United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL
GUIROLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se
Plaintiff Rodney Dion Ready is incarcerated with the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”),
and he brings this action challenging the calculation of his
prior sentences. The Court has considered and liberally
construed the pleadings. As set forth below, this case is
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is currently serving a total of six years from 2018
convictions in Jackson County, Mississippi for possession of
methamphetamine, receipt of stolen property, and commercial
burglary. Ready v. Welton, 1:18cv282 (S.D.Miss. Mar.
13, 2019); (Compl. at 5). However, he complains about prior
sentences handed down in 2010 in Harrison County, Mississippi
for grand larceny and auto theft. Specifically, he alleges
that even though he was sentenced to a total of eight years
on the 2010 convictions, he served eight years and nine
months combined prison and probation time. Additionally, he
claims he was denied credits for good time and Meritorious
Earned Time that he had earned on his 2010 sentences. After
receiving credit for time served pretrial, he contends he was
finally released from the prior sentences in 2017.
brings this action, specifically invoking 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He seeks damages, and since he is no longer in custody
on his 2010 sentences, he seeks earlier release on his
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 applies to prisoners
proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court. The
statute provides in pertinent part that, “the court
shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines
that . . . the action . . . (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.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). The statute “accords judges not only the
authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992). “[I]n an action proceeding under [28 U.S.C.
§ 1915, a federal court] may consider, sua sponte,
affirmative defenses that are apparent from the record even
where they have not been addressed or raised.” Ali
v. Higgs, 892 F.2d 438, 440 (5th Cir. 1990).
“Significantly, the court is authorized to test the
proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness even before
service of process or before the filing of the answer.”
Id. The Court has permitted Ready to proceed in
forma pauperis in this action. His Complaint is subject
to sua sponte dismissal under § 1915.
that challenges the fact or duration of a state conviction or
sentence “is barred (absent prior invalidation) . . .
if success in that action would necessarily demonstrate the
invalidity of confinement or its duration.”
Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005). In
such a case, a “plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such a determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus.” Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 486-87 (1994). “Heck applies to
proceedings which call into question the fact or duration of
parole” and probation. Jackson v. Vannoy, 49
F.3d 175, 177 (5th Cir. 1995). Where success on the claim
“will not necessarily imply the invalidity of
confinement or shorten its duration, ” then the action
may proceed. Wilkinson, 544 U.S. at 82.
claims that MDOC miscalculated his prior sentences,
subjecting him to serve longer than he otherwise should have.
Success on these claims will necessarily invalidate the
length of his previous sentences. Therefore, the case may
only proceed if he proves the sentence calculations have
already been invalidated. He admits that they have not.
the sentence calculations have not yet been invalidated,
Ready is precluded by Heck from challenging them in
this civil action at this time. The § 1983 claims are
therefore dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a
claim, until such time as he successfully has the sentence
calculations invalidated, via appeal, post-conviction relief,
habeas corpus, or otherwise. Johnson v. McElveen,
101 F.3d 423, 424 (5th Cir. 1996).
Ready's pro se Complaint liberally, the Court finds that
he is also making habeas claims. This is because he seeks
speedier release from his present sentences. Orellana v.
Kyle, 65 F.3d 29, 31 (5th Cir. 1995).
Ready can pursue the habeas claims in this Court, he must
exhaust his available state remedies. 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A). This gives “the States the
‘opportunity to pass upon and correct' alleged
violations of its prisoners' federal rights.”
Baldwin v. Reese, 541 U.S. 27, 29 (2004) (quoting
Duncan v. Henry, 513 U.S. 364, 365 (1995)). In order
to exhaust his claims for habeas relief, he is required to
seek relief from the highest court of the State.
O'Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 840
(1999). Although Ready claims to have pursued his
administrative remedies, he does not allege that he has
brought his case before the ...