United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
JONATHAN PUCKETT TDCJ No. 2229124, Plaintiff,
THE STATE OF TEXAS, ET AL., Defendants.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. HORAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jonathan Puckett, a Texas prisoner, filed a pro se
civil rights action against the State of Texas, the Director
of the Correctional Institutions Division of the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”), Dallas
County, and a state judge, requesting injunctive relief and
monetary damages related to alleged deficiencies in his state
criminal proceedings. See Dkt. No. 3.
action has been referred to the undersigned United States
magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and a standing order of reference from United
States District Judge Sam A. Lindsay.
Court has granted Puckett leave to proceed in forma
pauperis under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
undersigned enters these findings of fact, conclusions of
law, and recommendation that the Court should dismiss this
action “with prejudice to [the claims raised in the
complaint] being asserted again until the Heck [v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)] conditions are
met.” Johnson v. McElveen, 101 F.3d 423, 424
(5th Cir. 1996) (per curiam).
was indicted for aggravated assault on a public servant, a
first-degree felony. He pleaded nolo contendere.
And, on May 30, 2017, he was sentenced to 12 years of
imprisonment. See State v. Puckett, No. F14-61028-K
(Crim. Dist. Ct. No. 4, Dallas Cnty. Tex.). There was no
direct appeal. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied
without written order his request for state habeas relief.
See Ex parte Puckett, WR-87, 314-01 (Tex. Crim. App.
Mar. 21, 2018); see also Ex parte Puckett, No.
W14-61028-K(A) (Crim. Dist. Ct. No. 4, Dallas Cnty. Tex.).
And his request for federal habeas relief under 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 is pending before another judge of this Court.
See Puckett v. Davis, No. 3:18-cv-1055-B-BT (N.D.
Standards and Analysis
his civil rights complaint, Puckett alleges deficiencies in
his state criminal proceedings. See, e.g., Dkt. No.
3 at 4 (“Multiple times throughout the court process, I
requested mental health assistance, counsel, and experts,
even seeking to change plea to a mental health plea, and was
continuously denied by the Judge, and the States attorney,
and the County seat and State both receive federal funding
and should have allowed my access to that program, but did
not do so because of my extensive history of mental health
disorders, going as far back as to omit any mental health
referrals or statements from the trial completely.”).
And, to the extent that he brings this suit against those who
have custody of him, his claims against those defendants are
derivative of the alleged state-criminal-proceeding
deficiencies. See Id. at 7 (“That the State of
Texas Attorney Generals Office, and Lorie Davis TDCJ
director, have both been aware of these violations and have
taken no steps to correct them.”).
history of Puckett's post-conviction proceedings set out
above reflects, his civil rights claims are based on
“factual allegations [that] are necessarily
inconsistent with the validity of [a] conviction” that
he fails to show has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged
by executive order, or otherwise declared invalid by a state
tribunal or federal court and should therefore be dismissed
as frivolous. McCann v. Neilsen, 466 F.3d 619, 621
(7th Cir. 2006) (cited in Bush v. Strain, 513 F.3d
492, 498 n.14 (5th Cir. 2008)); see Heck, 512 U.S.
at 486-87; Hamilton v. Lyons, 74 F.3d 99, 102 (5th
Cir. 1996) (“A § 1983 claim which falls under the
rule in Heck is legally frivolous unless the
conviction or sentence at issue has been reversed, expunged,
invalidated, or otherwise called into question.”
Heck court held that a civil tort action, including
an action under section 1983, is not an appropriate vehicle
for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments.” DeLeon v. City of Corpus Christi,
488 F.3d 649, 652 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing Heck, 512
U.S. at 486); see Id. at 654 (in this circuit,
“Heck stands first for ‘the hoary
principle that civil tort actions are not appropriate
vehicles for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments'” (quoting Heck, 512 U.S. at
these reasons, Puckett's claims are currently
Heck barred and therefore frivolous.
Court should dismiss this action with prejudice to the claims
raised in the complaint being asserted again until the
Heck v. ...