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Bush v. Struthers Ohio Police Department

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

December 18, 2019

ZARYL G. BUSH, Plaintiff,
v.
STRUTHERS OHIO POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER [RESOLVING ECF NOS. 4, 5]

          BENITA Y. PEARSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is the Amended Complaint of Pro se Plaintiff Zaryl Bush, a state prisoner, against the Struthers Ohio Police Department, Detective Jeffrey Lewis, Detective Raymond Greenwood, and Chief of Police Timothy Rody. ECF No. 4 [Sealed]. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prior to his incarceration, and those violations resulted in his current imprisonment. Id. at PageID #: 32.

         For the reasons that follow, this case is dismissed.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution. According to the Amended Complaint, the “incident” that led to the death of a fourteen-year-old child[1]occurred on January 21, 2013. Id. at PageID #: 33. Bush alleges he became the target for this crime by the Struthers Police Department before any evidence was produced, and Defendants conspired to deprive him of his constitutional rights and impair his ability to receive a fair trial by conducting an insufficient investigation.[2] See Id. at PageID #: 33-38.

         For relief, Bush asks the Court to award him damages in the amount of thirty-three million dollars. Id. at PageID #: 39.

         II. Standard of Review

         Pro se pleadings are liberally construed by the Court. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Notwithstanding, the district court is required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to review all in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss before service any such complaint that the Court determines is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470 (6th Cir. 2010). While some latitude must be extended to pro se plaintiffs with respect to their pleadings, the Court is not required to conjure unpleaded facts or construct claims against defendants on behalf of a pro se plaintiff. See Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 577 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted); Thomas v. Brennan, 2018 WL 3135939, at *1 (N.D. Ohio June 26, 2018) (citing Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985) and Erwin v. Edwards, 22 Fed.Appx. 579, 580 (6th Cir. 2001)).

         In order to withstand scrutiny under § 1915(e)(2)(B), “‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470-71 (holding that the dismissal standard articulated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570)). Thus, a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted when it lacks “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 471.

         III. Analysis

         The Court finds that the Amended Complaint must be dismissed for two reasons. To the extent Plaintiff seeks to invalidate or set aside his state conviction or sentence pursuant to a § 1983 civil rights action, he fails to state a cognizable claim. A habeas corpus proceeding, not a civil rights action, is the appropriate remedy for a state prisoner to attack the validity of his conviction or the length of his sentence. Wright v. Kinneary, 46 Fed.Appx. 250, 252 (6th Cir. 2002) (“Wright's claims are subject to dismissal to the extent his complaint may be construed as a direct attack on the validity of his confinement.”) (citing Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-90 (1973) (a habeas corpus proceeding, not a civil rights action, is the appropriate remedy for a state prisoner to attack the validity of his conviction or length of his sentence)).

         With respect to Plaintiff's request for money damages as a remedy for the alleged constitutional deprivations by Defendants that led to his conviction and incarceration, this action is barred by Heck. In Heck, the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff may not pursue a § 1983 damages action arising from an allegedly unconstitutional conviction or sentence unless and until the plaintiff shows that the conviction or sentence at issue 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. Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. Even with the benefit of liberal construction, nothing in the Amended Complaint suggests that Plaintiff's conviction and sentence have been called into question or invalidated by any of the means articulated by Heck. Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable § 1983 claim. See Adams v. Morris, 90 Fed.Appx. 856, 858 (6th Cir. 2004) (“Because [plaintiff's] confinement has not been remedied by any of the procedures listed in Heck, the district court properly found that his claims are not cognizable under § 1983.”).

         IV. Conclusion

         For the foregoing reasons, this action is dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff's motion for appointment of ...


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