United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
complaint filed by Zyrell Horton, an indigent state inmate
currently serving a twenty-five year sentence for attempted
murder imposed upon him in 2007 by the Circuit Court of
Chambers County, Alabama. Horton filed this case on August
instant complaint, Horton advances claims related to his
attempted murder conviction. Doc. 1 at 2-3. Horton names Ray
D. Martin, the judge who presided over his state criminal
proceedings, Larry Clark, a detective for the Lanett Police
Department, Matt Young, an officer of the Lanett Police
Department, Susan K. Harmon, his trial attorney, Roland L.
Sledge, his appellate counsel, E. Paul Jones, the District
Attorney for Chambers County at the time of his trial, and
the Lanett Police Department as defendants. Horton seeks
monetary damages, vacation of the sentence imposed for his
attempted murder conviction, a declaratory judgment and
injunctive relief. Doc. 1 at 4; Doc. 9 at 1.
review of the complaint, the court concludes that this case
is due to be dismissed prior to service of process in
accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii) and (iii).
Claims Arising from Arrest - Statute of Limitations
complains that his arrest for attempted murder on December
25, 2005 violated his constitutional rights as the district
attorney provided false statements regarding the severity of
the victim's injuries in obtaining an arrest warrant.
Doc. 9 at 3. Horton also appears to challenge actions of
officers Clark and Young in arresting him. Doc. 9 at 7-8.
court takes judicial notice of this case action summary and
the case action summaries of Horton's Rule 32
proceedings. See Keith v. DeKalb Cnty, 749 F.3d
1034, 1041 n.18 (11th Cir. 2014).
claims related to Horton's arrest in December of 2005 are
barred by the statute of limitations applicable to a federal
civil action filed by an inmate under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
All constitutional claims brought under § 1983 are tort
actions, subject to the statute of limitations governing
personal injury actions in the state where the § 1983
action has been brought. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S.
261, 275-76, 105 S.Ct. 1938, 1946-47, 85 L.Ed.2d 254 (1985).
[The plaintiff's] claim was brought in Alabama where the
governing limitations period is two years. Ala. Code §
6-2-38; Jones v. Preuit & Mauldin, 876 F.2d
1480, 1483 (11th Cir. 1989) (en banc). Therefore, in order to
have his claim heard, [the plaintiff is] required to bring it
within two years from the date the limitations period began
McNair v. Allen, 515 F.3d 1168, 1173 (11th Cir.
arrest about which Horton complains occurred on December 25,
2005. By its express terms, the tolling provision of Ala.
Code § 6-2-8(a) affords no relief to Horton from
application of the time bar. The statute of limitations
applicable to Horton's illegal arrest claim therefore
began to run on December 26, 2005. The limitations period ran
uninterrupted until its expiration on December 26, 2007.
Horton filed the instant complaint on August 25, 2018, many
years after expiration of the applicable period of
the statute of limitations is usually a matter which is
raised as an affirmative defense. The court notes, however,
that when a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis in
a civil action it may sua sponte consider
affirmative defenses that are apparent from the face of the
complaint. Clark v. Georgia Pardons and Parole
Board, 915 F.2d 636, 640 n.2 (11th Cir. 1990); see
also Ali v. Higgs, 892 F.2d 438 (5th Cir. 1990).
“[I]f the district court sees that an affirmative
defense would defeat the action, a section 1915[(e)(2)(B)(i)]
dismissal is allowed.” Clark, 915 F.2d at 640.
“The expiration of the statute of limitations is an
affirmative defense the existence of which warrants dismissal
as frivolous.” Id. at n.2 (citing Franklin
v. State of Oregon, 563 F.Supp. 1310, 1330, 1332 (D.C.
analyzing § 1983 cases, “the court is authorized
to test the proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness
even before service of process or before the filing of the
answer.” Ali, 892 F.2d at 440. “It
necessarily follows that in the absence of the defendant or
defendants, the district court must evaluate the merit of the
claim sua sponte.” Id.
An early determination of the merits of an IFP proceeding
provides a significant benefit to courts (because it will
allow them to use their scarce resources effectively and
efficiently), to state officials (because it will free them
from the burdens of frivolous and harassing litigation), and
to prisoners (because courts will have the time, energy and
inclination to give meritorious claims the attention they
need and deserve). “We must take advantage of every
tool in our judicial workshop.” Spears [v.
McCotter], 766 F.2d [179, 182 (5th Cir. 1985)].
Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1116, 1120 (5th Cir.
on the facts apparent from the face of the present complaint,
Horton has no legal basis on which to proceed with respect to
those claims challenging his arrest on December 25, 2005. As
previously determined, the statutory tolling provision is
unavailing. Consequently, the governing two-year period of
limitations expired over ten years prior to Horton filing the
instant complaint. In light of the foregoing, the court
concludes that the claims related to Horton's arrest are
barred by the applicable statute of limitations and therefore
subject to dismissal as frivolous in accordance with the
directives of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). See
Clark v. Georgia Pardons and Parole Board, 915 F.2d 636
(11th Cir. 1990); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 327 (1989).
asserts that Detective Clark, a member of the Lanett Police
Department, did not advise him of his Miranda rights
at the time of his arrest. Doc. 1 at 3; Doc. 9 at 4. This
claim provides no basis for relief as “a claim for a
Miranda violation is not cognizable under §
1983. Jones v. Horton, 174 F.3d 1271, 1290-91 (11th
Cir. 1999).” Dollar v. Coweta County Sheriff's
Office, 446 Fed.Appx. 248, 251-52 (11th Cir. 2011);
Wright v. Dodd, 438 Fed.Appx. 805, 807 (11th Cir.
2011) (same). Consequently, the ...