United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is plaintiff's motion to reopen this matter.
After review of plaintiff's request, as well as judicial
records relating to plaintiff's state court criminal
matters, the Court will decline to reopen the present action.
filed this action on December 15, 2017, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment
rights. Plaintiff asserted that he was falsely arrested,
falsely imprisoned and that St. Louis City Police Officers
tampered with evidence at the scene of a homicide.
plaintiff's cell phone was found at the scene of a
murder. Plaintiff asserted in his complaint that his cell
phone was moved by police to two separate locations in order
to implicate plaintiff in the murder of the victim. Plaintiff
further alleged, by way of the exhibits attached to his
complaint, that he was unlawfully detained in an attempt to
pin him to the crime, maliciously prosecuted in a criminal
action for murder, and not properly informed of his
Miranda rights at the time of his purported arrest
by Police Officers Thomas Mayer and Gregory W.
Klipsch. Plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit
included: lack of probable cause; false arrest; false
imprisonment; and malicious prosecution.
to this case being filed, an underlying criminal case was
filed against plaintiff in Missouri State Court. In that
case, plaintiff was charged with Murder in the 1st
Degree, Armed Criminal Action, Unlawfully Shooting a Firearm
at or From a Motor Vehicle, and Possession of a Firearm.
State v. Mills, No. 1722-CR01106-01 (22nd
Judicial Circuit, St. Louis City Court).
on the pendency of the underlying criminal case against
plaintiff that arose out of the same facts, the Court stayed
the § 1983 action pursuant to Wallace v. Kato,
549 U.S. 384 (2007). At the time it stayed the present
action, plaintiff had not yet pled guilty or been sentenced
to the underlying state crime. Plaintiff was instructed that
he could seek to reopen the present matter after culmination
of the underlying state case. The Court has reviewed the
pendency of the state criminal proceedings on
Missouri.Case.Net and found that a jury trial was held in his
state criminal proceedings from April 8, 2019 through April
11, 2019. Plaintiff was found guilty on April 11, 2019 of
Murder in the 1st Degree, Armed Criminal Action
and Shooting a Firearm at or From a Motor Vehicle. Plaintiff
has not yet been sentenced.
seeks to reopen the present civil rights action to pursue his
claims against defendants. However, because plaintiff has
been convicted in his criminal proceedings, he cannot seek
damages in this action against the current defendants for
violations of his constitutional rights relating to his
arrest and criminal conviction. See, e.g., Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994); Schafer v.
Moore, 46 F.3d 43, 45 (8th Cir. 1995);
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997)
(applying rule in § 1983 suit seeking declaratory
relief). Simply put, a prisoner may not recover damages in a
§ 1983 suit where the judgment would necessarily imply
the invalidity of his conviction, continued imprisonment, or
sentence unless the conviction or sentence is reversed,
expunged, or called into question by issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus. Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. Because
there is no indication in the record that plaintiff's
conviction has been reversed or expunged, his civil rights
case against defendants cannot be reopened at this time.
to the extent plaintiff can be understood to ask this Court
to dismiss, enjoin, or otherwise intervene in his ongoing
state criminal proceeding, his claims are barred under the
abstention doctrine set forth in Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37 (1971). See also, Gillette v. N. Dakota Disc.
Bd. Counsel, 610 F.3d 1045, 1046 (8th Cir. 2010)
(“[F]ederal courts may not enjoin pending state court
criminal proceedings absent a showing of bad faith,
harassment, or any other unusual circumstance that would call
for equitable relief.”). As such, plaintiff's
request to reopen this matter must be denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's
motion to reopen this matter [Doc. #9] is DENIED as
his claims are barred by the doctrine of Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994) .
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case will remain
ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED pending final
disposition of the criminal charges against plaintiff, and
may be reopened by plaintiff's filing of a motion to
reopen the case after such final disposition of not only his
criminal action, but also all appeal and post-conviction
IS FURTHER ORDERED that an appeal of this Order