Sheffield v. Bonds ( 2010 )

  •                                                                                         FILED
                                                                                             JAN 2 9 2010
                                UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT                           Clerk, U.S. District and
                                FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA                             Bankruptcy Courts
     Stephen Sheffield,
             v.                                         Civil Action No.         10 0180
     Tommy Bonds,
                                      MEMORANDUM OPINION
            Plaintiff Stephen Sheffield has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis and a pro
    se complaint. The application will be granted and the petition will be dismissed.
            Sheffield is a prisoner currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in
    Florence, Colorado. CompI. at 1. The complaint, filed under 42 U.S.C. §1983, seeks damages in
    the amount of $1 00 million from the defendant, an officer in the District of Columbia
    Metropolitan Police Department. Id at 1, 4. It asserts that the defendant fabricated charges
    against the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff is now imprisoned for crimes he did not commit. Id
    at 5.
            Plaintiffs action is barred by the rule announced in Heck v. Humphrey, 
    512 U.S. 477
    (1994). In that case, the plaintiff alleged that prosecutors and police investigators involved in his
    criminal prosecution had engaged in unlawful conduct that led to his arrest and conviction. Id
    at 479. The Supreme Court concluded that "the hoary principle that civil tort actions are not
    appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal jUdgments applies to
    § 1983 damages actions that necessarily require the plaintiff to prove the unlawfulness of his
    conviction or confinement." Id at 486. Accordingly, "in order to recover damages from
    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 a determination, or called into
    question by a federal court's issuance ofa writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254." Id at 486-
    87. Accordingly, "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." Id at 487.
           Here, the wrongs that plaintiff alleges, if proved, would render his conviction invalid.
    The plaintiff has not demonstrated that his conviction or sentence has already been invalidated. I
    Therefore, under the rule in Heck v. Humphrey, this civil rights action for damages must be
           A separate order of companies, this memorandum opinion.
    Date: ~?A-J' ~D, ~Dli)                         urute~is:2~~~~
           I   Plaintiff has recently noticed a direct appeal from his criminal conviction.

Document Info

DocketNumber: Civil Action No. 2010-0180

Judges: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly

Filed Date: 1/29/2010

Precedential Status: Precedential

Modified Date: 10/30/2014