United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
November 2, 2005.
DONALD MESSINA, Plaintiff,
STATE POLICE TROOPER ALAN CARMICHAEL, ET AL., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR SCHWAB, District Judge
Before the Court is pro se plaintiff Donald Messina's motion
to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a),
and his complaint alleging that "there was no Miranda rights
given to me on" August 19, 2004, the day of his arrest in Clarion
Pennsylvania by Pennsylvania state troopers, and that he was
denied a fair trial on April 28, 2005, by the Assistant District
Attorney and the judge or district justice who heard his case.
Plaintiff is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institute in
Dallas, Pennsylvania on a sentence of six to twelve years
This Court is required to review plaintiff's complaint in
accordance with the amendments promulgated in the Prison
Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-134,
110 Stat. 1321 (1996). Pertinent to the case at bar is the authority
granted to federal courts for sua sponte screening and
dismissal of prisoner claims. Specifically, Congress
significantly amended Title 28 of the United States Code, section
1915, which establishes the criteria for allowing an action to
proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"), i.e., without prepayment
of costs. Section 1915(e) (as amended) requires the federal courts to review complaints filed
by persons who are proceeding in forma pauperis and to dismiss,
at any time, any action that 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.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Legally frivolous complaints include: 1) those based upon an
indisputably meritless legal theory; and 2) those with factual
contentions that are clearly baseless. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989).*fn1 A plaintiff fails to allege a
section 1983 claim if the court is satisfied "that no relief
could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved
consistent with the allegation." Hishon v. King & Spalding,
467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957). A
plaintiff must allege specific facts supporting his claims to
withstand dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) for failure to
state a claim. Brock v. St. Joseph's Hosp., 104 F.3d 358 (4th
Cir. 1996); Whitehead v. Becton, 1996 WL 761937 (D.C. Cir.
1996). Although the Court construes IFP complaints liberally,
particularly in the context of dismissal on the basis of
frivolousness, the Court is bound by the allegations of the
Plaintiff is considered a "prisoner" as that term is defined
under the PLRA and the Court will grant leave to proceed in
forma pauperis in this action. Thus the Court reviews his
allegations in accordance with the directives provided in
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), and finds his complaint to be legally
In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the United States
Supreme Court held that where success in a prisoner's section 1983 damages action would
implicitly question the validity of conviction or duration of
sentence, the litigant must first achieve favorable termination
of his available state, or federal habeas, opportunities to
challenge the underlying conviction or sentence. Plaintiff's
action requesting the Court to "award judgment" impugns the
validity of his recent underlying conviction, because the alleged
Miranda violations and denial of his right to a fair trial in
April of this year are matters that can and must be addressed
through the appellate and habeas processes in the first instance.
A civil rights action raising these claims cannot be maintained
unless plaintiff's conviction is reversed on direct appeal or
impaired by collateral proceedings.
Accordingly, plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed.
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