United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court, sua sponte, for consideration of
dismissal. Plaintiff Henry Lee Craig, an inmate of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections, brings this pro se
Complaint seeking injunctive relief. Craig is proceeding
in forma pauperis. See Order . The
named Defendants are: Anthony Lawrence, III, District
Attorney for Jackson County Mississippi; Angel Meyers,
Assistant District Attorney for Jackson County; Bobby
Knochel, Assistant District Attorney for Jackson County; and
Kathy King Jackson, Circuit Court Judge for Jackson County.
The Court, having liberally construed the pleadings in
consideration with the applicable law, finds that this case
should be dismissed.
2011, Craig was convicted of murder in the Jackson County
Circuit Court and sentenced to life imprisonment. Craig
v. State, 110 So.3d 807, 808 (Miss. Ct. App. 2012).
Attorneys Lawrence, Meyers, and Knochel prosecuted the case
against Craig and Judge King presided over Craig's trial.
Compl.  at 5 (CM/ECF pagination); Clerk's Docket at 1,
Craig v. State, No. 2011-KA-01283 (Miss. Ct. App.
2012). Craig now complains that, in doing so, Defendants
violated his constitutional and civil rights. Specifically,
Craig claims that Defendants “concealed evidence of the
crime of intimidation” by two FBI Agents “on May
11, 2011.” Compl.  at 5 (CM/ECF pagination). Craig
further alleges that the Defendants conspired with
“illegal jurors and illegal incompetent witness[es] on
. . . May 11, 2011.” Am. Compl.  at 4 (CM/ECF
brings this Complaint on forms available for prisoners suing
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and also states that he is filing
his claims under §§ 1981, 1985, and 1986. Compl.
 at 1. Craig seeks “injunctive relief, defamation
relief, ” attorney's fees and “whatever
relief this Court deems necessary and appropriate.” Am.
Compl.  at 5 (CM/ECF pagination).
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (as
amended), applies to prisoner proceedings in forma
pauperis, and provides that “the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . .
. (B) the action or appeal -- (i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” Since Craig is proceeding
in forma pauperis, his Complaint is subject to the
case screening procedures set forth in 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). Having completed that screening, it is apparent
that Craig's claims are barred by absolute immunity, by
the applicable statute of limitations, and by Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
Defendants are entitled to absolute immunity.
Jackson, as Circuit Court Judge for Jackson County, enjoys
absolute immunity from damages when performing acts within
her judicial capacity. See Boyd v. Biggers, 31 F.3d
279, 284 (5th Cir. 1994). Claims of bad faith, malice, and
corruption do not overcome absolute judicial immunity.
See Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11 (1991)
(citations omitted). Nor will a judge be deprived of immunity
because the action she took was in error or in excess of her
authority. See Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356
immunity can be overcome only by showing that the actions
complained of were non-judicial in nature, or by showing that
the actions were taken in the “clear absence of all
jurisdiction.” Mireles, 502 U.S. at 11;
Stump, 435 U.S. at 356-57. In determining whether a
judge acted within the scope of her judicial capacity, the
court considers four factors: “(1) whether the precise
act complained of is a normal judicial function; (2) whether
the acts occurred in the courtroom or appropriate adjunct
spaces such as the judge's chambers; (3) whether the
controversy centered around a case pending before the court;
and (4) whether the acts arose directly out of a visit to the
judge in his official capacity.” Ballard v.
Wall, 413 F.3d 510, 515 (5th Cir. 2005) (citing
Malina v. Gonzales, 994 F.2d 1121, 1124 (5th Cir.
the four Ballard factors to Craig's allegations,
it is clear that the actions of Judge Jackson were
“judicial in nature.” Id. at 517.
Likewise, there are no claims that Judge Jackson lacked
jurisdiction to preside over criminal proceedings in the
Circuit Court for Jackson County. See Miss. Code
Ann. § 9-7-81 (circuit court has original jurisdiction
over state felony prosecutions). Therefore, Judge Jackson is
entitled to absolute immunity from the claims asserted in
criminal prosecutors “enjoy absolute immunity from
claims for damages asserted under § 1983 for actions
taken in the presentation of the state's case.”
Boyd, 31 F.3d at 285. This immunity extends to
“all actions which occur in the course of the
prosecutor's role as an advocate for the State.”
Cousin v. Small, 325 F.3d 627, 632 (5th Cir. 2003)
(internal quotation marks and punctuation omitted).
“This broad immunity applies even if the prosecutor is
accused of knowingly using perjured testimony.”
Boyd, 31 F.3d at 285. The alleged actions taken by
Lawrence, Meyers, and Knochel as advocates for the State of
Mississippi in Craig's criminal case were
“intimately associated with the judicial phase of the
criminal process, ” and therefore these Defendants are
also entitled to absolute immunity from the claims asserted
in this case. See Lampton v. Diaz, 639 F.3d 223, 226
(5th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of
district court ‘may raise the defense of limitations
sua sponte . . . [and] [d]ismissal is appropriate if
it is clear from the face of the complaint that the claims
asserted are barred by the applicable statute of
limitations.'” Stanley v. Foster, 464 F.3d
565, 568 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting Harris v. Hegmann,
198 F.3d 153, 156 (5th Cir. 1999)). Since there is no federal
statute of limitations for civil rights actions brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a federal court must
borrow the forum state's general personal injury
limitations period. See Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S.
235, 240 (1989); see also Mitchell v. Crescent River Port
Pilots Ass'n, 265 F. App'x 363, 367, 367 n.3
(5th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted) (holding state's
personal injury limitation period applies to claims under
§§ 1981, 1983, and 1985, but noting that §
1986 specifically includes a one-year statute of
limitations). The applicable Mississippi statute of