United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM M. CONLEY District Judge
se plaintiff LaVonn Macon, filed this civil lawsuit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in which he seeks to bring
claims for injunctive relief against the Jon Litscher,
Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) and Michael Dittman, the Warden at
Columbia Correctional Institution (“CCI”),
related to his ability to pursue post-conviction relief.
Since he was incarcerated at the time he filed his complaint,
Macon's complaint requires screening by this court under
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. However, even construing
plaintiff's allegations generously, Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972), the court must dismiss
this lawsuit pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 486-87 (1994), for reasons set forth below.
alleges that he was initially charged in a criminal complaint
on January 7, 1988, in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Case
No. 1987CF63 and was then further charged on February 14,
1989, in another fourteen-count criminal complaint, Milwaukee
County Circuit Court Case No. 1989CF890531. Macon explains
that he entered into a guilty plea to several of the counts
in Case No. 1989CF890531, which meant he faced a maximum
sentence of 150 years. On April 13, 1992, Macon was sentenced
in Milwaukee County Circuit Court to a total of 140-year term
subsequently filed a notice of appeal, for which an appellate
state public defender was appointed to represent him. When
his appointed counsel subsequently submitted a no-merit
report, Macon alleges that his mental disabilities and
educational limitations left him unable to respond.
Regardless, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals determined that
there was no arguable issue of merit.
year after the dismissal of this direct appeal, Macon filed a
pro se, post-conviction motion under Wis.Stat.
§ 974.06, alleging ineffective assistance of appellate
counsel, which the Milwaukee County Circuit Court denied on
June 6, 1994. When Macon appealed that denial, the Wisconsin
Court of Appeals summarily denied him relief. In September of
2000, Macon pursued yet another motion in the Wisconsin Court
of Appeals, which was also unsuccessful. While Macon was
apparently transferred to a correctional facility in Oklahoma
for a period of time, he was transferred back to CCI in
December of 2005. Around that time, Macon sought legal
assistance to again challenge his guilty plea and sentence on
ineffective assistance of counsel grounds. On February 13,
2006, the Wisconsin Public Defender appointed him counsel to
review his conviction and sentencing in Milwaukee County
Circuit Court. On July 11, 2007, his appointed state public
defender once again concluded that a challenge to either
would be meritless.
Macon continued to research and pursue relief from his plea
and sentence, eventually filing another motion for collateral
attack under § 974.06 on August 28, 2013. That motion
was denied as well on September 4, 2013, by the Milwaukee
County Circuit Court, as was his appeal to the Wisconsin
Court of Appeals and petition for review to the Wisconsin
general matter, plaintiff now claims in this case that the
law libraries and resources made available at the various DOC
facilities in which he has been incarcerated since his
conviction in 1992 have been insufficient to permit him to
obtain the post-conviction relief that he was seeking on
direct appeal and in subsequent collateral attacks. As a
result, he further claims that the named defendants violated
his constitutional right to access the courts.
central focus of plaintiff's lawsuit -- his frustration
that his various post-conviction proceedings were
unsuccessful -- is barred by the United States Supreme
Court's decision in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 486-87 (1994). Under Heck, a plaintiff is
precluded from bringing claims for damages if judgment in
favor of the plaintiff would “necessarily imply the
invalidity of his conviction or sentence.” Id.
In other words, to the extent plaintiff is seeking damages
premised on a wrongful conviction or sentence, he cannot
proceed, unless his 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.”
Id. at 486-87; see also Knowlin v.
Thompson, 207 F.3d 907, 909 (7th Cir. 2000) (requisite
showing “would necessarily imply the invalidity of
[plaintiff's] Wisconsin parole revocation, which
Heck instructs cannot be shown through a § 1983
nothing in plaintiff's pleadings or the publicly
available information about his criminal or post-conviction
proceedings indicate that any court has invalidated those
proceedings, or even called them into question. Moreover, the
plaintiff's only claim against the named
defendants arises out of his failed attempts to challenge his
conviction. Accordingly, plaintiff's only claim in this
lawsuit is barred by Heck.
IT IS ORDERED that:
Plaintiff's LaVonn Macon's claim in this case is
DISMISSED pursuant to Heck v. ...