United States District Court, D. Maryland
KEITH A. HILL, #449267 Plaintiff,
DET. JONES, #3443 Pammer Park Police Force Defendant.
XINIS United States District Judge.
April 6, 2017, Plaintiff Keith A. Hill, an inmate housed at
the Roxbury Correctional Institution, filed a complaint
against Palmer Park Police Detective Jones alleging
violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and requesting
$3, 000, 000.00 in compensatory damages. Hill accuses
Jones of lying to a grand jury about an attempted home
invasion and a drug offense. ECF No. 1. Hill contends that he
was later exonerated of all false accusations in May of 2016.
Because Hill appears indigent, he shall be granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis.
28 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.” (28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)); see also
McLean v. United States, 566 F.3d 391, 394 (4th Cir.
2009). 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 reflects that in July of 2014, Hill was
charged with one count 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. Officer Jones,
#3443, was the complaining officer. 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 of imprisonment. Hill
has not shown that the judgment in the criminal Circuit Court
case was 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 dismissed without prejudice as the claims are not
cognizable under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477
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
exculpatory evidence and had used an unlawful voice
identification procedure to be used at trial. The complaint
sought compensatory and monetary damages. The Supreme Court
concluded that the complaint must be dismissed, holding that:
[t]o 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).
Hill's claim that he was exonerated of
all charges arising out of Officer
Jones' criminal complaint is not correct. Further,
Hill's claims against Officer Jones implicates the
constitutionality of his incarceration, which cannot proceed
in this court. See Heck, 512 U.S at 486-87.
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); 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.”); Banks v. Buchanan, 336 Fed.Appx.
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