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: Kathy King Jackson, Circuit Court Judge
for Jackson County, Mississippi; Anthony Lawrence, III,
District Attorney for Jackson County; Calvin Taylor,
Attorney-at-law; and thirteen jurors from Craig's
criminal trial. 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).
Judge King presided over Craig's trial and District
Attorney Lawrence prosecuted the case against Craig.
See Clerk's Docket at 1, Craig v.
State, No. 2011-KA-01283 (Miss. Ct. App. 2012). Attorney
Taylor served as Craig's defense counsel. Compl.  at
17 (CM/ECF pagination). Craig claims Defendants violated his
constitutional and civil rights. Specifically, Craig claims
Taylor's selection of jurors and the entire jury
selection process was unconstitutional. Id. at 17-19
(CM/ECF pagination). Craig further alleges that Defendants
also conspired to aid and abet “the crime of
intimidation by concealing it.” Id. at 19
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 and § 1986. Id. at
17 (CM/ECF pagination). Craig seeks “injunctive relief,
defamation relief, affirmative relief, compensatory relief,
punitive relief, ” attorney's fees, and
“whatever the Court[ ]deems necessary.”
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 Jackson and Lawrence are entitled to absolute
Jackson, as Circuit Court Judge for Jackson County, enjoys
absolute immunity from suit 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.” 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. 1993)).
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 as an advocate for the State of Mississippi in
Craig's criminal case were “intimately associated
with the judicial phase of the criminal process, ” and
therefore Defendant Lawrence is 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 against all Defendants are barred
by the statute of limitations.
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 and § 1983, but noting that § 1986
specifically includes a one-year statute of limitations). The
applicable Mississippi statute of ...