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Bryant v. Ashby

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division

June 19, 2018

ROYROY BRYANT, (TDCJ No. 00354415), Plaintiff,
JIMMY A. ASHBY, District Attorney (former), Palo Pinto County, Texas et al. Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL UNDER 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A & 1915(E)(2)(B)


         This case is before the Court for review of pro-se inmate/plaintiff Roy Bryant's pleading under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B). The live pleading subject to review under these statutes is Plaintiff's form civil-rights complaint. After review and consideration of Plaintiff's claims, the Court finds and determines that all claims must be dismissed under authority of these provisions.


         In this suit Bryant filed a form civil-rights complaint naming as defendants Jimmy Ashby, former district attorney, Palo Pinto County, Texas; attorney John D. Moore; and Herman Fitts, former judge, 29th Judicial District Court, Palo Pinto County, Texas. (Complaint (doc. 1) at 1, 4). In the statement-of-claim section of the form complaint, Bryant wrote:

Pltf. was tried and convicted on a non-indictment in the 29th Judicial District Court, Palo Pinto County, Texas in March 1983, involved was Judge Herman Fitts, District Attorney Jimmy A. Ashby, court appointed attorney John D. Moore. Ashby drew up an indictment that was not true bill by a grand jury. Using his indictment in part he tried and convicted Pltf. and falsely imprisoned Pltf. All defs were aware with this crime.[sic]

(Complaint (doc. 1) at 4). Plaintiff also alleges the following:

Def. Moore allowed the trial to proceed without objection after stating to this Pltf. “Boy I know you didn't do this crime but it's about money in Texas so get on that phone and call to cali(fornia) and get me some money and I'll send you back to Cali tomorrow--I know you want to get back to Cali so get on that phone . . . .” He knew indictment was not that of the grand jury. All three defendants are complicit under the common law. [sic]
Def. Herman Fitts knew the indictment was not supported by a grand jury true bill yet he tried the Pltf. and announced Judgment and sentence knowing Def. Ashby usurped the grand jury independent role. All defs. know the grand jury written declaration is not reflected in the district attorney Ashby's indictment. [sic]
All three defs have violated Pltf's 5th 6th 8th 9th and 14th Amendments under the U.S. Constitution and his rights under contracts treaties and oaths under State Federal and International Law.

(Complaint (doc. 1) at 4, attachment page 5). In the complaint, Bryant seeks as relief for this Court “to do what's right for Pltf. 34 years of false imprisonment.” (Complaint (doc. 1) at 4.)

         Relevant to this Court's review of this civil-rights case is the fact that Roy Bryant has also filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, challenging the conviction that arose out of the same conduct made the basis of this civil suit. Pending before this the Northern District of Texas is Bryant v. Davis, No. 4:17-CV-117-A. This Court takes judicial notice of the records of this habeas-corpus case still pending in this district. See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b)(2) and (c)(1). In that action, Bryant acknowledges that he was convicted on March 22, 1983, of aggravated robbery in the 29th Judicial District Court, Palo Pinto County, Texas, in cause number 7887. Bryant v. Davis, No. 4:17-CV-117-A, (Petition (doc. 1) at 2-3). Bryant reports that he received a punishment of life imprisonment. (Id.) In the pending § 2254 case, the respondent has answered Bryant's petition, and provided extensive copies of the state-court records relating to the conviction and Bryant's substantial post-conviction writ history in state court. Bryant v. Davis, No. 4:17-CV-117-A, (Response (doc. 13); Administrative Record (docs. 10-1 through 10-10, 11-1 through 11-20, and 12-1 through 12-17)). Respondent's preliminary answer filed in the pending § 2254 case recites Bryant's extensive history of challenging his conviction in state-court proceedings:

The Director has lawful custody of Bryant pursuant to the judgment and sentence from the 29th Judicial District Court of Palo Pinto County, Texas, in cause number 7887. SHCR-06 (Event ID No. 1824249) at 332-33.[1] Bryant was indicted with aggravated robbery. Id. at 329-31. Bryant entered a plea of not guilty, but the jury found him guilty and assessed his punishment at life imprisonment. Id. at 332-33.
On December 1, 1983, the Eleventh Court of Appeals of Texas affirmed the trial court's judgment. Bryant v. State, No. 11-83-047-CR (Tex. App.-Eastland Dec. 1, 1983, no pet.); Exhibit A. On January 5, 1984, the court overruled Bryant's pro se motion for rehearing. Exhibit A. Bryant acknowledges he did not file a petition for discretionary review. SHCR-09(Event ID No. 2257121) at 3; SHCR-10 at 2; SHCR-11 at 3; SHCR-12(Event ID No. 2496505) at 3; Fed. Writ Pet. at 3.
Bryant has a rather extensive history that spans decades of state habeas filings challenging his aggravated robbery conviction. Bryant's first three state habeas applications predate the enactment of AEDPA. Specifically, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied without written order his first application on August 1, 1985, his second application on November 26, 1986, and his third application on November 8, 1989. SHCR-01 (Event ID No. 1716561) at cover; SHCR-02 at cover; SHCR-03 (Event ID No. 1719189) at cover. Nearly a decade later, Bryant revived his pursuit of state habeas relief challenging his aggravated robbery conviction and signed his fourth state application on November 23, 1998. SHCR-06 (Event ID No. 1824249) at ...

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