United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 7).
Plaintiff Harry Sharod James is a prisoner of the State of
North Carolina, currently incarcerated at Hyde Correctional
Center in Swan Quarter, North Carolina. The North Carolina
Department of Public Safety website indicates that Plaintiff
was convicted after a jury trial of first-degree murder in
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and he was sentenced to
life in prison.
filed this action on June 22, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, naming the following persons as Defendants: (1)
Samantha Pendergrass, identified as an Assistant District
Attorney for the State of North Carolina; and (2) Sandra
Wallace-Smith, identified as a Special Deputy Attorney
General for the State of North Carolina. (Doc. No. 1 at 3).
In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants wrongly
failed to move to dismiss the underlying state criminal
indictments against Plaintiff that led to his murder
conviction and that Defendants also wrongly failed to file a
motion to suppress certain evidence in his underlying
criminal proceedings. Plaintiff seeks, among other things,
damages against Defendants. (Id.).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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.
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).
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
plaintiffs 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, given the allegations in the Complaint, a judgment in
Plaintiff s favor would necessarily imply the invalidity of
his conviction or sentence. Plaintiff has not alleged,
however, that his underlying conviction has been reversed or
otherwise invalidated. Therefore, his claims are barred by
for the reasons stated above, the Court will dismiss this
action without prejudice. IT ...