United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MICHAEL B. NORTH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
U.S.C. §1983 proceeding was filed in forma
pauperis by pro se Plaintiff, James McCraney,
against Defendants, Officers Thompson and Schuh of the New
Orleans Police Department (“NOPD”) and the
unidentified Shift Supervisor of the aforementioned two
officers. (Rec. docs. 1, pp. 1, 4; 8).
is an inmate of the Richwood Correctional Center in Monroe,
Louisiana, who was previously incarcerated at the Orleans
Justice Center (“OJC”)(formerly known as the
Orleans Parish Prison) as a result of the incident complained
of herein. Plaintiff alleges that on April 15, 2017, he was
wrongfully arrested by Officers Thompson and Schuh and
charged with aggravated assault based solely on the word of
the victims to that crime notwithstanding that, in truth and
fact, the purported victims had actually assaulted and
injured him. (Rec. doc. 1, pp. 8-12). As a result of the
officers' alleged failure to properly and thoroughly
investigate the circumstances of the crime, while under the
supervision of the unnamed shift supervisor, Plaintiff
asserts that he was falsely arrested without probable cause
for a crime that he did not commit. (Id.). In
addition to his claim under §1983, Plaintiff invokes the
supplemental jurisdiction of the court and sues all of the
Defendants in their official and individual capacities.
(Id. at p. 9). He seeks compensatory and punitive
damages and the lodging of any appropriate criminal charges
against the named Defendants. (Id. at p. 12).
noted earlier, Plaintiff has instituted suit herein in
forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915. (Rec.
doc. 8). A proceeding brought in forma pauperis may
be dismissed if it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); see
also 28 U.S.C.§1915A(b), 42 U.S.C. §1997e(c).
Giving the instant complaint a liberal reading, it is the
recommendation of the undersigned Magistrate Judge that this
matter be dismissed for failing to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
claim in the instant case is that he was arrested and charged
with aggravated assault based solely on the word of the
victims and without a proper investigation being conducted by
the named Defendant police officers. With respect to the
charge for which Plaintiff was arrested, a review of the
docket master in case No. 534426 on the docket of the
Criminal District for the Parish of Orleans (available at
www.opcso.org) reveals that on June 29, 2017,
Plaintiff, attended by counsel, pled guilty to the charged
offense and was sentenced to 75 days at OJC with credit for
of the fact that the sentence that was imposed on the charge
that Plaintiff was arrested for and subsequently convicted of
has expired, Randell v. Johnson, 227 F.3d 300, 301
(5th Cir. 2000), the Court must analyze his claims
against the backdrop of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 114 S.Ct. 2364 (1994) and its progeny. The Fifth Circuit
recently had occasion to again consider the effect of
Heck, as follows:
In Heck, the Supreme Court considered the effect of
a criminal conviction on a plaintiff's §1983 claim.
It held that a plaintiff is not permitted to use a §1983
suit to challenge …[the] validity of his or her
conviction unless the plaintiff shows that the conviction has
been reversed or invalidated. Heck, 512 U.S. at
486-87, 114 S.Ct. 2364; see Bush v. Strain, 513 F.3d
492, 497 (5th Cir. 2008). Under the holding of
Heck, if a judgment in the plaintiffs favor on a
§1983 claim “would necessarily imply the
invalidity of his [or her] conviction or sentence, ”
the claim is barred. Connors v. Graves, 538 F.3d
373, 376 (5th Cir. 2008). Heck's bar
extends to convictions obtained through guilty pleas.
See, e.g., id. at 375-76.
Thomas v. Pohlmann, 681 Fed.Appx. 401, 406
(5th Cir. 2017).
Fifth Circuit has also "...
specifically noted that false arrest...
claims challenge the existence of probable cause and, thus,
by their essence are collateral attacks on a criminal
judgment's validity.” Cormier v. Lafayette
City-Par. Consol. Gov't, 493 Fed.Appx. 578, 583
(5thCir. 2012)(citing Wells v. Bohner, 45
F.3d 90, 95 (5th Cir. 1995)).
instant case, Plaintiff does not allege that his aggravated
assault conviction has been invalidated as Heck
requires. Given that he ultimately pled guilty to the charge
for which he was arrested, allowing him to proceed with his
false arrest claim would necessarily implicate the validity
of his conviction because the same conduct that formed the
probable cause for his arrest also provided the basis for his
conviction. Thomas, 681 Fed.Appx. at 406;
Cormier, 493 Fed.Appx. at 583-85; Wallace v.
City of Slidell, No. 15-CV-0383, 2016 WL 1223065 at *2
(E.D. La. Mar. 28, 2016), aff'd, 671 Fed.Appx.
354 (5th Cir. 2016). See also Sappington v.
Bartee, 195 F.3d 234, 237 (5th Cir.
1999)(Heck bars §1983 recovery since conviction
for aggravated assault necessarily implies that there was
probable cause for arrest). The same result obtains with
respect to Plaintiffs state law claim for false arrest.
Thomas, 681 Fed.Appx. at 408-09; Cormier,
493 Fed.Appx. at 584-85; Wallace, 2016 WL 1223065 at
*2. For these reasons, it will be recommended that Plaintiffs
case be dismissed for failure to state a claim under
foregoing reasons, it is recommended that Plaintiffs suit be
dismissed for failing to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
party's failure to file written objections to the
proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendation contained
in a magistrate judge's report and recommendation within
14 days after being served with a copy shall bar that party,
except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal
the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal
conclusions accepted by the district court, provided that the
party has been served with notice that such ...