United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
SHOW CAUSE ORDER
ELIZABETH S. ("BETSY") CHESTNEY UNITED STATES
the Court is the Civil Rights Complaint [#1] filed by the
plaintiff, Stephen Wayne Richardson
(“Plaintiff”), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff is ordered to file an amended complaint clarifying
his allegations and, to the extent possible, curing the
Complaint's legal deficiencies, which are described
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), this Court is required to
screen any civil complaint in which a prisoner seeks relief
against a government entity, officer, or employee and dismiss
the complaint if the court determines it is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted. See also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)
(directing court to dismiss case filed in forma
pauperis at any time if it is determined that the action
is (i) frivolous or malicious or (ii) fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted).
action is frivolous where there is no arguable legal or
factual basis for the claim. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A complaint lacks an
arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges
violation of a legal interest which clearly does not
exist.” Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716, 718
(5th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation and citation omitted). A
complaint is factually frivolous when “the facts
alleged are ‘fantastic or delusional scenarios' or
the legal theory upon which a complaint relies is
‘indisputably meritless.'” Eason v.
Thaler, 14 F.3d 8, n.5 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28).
evaluating whether a complaint states a claim under §
1915A(b)(1) and § 1915(e)(2)(B), this Court applies the
same standards governing dismissals pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6). See DeMoss v. Crain, 636 F.3d 145, 152
(5th Cir. 2011). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6),
“a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56, 570 (2007)).
These factual allegations need not be detailed but
“must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
A conclusory complaint-one that fails to state material facts
or merely recites the elements of a cause of action-may be
dismissed for failure to state a claim. See Id. at
Deficiencies in Plaintiff's Complaint
is in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Correctional Institutions Division (“TDCJ-CID”)
serving a thirty-five year sentence for his 2012 Bexar County
conviction for manslaughter in No. 2010CR10629.
Plaintiff's Section 1983 Complaint alleges: He was
charged with murder but found guilty of manslaughter
“without notice of intent to bring this lesser
charge.” He also alleges the judgment is
“void” because it “contain[s] another
person['s] name.” He also alleges the prosecution
“used false testimony” to convict him. Plaintiff
purports to sue former Bexar County Clerk of Court Donna K.
McKinney, Texas District Judge Juanita Vasquez Gardner,
Assistant District Attorney Bill Pennington, and his former
counsel L. Michael Cohen for his wrongful conviction and
incarceration. He also purports to sue the TDCJ-CID records
clerk apparently because he contends he is in TDCJ-CID
custody pursuant to a “void” judgment. Plaintiff
seeks damages and release from custody.
explained above, an IFP plaintiff's complaint is
considered frivolous and is subject to dismissal if it fails
to state a claim on which relief can be granted. In this
case, Plaintiff's claims currently have the following
Plaintiff's Complaint is barred by his
civil rights claims for his alleged wrongful prosecution and
conviction are barred by Heck v. Humphrey. In
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), the
Supreme Court held a civil rights claim arising from a
wrongful conviction or imprisonment does not accrue until
that conviction or sentence has been “reversed on
direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid
by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or
called into question by a federal court's issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus.” Because Plaintiff's
conviction has not been declared unlawful in the criminal
proceedings or through a habeas corpus proceeding, his civil
rights action is barred by Heck v. Humphrey.
Plaintiff's claims are barred by the two-year statute of
statute of limitations for civil rights claims arising in
Texas is two years. Gonzalez v. Wyatt, 157 F.3d
1016, 1019 (5th Cir. 1998). Therefore, Plaintiff's claims
concerning matters occurring in 2012 and before are barred by
limitations. In response to this Order, Plaintiff should
alert the Court to factual contentions that took place within
this two-year window.
The Texas district judge and assistant district attorney ...