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Lindsay v. Stanly County Court

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

April 14, 2014

DERRICK JERVON LINDSAY, Plaintiff,
v.
STANLY COUNTY COURT, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, Defendants.

ORDER

FRANK D. WHITNEY, Chief District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1), and on Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, (Doc. No. 2).

First, as to Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, Plaintiff's inmate trust fund account states that as of April 3, 2014, he had $0.00 in his account. See (Doc. No. 5 at 2). The Court finds that Plaintiff has insufficient funds with which to pay the filing fee. The Court, therefore, grants Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a state court inmate currently incarcerated in Lanesboro Correctional Institution in Polkton, North Carolina, after being convicted of second-degree sexual offense in Stanly County on June 2, 2003. Plaintiff has named as Defendants "Stanly County Court" and "Department of Public Safety." In this action, filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff is challenging his conviction based on his contention that he is being incarcerated unlawfully because he is a Moorish American National.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds that it is "frivolous or malicious [or] fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Furthermore, § 1915A requires an initial review of a "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, " and the court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

In its frivolity review, this Court must determine whether the Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). Furthermore, a pro se complaint must be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the liberal construction requirement will not permit a district court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts which set forth a claim that is cognizable under federal law. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990).

III. DISCUSSION

In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the United States Supreme Court held as follows:

[I]n 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 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, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983. Thus, when a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983 suit, the district 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. But if the district court determines that the plaintiff's action, even if successful, will not demonstrate the invalidity of any outstanding criminal judgment against the plaintiff, the action should be allowed to proceed, in the absence of some other bar to the suit.

Id. at 486-87 (footnotes omitted; emphasis added). Here, Plaintiff has not alleged in his Complaint that his underlying conviction has been reversed or otherwise invalidated. Indeed, he has alleged that his conviction has not been reversed. Therefore, his claims are barred by Heck.[1]

IV. CONCLUSION

In sum, for the reasons stated above, the Court dismisses this action as barred by Heck.

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis, (Doc. No. 2), is GRANTED for the limited purpose of this review.
2. This action is DISMISSED.
3. The Clerk is directed to close this case.

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