United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
HARVEY M. SHANER, JR., Plaintiff,
JUNE N. CRAMPTON, et al., Defendants.
R. PADOVA, J.
matter comes before the Court by way of a Complaint (ECF No.
1), brought by Plaintiff Harvey M. Shaner, Jr., a prisoner at
the Federal Detention Center (“FDC”) in
Philadelphia, who is proceeding pro se. Shaner has
also filed his Prisoner Trust Fund Account Statement in
response to this Court's Order directing him to do so if
he sought to proceed in forma
pauepris. (ECF Nos. 5 & 7). For the following
reasons, the Court will grant Shaner leave to proceed in
forma pauperis and dismiss his Complaint.
names as Defendants in this case June N. Crampton, the
Colebrookdale Township Police Department, Detective David
Guida (who appears to be an officer of the Colebrookdale
Township Police Department), and Tom Neeson (identified as an
FBI agent). Shaner's Complaint is sparse. He appears to
be claiming that he was maliciously prosecuted based on the
I was wrongly accused of identity theft, while before that
the defendants harassed and stole from me then charged me.
The agent refused to interview witnesses or look at our
evidence. Since the female defendant admitted she lied.
(Compl. ECF No. 1 at 4.) As relief, Shaner seeks damages to
compensate him for money taken from his bank accounts
“and the remainder for legal fees and being wrongly
incarcerated for over 2 years.” (Id.) He also
asks the Court to overturn his conviction.
dockets reflect that Shaner pled guilty to wire fraud, bank
fraud, aggravated identity theft and other related
crimes. See United States v. Shaner, E.D.
Pa. Crim. A. No. 16-411-1 (ECF No. 18). In a criminal
judgment filed July 24, 2017, he was sentenced to fifty-one
months of imprisonment and a term of supervised release.
Id. (ECF No. 29). Shaner did not appeal. He did,
however, file a motion to vacate his sentence pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2255, which was denied. Id. (ECF No.
51). Shaner filed a second motion to vacate his sentence
pursuant to § 2255, which was dismissed without
prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as second
or successive. Id. (ECF No. 54).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court will grant Shaner leave to proceed in forma
pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of
paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly, 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) requires the Court to dismiss
the Complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a
complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine
whether the complaint contains “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory
allegations do not suffice. Id. As Shaner is
proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Court construes the Complaint as raising constitutional
claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a
remedy for constitutional violations by state actors, and
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 397 (1971), which provides a
remedy for certain constitutional violations committed by
federal actors. Shaner's primary claim appears to be a
malicious prosecution claim based on the criminal proceeding
identified above in which Shaner was convicted of aggravated
identity theft and other federal crimes.
recover damages [or other relief] 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[.]” Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994) (footnote and citation omitted);
see also Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82
(2005) (“[A] state prisoner's § 1983 action is
barred (absent prior invalidation)-no matter the relief
sought (damages or equitable relief), no matter the target of
the prisoner's suit (state conduct leading to conviction
or internal prison proceedings)-if success in that action
would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement
or its duration.” (emphasis omitted)). The doctrine set
forth in Heck has been applied to civil rights cases
raised under Bivens. See Lora-Pena v.
F.B.I., 529 F.3d 503, 506 n.2 (3d Cir. 2008)
(“Although Heck involved a § 1983 action
by a state prisoner, the reasoning in Heck has been
applied to bar Bivens claims.”). Furthermore,
“[i]t is well established that habeas corpus is the
exclusive avenue by which a person in custody may challenge
the fact or duration of a conviction or sentence.”
Abdel-Whab v. United States, 175 Fed.Appx. 528 (3d
Cir. 2006); see Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475,
request for vacatur of his conviction is not cognizable in a
civil rights action, as he must pursue any such relief via 28
U.S.C. § 2255. To the extent Shaner is seeking monetary
damages or other relief for harm caused by his conviction and
related imprisonment, his claims are not cognizable at this
time because the underlying charges have not terminated in
his favor. See, e.g., Stuler v. United
States, 301 Fed.Appx. 104, 106 (3d Cir. 2008) (per
curiam) (attack on federal criminal judgment barred by
Heck when charged did not terminate in
plaintiff's favor). Accordingly, these claims will be
appears Shaner may also be raising claims based on
allegations that the Defendants “harassed and stole
from [him].” (Compl. ECF No. 1 at 4.) Those allegations
are far too conclusory to state a claim. Shaner has not
described what was stolen from him, when it was stolen, or
who was involved in stealing something from him. Nor has he
alleged who harassed him, how he was harassed, or when he was
harassed. Absent any details supporting these allegations,
Shaner has failed to state a claim. See Rode v.