United States District Court, D. Maryland
RAYMOND E. SIMS-LEWIS Plaintiff
OFC. DANCY DEBROSSE, BALTIMORE CITY POLICE DEPT., S. RAWLINS-BLAKE, and LARRY HOGAN Defendants
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 9, 2016, Plaintiff Raymond E. Sims-Lewis, a prisoner
incarcerated in the Maryland Reception Diagnostic and
Classification Center, filed the above-captioned civil rights
complaint together with a Motion to Proceed in Forma
Pauperis. Because he appears to be indigent, Plaintiffs
motion shall be granted. For the reasons that follow, the
Complaint must be dismissed without prejudice.
alleges that Officer Dancy Debrosse falsely accused him of
pointing a gun at six people; committed perjury; defamed his
character, and caused him emotional distress. ECF 1 at pp.
3-4. He further alleges that Debrosse's conduct was the
result of negligent hiring practices and a failure to
properly supervise Debrosse by the Baltimore City Police
Department, Mayor Rawlins-Blake, and Governor Larry Hogan.
Id. As relief, he seeks monetary damages and
dismissal of two pending Circuit Court cases (No. 116173036
and No. 112033005). Id. at p. 3.
State of Maryland v. Raymond Sims-Lewis, Case No.
116173036 (Bait. City Cir. Ct. June 21, 2016), Plaintiff is
awaiting trial on 26 separate criminal charges that include
first degree assault, possession of CDS, firearms charges,
and traffic violations. Officer Debrosse is listed as one of
the three police officers involved in the case. No trial date
has been scheduled in the case and Plaintiff is represented
by the Public Defender's Office. In State of Maryland
v. Raymond Sims-Lewis, Case No. 112033005 (Bait. City
Cir. Ct. Feb. 2, 2012), Plaintiff appears to be facing a
violation of probation charge. On October 10, 2013, he pled
guilty to charges of possession of CDS with intent to
manufacture or distribute and received a sentence of 13 years
with 12 years, 11 months, and 27 days suspended and three
years of probation. The electronic docked indicates a warrant
for violation of probation was issued on January 7, 2014.
claims asserted in the complaint implicate the validity of
pending criminal charges against Plaintiff. In other words,
if the claims were permitted to go to trial before the
criminal case is resolved, the criminal case may be impacted
by the rulings issued in the civil proceedings. This is the
type of claim that this Court must abstain from entertaining
while the criminal case remains pending.
Younger abstention doctrine ""requires a
federal court to abstain from interfering in state
proceedings, even if jurisdiction exists, " if there is:
"(1) an ongoing state judicial proceeding, instituted
prior to any substantial progress in the federal proceeding;
that (2) implicates important, substantial, or vital state
interests; and (3) provides an adequate opportunity for the
plaintiff to raise the federal constitutional claim advanced
in the federal lawsuit." Laurel Sand & Gravel,
Inc. v. Wilson, 519 F.3d 156, 165 (4th Cir. 2008).
"Younger is not merely a principle of
abstention; rather, the case sets forth a mandatory rule of
equitable restraint, requiring the dismissal of a federal
action." Williams v. Lubin, 516 F.Supp.2d 535,
539 (D. Md. 2007) (internal quotation omitted).
if Plaintiff is convicted of the pending charges, his claims
implicating their validity may not proceed unless or until
the conviction is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or
impugned. Complaints that contain such claims must also be
dismissed without prejudice. See Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994) (42 U.S.C. §1983 claims
impugning the legality of criminal conviction not cognizable
unless conviction is reversed), see also Edwards v.
Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 645 (1997) (Heck
precludes claims that necessarily imply the invalidity of the
State of Maryland has a vital state interest in prosecuting
alleged criminal activity and Plaintiff is free to raise his
allegation that the arresting officer's report is false
in the context of his criminal case. To the extent that
Plaintiff raises claims of defamation and intentional
infliction of emotional distress, those claims do not
implicate a federal constitutional or statutory right and are
not properly filed in this Court absent establishment of
diversity jurisdiction. The Complaint shall, therefore, be
dismissed without prejudice by separate Order which follows.
 See http.//casesearch.
courts.state, md. us/inquiry.
 Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S.
See 28 U S C § 1391(b)
("a civil action wherein jurisdiction is founded only on
diversity of citizenship may be brought only in (1) a
judicial district where any defendant resides, if all
defendants reside in the same State (2) a judicial district
in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving
rise to the claim occurred, or a substantial part of property
that is the subject of the action is situated, or (3) a
judicial district in which any defendant is subject to
personal jurisdiction at ...