Federal Law

Words Can Easily Create a False Impression of the Real Facts. Here’s a Perfect Example by the Fifth Circuit

Patrick was lying to the Judge—to maintain control over Sturkin and perpetuate her fraudulent scheme—but the Judge ordered Sturkin to be imprisoned.


A short and disinterested affirmation by the Fifth Circuit panel regarding this 1983 constitutional case which shows Patrick’s abuse of Sturkin in front of a judge, telling lies “to maintain control over Sturkin and perpetuate her fraudulent SCHEME…” It’s been listed by the 5th Circuit as an UNPUBLISHED decision.

Sadly, it all sounds very familiar. In the Burkes’ ongoing case(s);

Hopkins Law PLLC, implemented a FRAUDULENT SCHEME to withhold evidence and then in front of a Magistrate Judge lied repeatedly to try to have the Burkes criminally charged as per this case and where the prisoner obtained a jury win and $350k damages + fees.

Words Matter; Have a look at our side-by-side screenshot of the shocking exclusions and wordsmithing by the 3-Panel of the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; namely Forgetful Wiener, Costly Guesses by Costa and Mrs Petrobras ‘No Free Living’ Haynes to reduce the overall impact of the actual trial facts.

AT LIT, we do recognize how it must be painful having to affirm a former reforming inmate’s jury judgment of $350k due to the criminal acts of the parole officer. It’s not how the 5th Circuit have historically dealt with such matters. But they are not used to public eyes either.

When the Appellate Court invited lawyers to remove property cases from State Courts into Federal Courts, they were unprepared for the citizens, in the main pro se’s, investigations into the unfettered corruption which has been uncovered. Prior to 2008, LIT suggests that the appellate circuit(s) were mainly business courts. Now they have to face the consequences of failing to protect their own citizens by selling them out in favor of contributions by “big businesses”.

Vicky Patrick has moved to dismiss this suit. The motion is fully briefed and ready for adjudication.

I.                   Factual and Procedural History

 In 2010, Donna Sturkin began to participate in the Drug Court for the Eighth Judicial District of Mississippi. Her parole officer was Vicky Patrick, who was appointed by Circuit Judge Vernon Cotten.

While a participant in the Drug Court, Sturkin claims that Patrick grossly abused her authority. “Plaintiff was subjected to regular and repeated harassment, coercion, punishment, and false reporting by Defendant Patrick,” states her Complaint.

More particularly, Patrick allegedly went to Sturkin’s places of employment and demanded that Sturkin look the other way while Patrick stole goods or otherwise defrauded Sturkin’s employers.

When Sturkin worked at a hotel, for example, Patrick demanded and received free hotel rooms for herself, friends, and family.

The most serious abuse of power happened when Sturkin refused to comply with Patrick’s demands. Patrick subsequently told the Judge presiding over the Drug Court that Sturkin had tested positive for alcohol consumption. Patrick was lying to the Judge—to maintain control over Sturkin and perpetuate her fraudulent scheme—but the Judge ordered Sturkin to be imprisoned.

This suit followed. Sturkin seeks monetary damages for Patrick’s violations of rights secured by the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Patrick now argues that the case cannot proceed because it would imply that Sturkin’s criminal conviction was invalid. Patrick also contends that Sturkin’s state-law tort claims are untimely.

II.                   Legal Standard

When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court accepts the plaintiff’s factual allegations as true and makes reasonable inferences in the plaintiff’s favor.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To proceed, the complaint “must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 677-78 (quotation marks and citation omitted).

This requires “more than an unadorned, the defendant- unlawfully-harmed-me accusation,” but the complaint need not have “detailed factual allegations.” Id. at 678 (quotation marks and citation omitted).

The plaintiff’s claims must also be plausible on their face, which means there is “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted).

III.                   Discussion

Patrick’s motion suggests that she is invoking the Supreme Court’s ruling in Heck v.

Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). In that case, the Court held the following:

[I]n order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the 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, 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

A claim for damages bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under § 1983.

Thus, when a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983 suit, the district court must consider whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has already been invalidated.

Id. at 486–87 (footnotes omitted).

A thorough review of the complaint leaves the Court unpersuaded that Sturkin’s claims are Heck-barred.

Sturkin’s successful recovery against Patrick would not imply the invalidity of a conviction or sentence. Although Sturkin does claim that she was falsely imprisoned for drug test violations, documents attached to her response indicate that there is no underlying conviction or sentence that Sturkin needs to set aside before this case can proceed.

All of the charges were expunged upon Sturkin’s successful completion of Drug Court. See Docket Nos. 74-5 and 74-6 (Orders of Judge Cotten). The expungement orders not only cleared the underlying conviction, they expunged the sanctions and imprisonment the Circuit Judge imposed on Sturkin when Patrick falsely accused her of testing positive for alcohol consumption.

Whether those documents will be disputed at the summary judgment stage remains to be seen, but for present purposes it is enough to say that the claims are not on their face Heck-barred.

Lastly, neither the complaint nor the briefing reveal any state-law tort claims in this action. There is nothing to dismiss as untimely.

IV.    Conclusion

The motion is denied.

SO ORDERED, this the 8th day of August, 2017.

s/ Carlton W. Reeves

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
December 10, 2019
No. 19-60117

DONNA STURKIN, Plaintiff-Appellee


VICKY PATRICK, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
USDC No. 3:16-CV-434




Before WIENER, HAYNES, and COSTA, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM:*

Plaintiff-Appellee Donna Sturkin filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit against Defendant-Appellant Vicky Patrick, a state employee.

Sturkin alleged that Patrick, in her official capacity as Sturkin’s probation officer in an alternative state program, had extorted financial benefits by requiring Sturkin

(1) as a store cashier, not to charge Patrick for various items during checkout, and

(2) as a motel clerk, to allow Patrick and members of her family to room there without paying to do so.

Sturkin’s case was eventually tried to a district court jury.

The trial court ruled that Patrick was not entitled to qualified immunity, and the jury found that Patrick had violated Sturkin’s civil rights for which it awarded $350,000 in damages to Sturkin.

The district court also overruled Patrick’s challenge based upon the favorable termination requirement of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). The Heck ruling is the only issue Patrick raises on appeal.

We have reviewed in detail the briefs of the parties and the relevant portions of the record on appeal.

We conclude that the district court did not reversibly err in the challenged ruling.


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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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