United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
Stephen Robert Jones, who is incarcerated at Outagamie County
Jail, proceeds in this matter pro se. He filed a
complaint alleging that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights. (Docket #1). This matter comes before
the court on Plaintiff's petition to proceed without
prepayment of the filing fee (in forma pauperis).
(Docket #2). Because of Plaintiff's extreme indigence,
the Court waived payment of an initial partial filing fee.
See (Docket #7); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).
court shall screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking
relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. §
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
31 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); Hutchinson ex rel. Baker v. Spink, 126 F.3d
895, 900 (7th Cir. 1997). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327.
“Malicious, ” although sometimes treated as a
synonym for “frivolous, ” “is more usefully
construed as intended to harass.” Lindell v.
McCallum, 352 F.3d 1107, 1109-10 (7th Cir. 2003)
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is
entitled to relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts and his
statement need only “give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S.
41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint that offers mere
“labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state
a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, “that is plausible on its
face.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
considering whether a complaint states a claim, courts should
follow the principles set forth in Twombly by first,
“identifying pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal
conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.
Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
the court must, second, “assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Id.
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and
2) the deprivation was visited upon him by a person or
persons acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore
v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir.
2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of North Fond du Lac,
384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court is obliged
to give the plaintiff's pro se allegations,
“however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal
construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
allegations are confused and disjointed, but the Court gleans
the following facts. Plaintiff sent a letter to an Edward
Hirnschall on December 22, 2016, while he was incarcerated in
Green Bay Correctional Institution (“GBCI”).
(Docket #1 at 2). That same day, an Outagamie County judge
“released [Plaintiff] from [his] prison
sentence[.]” Id. at 3. Rather than release
him, however, the assigned transport deputy took Plaintiff
back to GBCI. Id.
says his probation period did not began until December 28,
2016. Id. at 2. Plaintiff's probation officer
must have believed that Plaintiff's letter constituted a
violation of his probation and sought to revoke his
probation. Id. at 2-3. A probation
“hold” was placed on Plaintiff by Dane County,
apparently to keep him in custody in anticipation the
revocation proceedings. Id. at 2. Plaintiff admits
that his probation was indeed revoked. Id. at 3.
sues Outagamie County, the Department of Corrections, the
unnamed transport deputy, various GBCI personnel, a law firm
(perhaps Plaintiff's criminal defense lawyers), and a
judge. Id. at 1-2. In the “relief
wanted” section of his complaint, Plaintiff alleges
that Defendants each bear at least some blame for him being
unlawfully held while not on probation. Id. at 4. He
further states that he wants the Department of
Corrections' probation office “to make 100% sure
that before they place a person in custody . . . that the
offender is in fact on probation at the time the alleged
violation occurred.” Id. This suggests that
Plaintiff believes his revocation was invalid. Finally,
Plaintiff says he wants $5 million for “false
imprisonment, mental anguish, ” and “extreme
emotional trauma[.]” Id. at 4-5.
claims, vague as they are, are barred by the doctrine set
forth in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Heck holds that “a civil rights suit cannot be
maintained by a prisoner if a judgment in his favor would
‘necessarily imply' that his conviction had been
invalid[.]” Moore v. Mahone, 652 F.3d 722, 723
(7th Cir. 2011) (citing Heck, 512 U.S. at 487). In
other words, “a plaintiff may not pursue a suit for
damages under § 1983 that would undermine the validity
of a conviction unless he demonstrates that the conviction
‘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.'” Hadley v. Quinn, 524 F.
App'x 290, 293 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Heck,
512 U.S. at 487). Heck applies to revocation
convictions. Knowlin v. Thompson, 207 F.3d 907, 909
(7th Cir. 2000); Antonelli v. Foster, 104 F.3d 899,
901 (7th Cir. 1997).
judgment in Plaintiff's favor would necessarily imply the
invalidity of his revocation conviction, namely that the
probation department lacked jurisdiction over Plaintiff at
the time of the alleged violation. Though Plaintiff's
precise claims against each Defendant are unclear, the entire
complaint rests on the assumption that Plaintiff's
revocation was improper. Heck requires that
Plaintiff must use the habeas corpus process, or any
other available method, to obtain reversal of his revocation
conviction. Only then may he proceed in a Section 1983 action
for any damages stemming from the revocation. Plaintiff's
complaint must, therefore, be dismissed without prejudice.
Haywood v. Hathaway, 842 F.3d 1026, 1028 (7th Cir.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion
for leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee
(in forma pauperis) (Docket #5) be and the same is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action be and the same
is hereby DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and ...