United States District Court, D. Utah
MEMORANDUM DECISION & DISMISSAL ORDER
STEWART United States District Judge.
Devin Allen, filed this pro se civil rights suit,
see 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 (2017), proceeding
in forma pauperis. See 28 id.
§ 1915. The Complaint is now before the Court for
screening. See Id. § 1915(e). Plaintiff's
claims against the judge who presided over his criminal trial
cite “a pattern of judicial misconduct and
prosecutorial misconduct” in attacking the
constitutionality of his conviction.
Standard of Review
Court shall dismiss any claims in a complaint filed in
forma pauperis if they are frivolous, malicious, fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek
monetary relief against an immune defendant. See Id.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). "Dismissal of a pro se complaint
for failure to state a claim is proper only where it is
obvious that the plaintiff cannot prevail on the facts he has
alleged and it would be futile to give him an opportunity to
amend." Perkins v. Kan. Dep't of Corrs.,
165 F.3d 803, 806 (10th Cir. 1999). When reviewing the
sufficiency of a complaint the Court "presumes all of
plaintiff's factual allegations are true and construes
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff."
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir.
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se the Court must
construe his pleadings "liberally" and hold them
"to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers." Id. at 1110. However,
"[t]he broad reading of the plaintiff's complaint
does not relieve [him] of the burden of alleging sufficient
facts on which a recognized legal claim could be based."
Id. While Plaintiff need not describe every fact in
specific detail, "conclusory allegations without
supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a
claim on which relief can be based." Id.
Complaint alleges what appear to be claims of
unconstitutional criminal conviction. These are brought
against the state-court judge presiding over his trial. It is
well settled that judges "are absolutely immune from
suit unless they act in 'clear absence of all
jurisdiction, ' meaning that even erroneous or malicious
acts are not proper bases for § 1983 claims."
Segler v. Felfam Ltd. P'ship, No. 08-1466, 2009
U.S. App. LEXIS 10152, at *4 (10th Cir. May 11, 2009)
(unpublished) (quoting Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S.
349, 356-57 (1978)). Regarding the claims at issue here, this
judge appears to have been acting in her judicial capacity in
presiding over this case, so her actions are entitled to
absolute immunity. See Doran v. Sanchez, No.
08-2042, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 17987, at *2 (10th Cir. Aug.
19, 2008) (unpublished).
Supreme Court said in Heck “that a § 1983
action that would impugn the validity of a plaintiff's
underlying conviction cannot be maintained unless the
conviction has been reversed on direct appeal or impaired by
collateral proceedings." Nichols v. Baer, No.
08-4158, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 4302, at *4 (10th Cir. Mar. 5,
2009) (unpublished) (citing Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)). Heck prevents litigants
"from using a § 1983 action, with its more lenient
pleading rules, to challenge their conviction or sentence
without complying with the more stringent exhaustion
requirements for habeas actions." Butler v.
Compton, 482 F.3d 1277, 1279 (10th Cir. 2007) (citation
omitted). Heck clarifies that "civil tort
actions are not appropriate vehicles for challenging the
validity of outstanding criminal judgments." 512 U.S. at
argues that Defendant violated his constitutional rights
during state criminal proceedings. These arguments attack
Plaintiff's underlying conviction. Heck requires
that, when a plaintiff requests damages in a § 1983
suit, this Court must decide whether judgment in the
plaintiff's favor would unavoidably imply that the
conviction or sentence is invalid. Id. at 487. Here,
it would. If this Court were to conclude that Plaintiff's
constitutional right were violated in a prejudicial manner,
it would be stating that Plaintiff's conviction and
sentence were not valid.
this complaint "must be dismissed unless the plaintiff
can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already
been invalidated." Id. This has not happened.
The Court must thus dismiss Plaintiff's complaint.
Plaintiff's requests to have his conviction invalidated
and for release from incarceration may be properly ...