United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
magistrate judge filed a report on June 12, 2017,
recommending this action be dismissed without prejudice for
failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). (Doc. 13). The
plaintiff has filed objections to the report and
recommendation. (Doc. 14).
repeating the factual allegations supporting his claims, the
plaintiff declares he is “not attacking his [state
capital] conviction” and sentence, and therefore is not
seeking habeas relief. (Id. at 1-7). Instead, his
“civil complaint” is to “expose” with
“the facts how unprofessional Mr. Jeffrey Salyer
acted” as his capital defense counsel “and how
neglectful and careless he was” to the plaintiff
“as a client.” (Id.).
relief, the plaintiff desires “closure” and
“knowledge” for himself and his family that
Salyer is “being held accountable” for using his
appointment as the plaintiff's defense counsel to engage
in professional misconduct and poor judgment during the state
court capital proceedings as a “personal
vendetta” against the plaintiff. (Id.). The
plaintiff also demands Salyer “pay for” breaking
his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United
States Constitution and the Alabama State Constitution.
(Id.). Finally, the plaintiff clarifies that his
request for appointment of federal counsel is not because he
desires habeas representation in this § 1983 case, but
is because he does not trust any state public defenders to
represent him in state post-conviction proceedings.
(Id. at 8).
his insistence to the contrary, the plaintiff's
allegations do attack the validity of his state court capital
conviction and sentence as a matter of law. He declares his
innocence and asserts Salyer's professional misconduct
during the state court capital proceedings violated his Sixth
and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights. (Doc. 1 at 6;
Doc. 14 at 7). He requests appointment of a federal lawyer
for the express purpose of pursuing state post-conviction
remedies to “fix this major problem caused by Mr.
Salyer.” (Doc. 1 at 6; Doc. 14 at 8).
judgment in his favor for declaratory or monetary relief as
to either of these claims would necessarily imply the
invalidity of his convictions and sentence. See Chandler
v. United States, 218 F.3d 1305, 1312-13 (11th Cir.
2000) (quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S.
688, 694 (1984) (“To succeed on a claim of ineffective
assistance, Petitioner must show both incompetence and . . .
that there ‘is a reasonable probability that, but
for counsel's unprofessional errors, the result of the
proceeding would have been different.'”)
(internal citation omitted, emphasis supplied)); Gideon
v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 342 (1963) (“the
Fourteenth Amendment makes the Sixth Amendment's
guarantee of right to counsel obligatory upon the
prisoner in state custody cannot use a § 1983 action to
challenge ‘the fact or duration of his
confinement.'” Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544
U.S. 74, 78 (2005) (quoting Preiser v. Rodriquez,
411 U.S. 475, 489 (1973)); Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 486 (1994) (C]ivil tort actions are not appropriate
vehicles for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments.”). The plaintiffs allegations against his
attorney challenge-even if indirectly-the validity of his
state court conviction.
even if his allegations did not bring into issue the validity
of his conviction, as the magistrate judge explained, his
civil action against his attorney cannot be brought in
federal court. This federal court has very limited
jurisdiction. Mr. Lynch tries to invoke its jurisdiction
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. But without actions under color
of state law, his claim under § 1983 is legally flawed.
In reaching this decision, neither the magistrate judge nor
this judge make any determination of the merits of Mr.
Lynch's allegations against Mr. Salyer-only that the
allegations do not support a claim under § 1983 and do
not confer jurisdiction on this court.
plaintiffs objections are OVERRULED and the
plaintiffs request for appointment of federal lawyer to
represent him during any state post-conviction proceedings is
carefully reviewed and considered de novo all the
materials in the court file, including the report and
recommendation, and the plaintiffs objections, the court
ADOPTS the magistrate judge's report and ACCEPTS the
recommendation. Therefore, in accordance with 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b), the plaintiffs federal claims are due to be
dismissed without prejudice. Additionally, the plaintiffs
state law ...