muhammad v.
Close, 540 U.S. 749, 751 (2004).
ruling granting monetary relief on plaintiff's claims
would necessarily implicate the validity of his conviction.
See Shaw v. Harris, 116 Fed.Appx. 499, 499
(5th Cir. 2004) (claims of ineffectiveness of defense counsel
necessarily imply the invalidity of the conviction);
Pearson v. United States, No. 3:01-CV-1239-M, 2001
WL 1076123, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 10, 2001) (recommendation
accepted by District Court) (holding that success on
“allegations challenging his counsel's conduct ...
would undermine the validity of his conviction”).
plaintiff must therefore demonstrate that his conviction or
sentence has been reversed, invalidated, or expunged prior to
bringing an action under § 1983. He has not
made this showing. As such, Heck bars the
plaintiff's § 1983 claims and they have no
basis in law and should be dismissed as frivolous.
to the extent that the plaintiff's allegations may be
interpreted as seeking to invoke the supplemental
jurisdiction of this court over potential state law claims, a
district court may decline the exercise of supplemental
jurisdiction if a plaintiff's state law claims raise
novel or complex issues of state law, if the claims
substantially predominate over the claims over which the
district court has original jurisdiction, if the district
court has dismissed all claims over which it had original
jurisdiction, or for other compelling reasons. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367. In the instant case, having recommended that the
plaintiff's federal claims be dismissed, the Court
further recommends that the exercise of supplemental
jurisdiction be declined.