United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
5, 2015, Jeffrey Cohen, presently incarcerated at the Federal
Correctional Institution - Hazelton, appeared before Judge
William D. Quarles, Jr. and pleaded guilty to wire fraud,
aggravated identity theft, false statements, and obstructing
justice (threatening an attorney). He is serving a 444-month
sentence. See United States v. Cohen, Criminal No.
GLR-14-0310 (D. Md.), ECF 389. The conviction and sentence were
upheld on appeal on April 25, 2018. United States v.
Cohen, 888 F.3d 667 (4th Cir. 2018). The mandate issued
on May 17, 2018. Id., ECF 684.
Cohen's appeal was pending, he filed the above-captioned
civil action. ECF 1. In particular, he sued two federal
prosecutors in the criminal case, Harry M. Gruber and Joyce
McDonald, as well as postal inspector Kalliopi
Tserkis-Mullins and FBI Agent Jason Bender. In his Complaint,
Cohen seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging
numerous instances of investigatory and prosecutorial
misconduct with regard to search and seizure warrants
resulting in the confiscation of assets, including property
and bank accounts. ECF 1 at 5-15. Cohen argued that the
seizure of those assets precluded him from obtaining counsel
of his choosing. Id. at 12-13.
Nickerson denied Cohen's motion for injunctive relief.
See ECF 19 (Order of October 19, 2016). He also
entered a stay, pending resolution of the criminal case. ECF
25. Thereafter, Cohen noted an interlocutory appeal as to
several rulings of Judge Nickerson. In a per curiam opinion
issued on June 8, 2017, the Fourth Circuit upheld the rulings
as to the stay; the denial of injunctive relief; and the
denial of a motion for reconsideration. ECF 30. And, it
dismissed the remaining claim denying Cohen's motion for
counsel, for lack of jurisdiction. The mandate followed on
July 31, 2017. ECF 31.
have moved to lift the stay and to dismiss the Complaint. ECF
32. Pursuant to the dictates of Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), the Clerk of
Court informed Cohen that the defendants had filed a
dispositive motion; that Cohen had seventeen days in which to
file a written opposition to the motion; and that if Cohen
failed to respond, his claims against defendants could be
denied without further notice. ECF 34. Cohen failed to
respond, and the time for doing so has expired.
that Cohen is a self-represented litigant, the Court has
construed his Complaint liberally. See Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007); Gordon v. Leeke,
574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Even under this less
stringent standard, however, the Complaint is subject to
summary dismissal under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(iii). By calling his action one for
“declaratory relief, ” Cohen at best is
attempting to avoid the Court's previous determination in
Cohen v. Rosenstein, et al., Civil Action
WDQ-14-3726 (D. Md.) that government prosecutors are entitled
to absolute prosecutorial immunity. See also Savage v.
United States, ___ F.3d ___, 2018 WL 33982201, at *4
(4th Cir. July 13, 2018). Cohen's remaining issues of
seizure of property were fully resolved in his criminal case.
action for damages or injunctive relief with regard to
alleged deficiencies in a criminal case, which necessarily
challenges the legality of a conviction, is not cognizable
unless and until the conviction is reversed, expunged,
invalidated, or impugned by the grant of a writ of habeas
corpus. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87,
489 (1994). Cohen's attempt to relitigate the findings
with regard to his arrest, conviction, and seizure of assets
is not appropriate in this forum, and provides no grounds for
relief. Therefore, by separate Order which follows, the
Complaint shall be dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
is hereby advised that, under 28 U.S.C. Â§1915(g), he will be
barred from in forma pauperis status if he has Aon 3 or more
prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any
facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the
United States that was dismissed on the grounds that it is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent
danger of serious physical injury.
 The criminal case was reassigned to
Judge George L. Russell, III, due to the retirement of Judge
 The civil case was originally assigned
to Judge William Nickerson. It was reassigned to Judge J.
Frederick Motz on September 28, 2017, due to Judge
Nickerson's impending retirement. See Docket. It