United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Lorenzo Mishaad
Jones's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012) Complaint (ECF No.
1) and Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No.
2). Because he appears indigent, the Court will grant
Jones's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis.
After screening Jones's Complaint, however, the Court
will dismiss it with prejudice.
filed his § 1983 Complaint on September 26, 2016,
seeking a jury trial, unspecified compensatory and punitive
damages, and equitable relief. (ECF No. 1). Jones, who is
confined at the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and
Classification Center in Baltimore, Maryland, files suit
against Defendants Amanda M. Bessicks, Assistant State's
Attorney for Cecil County, Maryland, and Officer Francis
Wallace, detective for the Cecil County Sheriff's Office.
asserts that he was maliciously prosecuted on armed robbery
and assault charges. (Id.). He alleges that although
evidence was collected by law enforcement, DNA test results
were not completed and neither photographic nor real evidence
were introduced during his February 3, 2016 jury trial. Jones
further alleges that clothing found at his residence does not
match the victim's description of the suspect's
attire. He contends that the victim did not want to press
charges against him, but Bessicks and Wallace decided to
pursue the criminal case and lied to the jury with
“make believe” evidence to obtain probable cause
to search his apartment and arrest him. (Id.).
permitting the case to move forward or requiring a response
from Defendants, the Court will screen Jones's Complaint.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) (“The court
shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event,
as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a
civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.”). As part of the screening, the Court will
“identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint,
or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
state court docket shows that on February 5, 2016, Jones was
convicted of one count each of armed robbery, robbery,
first-degree assault, and second-degree assault. He was
sentenced to a fifteen-year term on the armed robbery count
and a five-year sentence on the assault count. There is no
showing that the criminal judgments were overturned or
otherwise officially rendered invalid. State v.
Jones, Case No. 07-K-15-001159 (Circuit Court for Cecil
extent that Jones seeks damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for civil rights violations during his criminal case, the
Court will dismiss his Complaint without prejudice because
Jones's claims are not cognizable under Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
plaintiff in Heck, an Indiana state prisoner, sued
two state prosecutors and a state investigator who had
participated in the investigation leading to plaintiff's
conviction. Plaintiff alleged that defendants had knowingly
destroyed evidence which was exculpatory in nature and had
also caused an unlawful voice identification procedure to be
used at trial. The complaint sought compensatory and monetary
damages. The Supreme Court of the United States concluded
that the complaint had to be dismissed. In so doing, the
Court rejected the lower court's reasoning that a §
1983 action should be classified as a habeas corpus action:
We hold that, in order to recover damages for alleged
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 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.
Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87.
Jones challenges the constitutionality of his convictions and
incarceration and seeks compensatory damages. Because a
judgment in Jones's favor would necessarily imply the
invalidity of his criminal conviction, the Court will dismiss
aforementioned reasons, the Court will GRANT Jones's
Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis and DISMISS his