United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JAOKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the United States Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation (Doc. 7) pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The Report and Recommendation
addresses Plaintiff Paul Poupart's Complaint
(Doc. 1) against Defendants under 42 U.S.C.
§1983, alleging that he was sentenced under an
unconstitutional statute and is wrongfully incarcerated. The
Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiffs claims against
Defendants be dismissed with prejudice as legally frivolous
and for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A.
(Doc. 7 at p. 4). The Magistrate Judge further recommends,
upon the adoption of this report, that Plaintiffs pending
Motion for Service (Doc. 6) be denied as moot.
Report and Recommendation notified the parties that, pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), they had fourteen days from
the date they received the Report and Recommendation to file
written objections to the proposed findings of fact,
conclusions of law, and recommendations therein. Defendant
filed an objection.
Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiffs claims are barred by
the Heck doctrine. In Heck u. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364 (1994), the Supreme Court of the
United States held that a claim that effectively attacks the
constitutionality of a conviction or imprisonment is not
cognizable under § 1983 unless and until that 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. Thus, a §1983 claim must be
dismissed if the adjudication of the claim would imply the
invalidity of a plaintiffs prior criminal conviction or
sentence. Id. at 486-87. The Magistrate Judge found
that Plaintiffs claims challenge the constitutionality of his
imprisonment, and Plaintiff does not allege that his
conviction or sentence has been reversed, expunged, declared
invalid, or called into question. (Doc. 7 at p. 3).
Additionally, The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff
previously filed a writ of habeas corpus in the
Eastern District of Louisiana to challenge the same
conviction. This petition was denied with prejudice and
affirmed on appeal. (Id. at p. 4). For these
reasons, the Magistrate Judge recommends dismissal of the
claims under 28 U.S.C. §§1915(e) and 1915A.
objection, Plaintiff argues that his claim challenges the
duration of his confinement, and that his claim should not be
barred by Heck. (Doc. 8 at p. 4). Plaintiff further
argues that the Heck doctrine is focused more on the
state prerequisites than on the common law of torts, and
"that the government [sic] has determined that
§1983 actions apply to torts." (Id.) He
asks the Court to revisit the case of Heck v.
Humphrey and to rule in his favor.
Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's findings.
Although Plaintiff asserts that he is not directly
challenging his conviction, only the duration of his
confinement, Plaintiffs claims still imply the invalidity of
his conviction, which has not been challenged. If the Court
were to rule that Plaintiffs duration of confinement is
incorrect, then this undermines the validity of his
conviction, which is the reason for his confinement. The
Heck doctrine rests on the "principle that
civil tort actions are not appropriate vehicles for
challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments." Heck, 512 U.S. at 486. An action
under 42 U.S.C. §1983 is not the appropriate way for
Plaintiff to challenge the duration of his confinement. Thus,
the Magistrate Judge correctly determined that Plaintiff
failed to state a claim on which relief may be granted.
Dismissal of Plaintiffs claims are appropriate under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A, which authorize the
Court to dismiss claims brought by a prisoner against a
governmental entity if the Court is satisfied that the action
or claim is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.
carefully considered the underlying Complaint, the instant
motions, and related filings, the Court approves the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, and hereby
adopts its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and
IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs action is
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs pending Motion
for Service (Doc. 6) is DENIED AS MOOT.
Paul Poupart v. Robert
Tanner, No. CV 15-1340, 2017 WL 1511610 (E.D. La. 2017),
aff'd by Paul Poupart u. Timothy Hooper, 740
Fed.Appx. 53 (5th Cir. 2018). cert, denied, 139