United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division
JEFFREY L. ROHRBACK PLAINTIFF
JARED MUSE MAYSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BANNING, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Rohrback is an inmate confined at the Luther Luckett
Correctional Complex. Rohrback has filed a pro se
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(Doc. # 1). The Court has granted his motion to proceed
in forma pauperis by prior Order.
matter is before the Court to conduct the initial screening
required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A. When
testing the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint, the
Court affords it a forgiving construction, accepting as true
all non-conclusory factual allegations and liberally
construing its legal claims in the plaintiffs favor.
Davis v. Prison Health Servs., 679 F.3d 433, 437-38
(6th Cir. 2012). A district court must dismiss any claim that
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
complaint, Rohrback alleges that in March 2014, detective
Jared Muse of the Maysville Police Department interviewed him
and held him against his will after he asked to leave
"so that he could plant thoughts in my head."
Rohrback also states that Muse told him that "all this
would go away" if he admitted to committing the crime,
wrote an apology letter, and left the state for eight years.
Rohrback alleges that as a result of these actions he was
wrongfully accused and convicted. Rohrback claims that the
defendants violated his constitutional rights and seeks an
award of damages. (Doc. #1).
November 2015, Rohrback was convicted in Mason County,
Kentucky upon his conditional plea of guilty to the First
Degree Rape of a 10-year-old victim. He was sentenced to a
20-year term of imprisonment. On direct appeal, Rohrback
asserted the same claims he sets forth in his present
complaint. The Supreme Court of Kentucky rejected
Rohrback's claims that his interrogation by Muse and the
incriminating statements he made in the letter of apology
should be suppressed as having been obtained in violation of
his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
(1966). Rohrback v. Commonwealth, 2015-SC-696-MR,
2017 WL 3634330 (Ky. Aug. 24, 2017).
case, Rohrback claims, in essence, that he was convicted
because Muse questioned him in violation of his
constitutional rights and that questioning resulted in
procurement of the evidence directly responsible for his
conviction. This claim would, if proven, necessarily
undermine confidence in Rohrback's criminal conviction.
Accordingly, the complaint must be dismissed without
prejudice as prematurely filed until Rohrback's
conviction "has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged
by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal...
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). See Johnson v. Winstead,
900 F.3d 428, 431-32 (7th Cir. 2018) ("Johnson seeks
damages arising from the admission of his (allegedly)
[un-Mirandized] statements at trial, resulting in
two wrongful convictions. Claims of this kind necessarily
imply the invalidity of the convictions, so
Heck's rule of deferred accrual applies.").
a court could conclude that the evidence procured by Muse was
merely relevant, but not essential, to Rohrback's
criminal culpability, his complaint would still be subject to
dismissal. Under that scenario, Rohrback's claims would
not be filed too early in light of Heck, but too
late under the one-year statute of limitations applicable to
§ 1983 claims. Hornback v. Lexington-Fayette Urban
Co. Gov't, 543 Fed.Appx. 499, 501 (6th Cir. 2013).
See Moore v. Burge, 771 F.3d 444, 446 (7th Cir.
2014) ("[C]laims based on out-of-court events, such as
gathering of evidence, accrue as soon as the constitutional
violation occurs. That's because misconduct by the police
does not (at least, need not) imply the invalidity of any
particular conviction."). But here, the evidence about
which Rohrback complains was essential to his conviction and
formed the primary basis for his appeal to the Kentucky
Supreme Court. The Court adheres to its conclusion that the
deferred-accrual rule of Heck applies, requiring
dismissal without prejudice.
it is ORDERED as follows:
(1) Rohrback's complaint (Doc. # 1) is DISMISSED
(2) The Court will enter an appropriate judgment; and
(3) This matter be STRICKEN from the active