United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is a civil rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 filed by pro se Plaintiff Christopher Bell
(“Bell”) (#437232). (Docs. 1, 9). Bell is an
inmate in the custody of the Louisiana Department of
Corrections, incarcerated at the River Bend Detention Center
in Lake Providence, Louisiana. Bell filed his Complaint in
the Middle District of Louisiana, which transferred the case
to this Court. (Doc. 5). Bell challenges the validity of his
conviction in the Tenth Judicial District Court, Natchitoches
Parish. Bell seeks a reduction of his sentence to “time
served” and a release from custody. (Doc. 1).
a sentence reduction and release from custody cannot be
obtained in a civil rights action, Defendants Hawthorn and
Kyzer are immune from suit, and the 10th Judicial District
Court is not an entity capable of being sued, the Complaint
(Docs. 1, 9) should be DENIED and DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
alleges that his sentence for manslaughter imposed in the
10th Judicial District Court is illegal. (Doc. 9, p. 3).
names as Defendants the 10th Judicial District Court, Judge
Dee Ann Hawthorn, and District Attorney Van H. Kyzer. (Doc.
9, p. 5).
Law and Analysis
Bell's Complaint is subject to screening under
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
an inmate who has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis.
(Doc. 12). As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or
employee of a governmental entity, Bell's Complaint is
subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80
(5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is proceeding in
forma pauperis, Bell's Complaint is also subject to
screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal
of the Complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds
it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an
arguable basis in law when it is “based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at
327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted when it fails to plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
Bell cannot obtain a release from custody or reduction of
sentence in a § 1983 suit.
prisoner may not challenge the validity of a state criminal
proceeding in a § 1983 suit. Such a claim must be raised
in a petition for writ of habeas corpus. See
Calderon v. Ashmus, 523 U.S. 740, 747 (1998) (claim
by a prisoner attacking the validity or duration of his
confinement must be brought under the habeas sections of the
United States Code); Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.
475, 500 (1973) (when an inmate challenges the fact or
duration of his confinement and the relief he seeks is
immediate or speedier release, his sole federal remedy is a
writ of habeas corpus); Jackson v. Torres, 720 F.2d
877, 879 (5th Cir. 1983); Johnson v. Hardy, 601 F.2d
172, 174 (5th Cir. 1979). A prisoner must fully exhaust state
remedies before seeking federal habeas relief. 28 U.S.C.
Bell requests a sentence reduction and a speedier release
from custody in this § 1983 suit, ...