United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
RUSSELL E. APPENZELLER, Plaintiff,
MICHELLE MILLER et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Plaintiff Russell E. Appenzeller is a state prisoner
in the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction (ODRC) incarcerated in the Belmont Correctional
Institution (BCI) in St. Clairsville, Ohio. He has filed an
In Forma Pauperis Complaint in this action against
BCI and various ODRC and BCI officials and employees,
contending he is wrongfully incarcerated on 2006 convictions
imposed on him in Lake County, Ohio. (Doc. No. 6.) Although
the Website for the ODRC indicates the Plaintiff was
convicted of Six Counts of Burglary, Two Counts of Attempted
Burglary and Two Counts of Theft in Lake County, the
Plaintiff contends in his Complaint that there was never any
arrest, indictment or prosecution by the State of Ohio
against him in Lake County and he seeks to be immediately
released from prison and damages against the Defendants for
holding him on Lake County convictions. (See Doc.
No. 6 at 7, 8, 10.)
pro se pleadings are liberally construed and held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365
(1982); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
Federal District Courts are required under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e) and 1915A to screen all in forma
pauperis actions and actions in which prisoners seek
redress from governmental entities, officials and employees,
and to dismiss before service any such action that the Court
determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary damages
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
In order to state a claim on which relief may be granted, a
plaintiff's complaint must set forth “sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 471
(holding that the dismissal standards articulated in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), govern
dismissals for failure to state a claim under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e) and 1915A).
Court finds that the Plaintiff's Complaint must be
summarily dismissed pursuant to §§ 1915(e) and
to the extent the Plaintiff is seeking immediate release from
prison, he is precluded from seeking such relief through a
civil rights complaint under the Supreme Court's decision
in Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973). The
Supreme Court held in Preiser: “when a state
prisoner is challenging the very fact or duration of his
physical imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a
determination that he is entitled to immediate or speedier
release from that imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a
writ of habeas corpus.” Id. at 500. A prisoner
may not use a civil rights action as an alternative to a
petition for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge the
legality of his confinement. Id. at 489-490.
to the extent the Plaintiff seeks money damages arising from
his allegedly unlawful imprisonment, his action is barred the
Supreme Court's decision in Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477 (1994). Heck held that a plaintiff may
not pursue a damages claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
arising out of an allegedly unlawful conviction or sentence
unless and until the conviction or sentence has been reversed
on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared
invalid by a state tribunal or called into question by a
federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.
(Id. at 486-87.) Until such time, a federal cause of
action is not cognizable. Nothing in the Plaintiff's
Complaint suggests that the Lake County criminal convictions
of which he complains have been called into question, or
invalidated in any of the ways articulated in Heck.
In fact, his Lake County convictions and the twenty-eight
sentence imposed on him by the Lake Country trial court, have
been upheld. See, e.g., State v. Appenzeller, 2009
-Ohio- 6384, ¶ 1, 2009 WL 4547768 (Ohio App. 11 Dist.,
2009); State v. Appenzeller, 2008 -Ohio- 7005,
¶ 124, 2008 WL 5451425, (Ohio App. 11 Dist., 2008)
(upholding Lake County convictions and sentence);
Appenzeller v. Miller, No. 1: 10 CV 13, 2011 WL
1256697, at *5 (N.D. Ohio March 13, 2011) (dismissing
Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus). Accordingly, the
Plaintiff has stated no cognizable damages claim arising from
any alleged unlawful conviction or sentence imposed on him in
reasons stated above, the Plaintiff's Complaint is
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
and 1915A. The Court further certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(3) that an appeal from this decision could not
be taken in good faith.