United States District Court, D. New Mexico
STEVEN H. SHEETS and PHILIP D. SHEETS, Plaintiffs,
STATE OF NEW MEXICO, STEVE REYNOLDS, LEMUEL MARTINEZ, PATRICK C. MCNERTNEY, CHARLIE W. BROWN, THE HONORABLE CAMILLE MARTINEZ OLGUIN, RAY TWOHIG, P.C., MARC GORDON, and LISA SCHATZ-VANCE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER is before the Court under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A and Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) on the Civil Rights Complaint
filed by Plaintiffs Steven H. Sheets and Philip D. Sheets
(Doc. 1) (“Complaint”). The Court will dismiss
2003, Plaintiff Steven Sheets pled guilty to Second Degree
Murder (Firearm Enhancement), Conspiracy to Commit
1st Degree Murder, Tampering with Evidence, and
Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, in New Mexico state court
cause no. D-1329-CR-2001-00196. On January 15, 2004, Steven
Sheets was sentenced to serve 38 years of incarceration with
3 years suspended, for a total of 35 years. (Doc. 1 at 29,
31). He is presently serving his sentence in the custody of
the State of New Mexico Corrections Department. (Doc. 1 at 3,
17). Plaintiff Philip Sheets is the father of Steven Sheets
and is proceeding in this case “as a third party,
paying for the Defense of my son's case in State District
Court.” (Doc. 1 at 3).
Steven and Philip Sheets filed their Complaint on November
15, 2017. (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs allege violations of the
4th, 5th, 6th,
8th, 13th, and 14th
Amendments to the United States Constitution. (Doc. 1 at 3).
Plaintiffs name, as Defendants, the State of New Mexico,
Sandoval County Sheriff's Officer Steve Reynolds,
District Attorney Lemuel Martinez, Deputy District Attorney
Patrick C. McNertney, Deputy District Attorney Charlie Brown,
Judge Camille Martinez Olguin, retained defense attorney, Ray
Twohig, and Public Defenders Marc Gordon and Lisa
Schatz-Vance. (Doc. 1 at 1-2). Plaintiffs allege Defendants
engaged in judicial misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct,
coercion to obtain confession, perjury,
“subordination” to perjury, conspiracy to mislead
the Grand Jury, conspiracy to over-charge and over-sentence,
ineffective defense, and over charging fees. (Doc. 1 at 3).
Plaintiff Steven Sheets seeks relief in the form of a writ of
habeas corpus to be delivered into his father's custody,
a refund of all fees collected by attorney Twohig, and
compensation in the amount of $10, 000, 000. (Doc. 1 at 19).
before the Court are Applications to Proceed in District
Court Without Prepaying Fees or Costs filed by Steven Sheets
(Doc. 2) and Philip Sheets (Doc. 3). However, the filing fee
for this proceeding has been paid, in full. (Doc. 10). The
Court will deny the Applications to Proceed as moot in light
of the payment of the full filing fee.
Philip Sheets also filed a Motion for Summons. (Doc. 12).
Without waiting for a ruling on the Motion, Philip Sheets
then had the Clerk of the Court issue summons for all of the
Defendants. The Court will also deny the Motion for Summons
as moot in light of the Clerk's issuance of the requested
summons to Philip Sheets.
Plaintiff Philip Sheets, pro se, has filed a “Motion to
Vacate or Set Sdide (sic) Sentence 28 U.S.C. 2255, ”
asking the Court to “remove Plaintiff Steven H. Sheets
from State custody, as he is now serving time for Conspiracy
to commit First Degree Murder.” (Doc. 11). The Court
will deny the Motion to Vacate. First, Philip Sheets may not
prosecute a motion on behalf of his son. Adams ex rel.
D.J.W. v. Astrue, 659 F.3d 1297, 1299 (10th Cir. 2011).
Second, a motion to vacate or set aside a conviction under 28
U.S.C. § 2255 may only be brought by a prisoner in
federal custody under a sentence of a federal court. 28
U.S.C. § 2255(a). Because Steven Sheets is a prisoner in
state custody under a sentence of a state court, he cannot
seek relief under § 2255.
THE COMPLAINT FAILS TO STATE A CLAIM AND ANY RELIEF IS
Court may dismiss a pro se complaint sua sponte for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) the
Court must accept all well-pled factual allegations, but not
conclusory, unsupported allegations, and may not consider
matters outside the pleading. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Dunn v.
White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 1989).
The court may dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim if “it is ‘patently
obvious' that the plaintiff could not prevail on the
facts alleged.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d
1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991) (quoting McKinney v. Oklahoma
Dep't of Human Services, 925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th
Cir. 1991)). A plaintiff must allege “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. A claim should be
dismissed where it is legally or factually insufficient to
state a plausible claim for relief. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570.
reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court liberally construes
the factual allegations. See Northington v. Jackson,
973 F.2d 1518, 1520-21 (10th Cir. 1992). However, a pro se
plaintiff's pleadings are judged by the same legal
standards that apply to all litigants and a pro se plaintiff
must abide by the applicable rules of court. Ogden v. San
Juan County, 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir.
1994). The Court is not obligated to craft legal theories for
the plaintiff or to supply factual allegations to support the
plaintiff's claims. Nor may the Court assume the role of
advocate for the pro se litigant. Hall v. Bellmon,
935 F.2d at 1110.
Plaintiff Philip Sheets May Not Proceed On Behalf of
Steven Sheets and the Complaint Fails to State Any Claim for
Relief by Philip Sheets
Sheets, proceeding pro se, is named as a Plaintiff in this
case. He claims to have standing because he has paid for his
son, Steven Sheets' criminal defense costs in state
court. (Doc. 1 at 3). Many of the filings in this case have
been submitted by Philip Sheets on behalf of Steven Sheets.
See, e.g., Doc. 2, 11.
right of an individual plaintiff to proceed pro se in a civil
action in federal court is guaranteed by law. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1654. However, because proceeding pro se
means to appear for one's self, a person may not appear
on another person's behalf. An individual appearing pro
se may only litigate an interest personal to him. Adams
ex rel. D.J.W. v. Astrue, 659 F.3d 1297, 1299 (10th Cir.
Fymbo v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Co., 213 F.3d
1320 (10th Cir.2000), the Tenth Circuit concluded that a
litigant may bring his own claims to federal court without
counsel, but not the claims of others because “the
competence of a layman is ‘clearly too limited to allow
him to risk the rights of others.' ” Id.
at 1321 (quoting Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d
1405, 1407 (4th Cir.1975)); see also 7A Wright &
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil § 1769.1
(citing cases for the rule that class representatives cannot
appear pro se). Philip Sheets may only assert his own claims
and may not act on behalf of his son, Steven Sheets, in this
even though Philip Sheets has the right to assert his own
individual claims, the Complaint does not state any claim for
relief on behalf of Philip Sheets. The only allegations in
the Complaint that might, conceivably, support a claim by
Philip Sheets relate ...