United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Jacquelyn D. Austin United States Magistrate Judge
Davis Smith, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro
se, brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff is a South Carolina Department of Corrections
(“SCDC”) inmate incarcerated at the Broad River
Correctional Institution. He files this action in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. This case is
subject to summary dismissal.
alleges that an incident occurred in June of 2013 at the
Regal Inn Hotel in Greenville, South Carolina. [Doc. 1-4.] He
alleges on June 18, 2013, Detective Timothy Michael Conroy,
who worked for the Greenville City Police Department, was the
detective who investigated the case and picked up Plaintiff
to take him in for questioning. [Id.] Plaintiff
alleges that he was convicted of a sexual assault criminal
charge that he did not commit, and there was a lack of
evidence against him at trial. [Doc. 1.] He contends that he
is currently serving the sentence related to this crime.
contends that Defendants violated his constitutional rights.
[Doc. 1-4 at 4.] He seeks a declaration that his
constitutional rights were violated, damages, and injunctive
relief for Detective Conroy to be terminated from his
employment. [Doc. 1.]
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B), and Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) DSC, the undersigned is authorized to
review the Complaint for relief and submit findings and
recommendations to the District Court. Plaintiff filed this
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma
pauperis statute. This statute authorizes the District
Court to dismiss a case if it is satisfied that the action
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
” is “frivolous or malicious, ” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Further, Plaintiff is a prisoner under the
definition in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), and “seeks
redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of
a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
Thus, even if Plaintiff had prepaid the full filing fee, this
Court is charged with screening Plaintiff's lawsuit to
identify cognizable claims or to dismiss the Complaint if (1)
it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted or (2) seeks monetary relief from
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
pro se litigant, Plaintiff's pleadings are accorded
liberal construction and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. See Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam).
However, even under this less stringent standard, the pro se
pleading remains subject to summary dismissal. The mandated
liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that
if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a
valid claim on which Plaintiff could prevail, it should do
so, but a district court may not rewrite a petition to
include claims that were never presented, Barnett v.
Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999), or
construct Plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small
v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993), or
“conjure up questions never squarely presented”
to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d
1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). The requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a
claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir.
Complaint is filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
“‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,
' but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating
federal rights elsewhere conferred.'” Albright
v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker
v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)). A civil
action under § 1983 “creates a private right of
action to vindicate violations of ‘rights, privileges,
or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of
the United States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 132
S.Ct. 1497, 1501 (2012). To state a claim under § 1983,
a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
extent Plaintiff is seeking damages or injunctive relief
based on his alleged unlawful confinement in SCDC, his claim
is premature because he is currently serving a sentence for a
conviction that has not yet been invalidated. In
Heck, the Supreme Court pronounced, . . .
in order to recover damages 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 a determination, or
called into question by a federal court's issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for
damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence
that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable
under § 1983.
Further, the Supreme Court stated ...