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Reginald Byrd v. Louis Folino

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


February 9, 2012

REGINALD BYRD,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
LOUIS FOLINO, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Reginald Byrd, filed a petition for habeas corpus relief in this Court, challenging his state court conviction. The habeas action was docketed at Civil Action No. 10-1700. By order dated January 12, 2012, the Court approved and adopted the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Rapoport and dismissed the habeas petition without prejudice so that Mr. Byrd could exhaust his remedies in state court (where he has filed a PCRA petition). On January 27, 2012, the Clerk of Court received the following documents from Mr. Byrd, who is proceeding pro se a civil action complaint, an application to proceed without prepaying fees or costs, and a motion seeking relief pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). The Clerk of Court has assigned these documents to the above-captioned, new Civil Action, No. 12-451.

In the complaint, which was filed on the standard form made available by the Clerk's Office to pro se plaintiffs, Mr. Byrd alleges that he is innocent of the criminal charges brought against him and that the defendant, the warden of the prison where Mr. Byrd was incarcerated, therefore held him unlawfully. Under the section of the form complaint that directs the plaintiff to state the relief sought, the plaintiff wrote only: "Reverse the order of the district court," presumably referring to the January 12 order. The motion for Rule 60(b)(6) relief refers directly to the dismissal of the habeas petition, contending that the issues raised in the habeas petition are not under review in any other court or cognizable in a PCRA petition.

As it appears that Mr. Byrd is unable to afford the filing fee, the application to proceed without prepaying fees or costs will be granted. *fn1 However, the complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim, and the motion under Rule 60(b)(6) will be denied as it attempts to relitigate issues already decided by this Court.

Where "a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence . . . the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated." *fn2 Here, the complaint rests entirely on the allegation that Mr. Byrd was wrongly convicted and sentenced, but Mr. Byrd does not and cannot allege that his conviction and sentence have been invalidated. The complaint will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). *fn3 Because any amendment would be futile, the complaint will be dismissed with prejudice. *fn4

The motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) will also be denied. As set forth in the Report and Recommendation in Civil Action No. 10-1700, before he can pursue a federal habeas action, Mr. Byrd must exhaust all of his claims, including federal constitutional claims, through the appropriate state-court proceedings. Petitioner's motion is an attempt to relitigate arguments already considered and rejected by the Court. Mr. Byrd has not demonstrated mistake, fraud, or any other reason that justifies relief. *fn5

An appropriate order will be entered.


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