United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
John Ross McKinney, submitted this pro se action for filing
on June 22, 2015, in the Eastern District of Arkansas. (Doc.
2). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on July 13, 2015.
(Doc. 5). The case was properly transferred to this District
on July 21, 2015. (Doc. 7). Currently before the Court is
Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. 20).
is currently not incarcerated. Plaintiff alleges Defendants
violated his constitutional rights when they arrested and
charged him with Felony Domestic Battery against his wife,
Amber McKinney, because he was the actual victim of the
domestic battery. (Doc. 5.). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
he was arrested at the emergency room when he sought
treatment for a cracked rib, black eye, upper and lower
“busted lips, ” large head contusion, and
possible concussion. (Doc. 5, pp. 3-4). He alleges the
Defendants did not interview him or take any photographs of
his injuries, even though his injuries were much more serious
than Amber McKinney's. At the same time, he alleges the
photographs Defendant Ussery took of Amber McKinney (formerly
Amber Inez Williams (Doc. 5, p. 7)) showed her injuries were
fabricated to ensure his “illegal detainment.” He
alleges there was no evidence showing him to be guilty. He
alleges Defendants did not investigate before illegally
detaining him. (Doc. 5, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff further alleges
the arrest resulted in him not receiving the medical
attention he needed. (Doc. 5, p. 4). Plaintiff further
alleges Amber Inez Williams had a history of violent domestic
disputes, and provided a newspaper clipping of an altercation
between himself and Amber Inez Williams prior to their
marriage. In the article, she was noted to be the aggressor
in the domestic assault and had further promoted violence in
front of a juvenile. (Doc. 5, p. 10).
proceeds against all Defendants in both their official and
personal capacity. (Doc. 5, p. 2). Plaintiff requests
“total exoneration of current charges” and
compensation for every day of incarceration. (Doc. 5, p. 6).
filed their motion to dismiss on March 3, 2016, arguing
Plaintiff's claims were barred by the Heck
doctrine. (Doc. 20). Plaintiff responded on March 26, 2016,
reiterating that his constitutional rights had been violated
by the investigation, arrest, detention, and criminal
prosecution. He further argues Defendants had no probable
cause to charge him with domestic battery. (Doc. 26, p. 2).
He further stated his case had been remanded back to the Clark
County District Court by the Circuit Court. (Doc. 26, p. 3).
replied to Plaintiff's response on March 30, 2016,
arguing a remand did not change the Heck analysis,
because Plaintiff's case had not yet been reversed,
expunged, or invalidated. (Doc. 29). Plaintiff responded on
November 9, 2016, stating his case had been nolle prossed at
the remand. (Doc. 30). Defendants did not reply to this
8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a
complaint to present “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “In order to meet
this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss 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.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotations omitted)). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. While the Court will
liberally construe a pro se Plaintiff's
complaint, the plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to
support their claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d
912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).
argue Plaintiff's case should be dismissed because it is
barred by the Heck doctrine. They have not provided
any argument concerning the merits of Plaintiff's claims
after the nolle prosequi order was entered and
Plaintiff's state court case dismissed.
case is no longer pending in Arkansas state court, therefore
this Court is not required to abstain from hearing it.
Pursuant to Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971),
federal courts are required to abstain from hearing cases
when “(1) there is an ongoing state judicial proceeding
which (2) implicates important state interests, and when (3)
that proceeding affords an adequate opportunity to raise the
federal questions presented.” Norwood v.
Dickey, 409 F.3d 901, 903 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing
Fuller v. Ulland, 76 F.3d 957, 959 (8th Cir. 1996)).
Ongoing state criminal proceedings implicate the important
state interest of enforcing state criminal law, and
constitutional claims relating to that proceeding should be
raised there. Meador v. Paulson, 385 Fed. App'x
613 (8th Cir. 2010); see also Gillette v. N. Dakota Disc.
Bd. Counsel, 610 F.3d 1045, 1046 (8th Cir. 2010)
(“federal courts may not enjoin pending state court
criminal proceedings absent a showing of bad faith,
harassment, or any other unusual circumstance that would call
for equitable relief.”) (internal quotations omitted)).
was not actually convicted of any criminal charge in this
case, therefore the Heck doctrine does not apply. In
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the Supreme
Court held that a claim for damages for "allegedly
unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other
harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a
conviction or sentence invalid" is not cognizable until
"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, 512 U.S. 486-87.
If there is no sentence or conviction, then Heck
does not apply. See Wilkins v. DeReyes, 528 F.3d
790, 801, n.6 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Wallace v.
Kato, 127 S.Ct. at 1097-98 (2007) (“[T]he
Heck favorable termination requirement does not
apply to false arrest claims in the absence of an existing
conviction.”); Gakuba v. O'Brien, 711 F.3d
751, 753 (7th Cir. 2013) (“Heck does not apply
absent a conviction”); Magana v. County of San
Diego, 835 F.Supp.2d 906, 910 (S.D. Cal. 2011) (the
“existence of an actual conviction is a condition
sine qua non for the application of the
allegations concerning improper procedures and lack of
evidence concerning investigation, probable cause for arrest,
and his subsequent detention, at least at this juncture,
state cognizable individual capacity claims under §
1983. See e.g. Brockinton v. City of Sherwood, Ark.,
503 F.3d 667, 672 (8th Cir. 2007) (intentional or reckless
investigation can rise to the level of constitutional
violation); Davis v. Hall, 375 F.3d 703, 717 (8th
Cir. 2004) (prolonged detention can rise to the level of
constitutional violation with the requisite state of mind).
Plaintiff further alleged denial of medical care, which also
states a cognizable individual capacity claim under §
Plaintiff has not, however, stated any cognizable official
capacity claims. Under § 1983, a defendant may be sued
in either his individual capacity, or in his ...