United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
Robert H. McNeely, Plaintiff
State of Ohio, Defendant
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY J. HELMICK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before me on the civil rights Complaint of
Plaintiff Robert H. McNeely. (Doc. 1). Also before me is
Plaintiff's motion to proceed with this matter in
forma pauperis. (Doc. 2). For the following reasons, I
grant Plaintiff's in forma pauperis motion, and
dismiss this action.
Complaint chronicles a criminal case in the Lucas County,
Ohio Court of Common Pleas where Plaintiff alleges that he
pleaded guilty on October 22, 2004, to rape and sexual
battery. (Doc. 1 at 2-3). The events described in the
Complaint include various appeals and writs filed by
Plaintiff. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was released
from prison on May 26, 2016. After he was released, Plaintiff
filed various motions with the Ohio courts, all of which were
dismissed or denied. (Id. at 5-6). Plaintiff alleges
that he was wrongfully convicted and asks that I overturn his
conviction, clear his record, bar state prosecutors for
further attempts to prosecute him, and award him 30 Million
Dollars in damages. (Id. at 6).
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), I am
required to dismiss an in forma pauperis action
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th
Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99
F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). A claim lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact when it is premised on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or when the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. A cause
of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks “plausibility in the
complaint.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007).
fails to allege a plausible civil rights claim pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 because Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) bars such claims. Under
Heck, a plaintiff cannot succeed in a § 1983
action when the basis for the claim necessarily implies the
invalidity of a previous state criminal conviction.
[I]n order to recover damages for allegedly 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
Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87.
Plaintiff asks this Court to overturn his 2004 conviction in
the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, clear his record, and
award him damages. This I cannot do. Plaintiff has not
alleged that this criminal conviction has been resolved in
his favor or invalidated in any of the ways articulated by
Heck. Indeed, he alleges to the contrary. Therefore,
Heck bars Plaintiff's § 1983
action. Except in the context of a properly
asserted habeas corpus action brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, Plaintiff may not ask a district court to review
rulings made in state criminal proceedings. See Holland
v. Cty. of Macomb, No. 16-2103, 2017 WL 3391653, at *2
(6th Cir. Mar. 17, 2017) (affirming dismissal to the extent
that plaintiff asked the district court to overturn his
conviction because such a claim is barred by Heck
and not cognizable under § 1983) (citing Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 488-90 (1973)).
reasons stated above, I grant Plaintiff's motion to
proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). I certify pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that ...