United States District Court, D. Maryland
KEITH A. HILL, #449267 Plaintiff,
DET. JONES, #3443 Pammer Park Police Force Defendant.
Xinis United States District Judge
November 30, 2016, the court received a complaint from Keith
A. Hill, an inmate housed at the Roxbury Correctional
Institution. The complaint, construed as a 42 U.S.C. §
1983 civil rights action requesting unspecified compensation
against Palmer Park Maryland Police Detective
Jones.Hill accuses Jones of “police
misconduct, ” alleging that in August of 2014, Jones
lied to a grand jury about an attempted home invasion and a
drug offense. ECF No. 1. He contends that he was later
exonerated of all false accusations in May of 2016. Because
he appears indigent, Hill shall be granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis.
U.S.C. § 1915A provides for screening of any complaint
“in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” See McLean v. United States, 566 F.3d
391, 394 (4th Cir. 2009); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Before
permitting the case to move forward or requiring a response
from the defendants, “the court shall 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.” See 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b); see also Williamson v. Angelone, 197
F.Supp.2d 476, 478 (E.D. Va. 2001); McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997). The
screening is necessary to determine whether defendants should
be required to respond to the action.
state court docket shows that in July of 2014, Hill was
charged with counts of attempted first-degree burglary,
attempted robbery, armed robbery, conspiracy to commit an
armed robbery, and conspiracy to commit a robbery in the
District Court for Prince George's County. The charges
were based upon a complaint filed by Officer Jones, #3443. On
August 6, 2014, the case was transferred to the Circuit Court
for Prince George's County. See State v. Hill,
Criminal No. 0E005477701 (District Court for Prince
George's County). Subsequent to a circuit court jury
trial, on May 11, 2016, Hill was found guilty of attempted
second-degree burglary and firearm possession with a felony
conviction. He was acquitted of attempted armed robbery,
attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and
conspiracy to commit robbery, drug conspiracy and handgun
counts were nolle prossed. He was sentenced to a cumulative
15-year term in the Division of Correction. There is no
showing that the criminal judgments were overturned or
otherwise officially rendered invalid. State v.
Hill, Criminal No. CT141066A (Circuit Court for Prince
George's County). See
extent that Hill is seeking damages under a 42 U.S.C. §
1983 civil rights theory related to government employees'
alleged illegal acts involving his criminal case, the case
shall be summarily dismissed without prejudice as the claims
are not cognizable under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
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 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. Said the Court:
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 486-7 (emphasis in original).
complaint for damages may not proceed. His claim that he was
exonerated of all charges arising out of Officer Jones'
criminal complaint is not correct. His civil rights claim for
damages against Officer Jones raises a challenge to the
constitutionality of his incarceration. It is not
appropriately before the court. Under Heck, a claim
for damages challenging a prosecution is barred, as a
judgment in Hill's favor would necessarily imply the
invalidity of his criminal convictions.
aforementioned reason, Hill's motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis is granted. The complaint shall, however,
be dismissed without prejudice. A separate Order follows.
 Hill also seeks to have Officer Jones
charged with perjury. This Court has no authority to initiate
criminal charges. The decision whether or not to prosecute,
and for what offense, rests with the prosecution.
See, e.g., Borderkircher v. Hayes,
434 U.S. 357, 364 (1978). The Supreme Court said in Linda
R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973):
“[I]n American jurisprudence at least, a private
citizen lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the
prosecution or nonprosecution of another.” See also
Banks v. Buchanan, 336 Fed.Appx. 122, 123 ...