Humphries v. Various Federal USINS Employees, 96-10383

Citation164 F.3d 936
Decision Date21 January 1999
Docket NumberNo. 96-10383,96-10383
PartiesAlexander Tito HUMPHRIES, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. VARIOUS FEDERAL USINS EMPLOYEES, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)

Deborah Ann Pearce-Reggio, River Ridge, LA, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Brenda M. O'Malley, Michael Peter Lindemann, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Immigration Litigation, Civil Div., Christopher Cyrus Fuller, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., Vernon Benet Miles, Dept. of Justice, Civil Div., Jennifer H. Zawid, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Div., Washington, DC, for Defendant-Appellee.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Before EMILIO M. GARZA, STEWART and DENNIS, Circuit Judges.

EMILIO M. GARZA, Circuit Judge:

Alexander Tito Humphries, proceeding pro se, appeals from the district court's dismissal of his various civil rights and contract claims as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d), now designated 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.


The complaint presently before us consists of numerous handwritten pages, submitted along with various attachments in the form of what purport to be original documents and photocopies of such documents. The complaint as a whole is difficult to understand, but generally appears to allege the following facts: In March 1986, Humphries, a citizen of Kenya, entered the United States on a nonimmigrant visa. At some point during the next several years, Humphries began working for the United States Customs Service (the "Customs Service") as a confidential informant, providing undercover officers with various leads as to drug-related activity. In November 1991, Humphries traveled to Kenya under the supervision of the Customs Service in order to participate in a two-week, undercover drug-buying operation. Humphries had intended to use some of this time to renew his visa, which had expired earlier that year, but his supervisors kept him too busy to fill out the proper paperwork. Humphries therefore returned from his trip without a valid visa to authorize his re-entry into the United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") agent Robert Dodge solved this problem by paroling Humphries into the country "in the public interest."

Following the November 1991 trip to Kenya, Humphries may have left the country and returned as many as two or three times--on each occasion being paroled back into the United States "in the public interest." In May 1993, Humphries' employment with the Customs Service appears to have ended, but the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") made no move to revoke Humphries' parole. Approximately one year later, in April 1994, Humphries began working with both the INS and the FBI in an investigation of Sunday Ukwu, a Nigerian national suspected of importing heroin and forging immigration documents. At some point during the investigation, Humphries became concerned that the government's tactics amounted to entrapment. Humphries voiced these concerns to his supervisors, but the government proceeded with the investigation, ultimately convicting Ukwu and several associates of bribing a public official, immigration document fraud, and conspiracy.

Following Ukwu's conviction, the INS, under George Putnam's signature, filed an official charging document known as an "I-122" against Humphries. The form provided written notice that the INS was terminating Humphries' parole and instituting exclusion 1 proceedings against him, based on his lack of a valid visa. Humphries sought to persuade the INS that he was actively involved with the Customs Service in an ongoing undercover investigation, but Special Agents Alex Nick and Ken Kates contradicted these claims. Based on the I-122, an Immigration Judge ordered Humphries excluded from the United States.

Separate and apart from these factual allegations, the parties currently before us agree that Humphries did in fact receive an order of exclusion from an Immigration Judge, and that after raising various, unsuccessful legal challenges to this decision, Humphries left the United States for his home country of Kenya on June 18, 1997. 2 Before leaving the United States, however, Humphries filed the present complaint pro se in federal district court, alleging generally that various government officials, including Dodge, Putnam, Kates, and Nick, 3 had conspired to deprive him of his constitutional rights. The exact contours of these claims are difficult to discern, but the pleadings, liberally construed, indicate five general complaints. First, Humphries claims that various government agents deprived Sunday Ukwu of a fair trial, initially by entrapping Ukwu and then by perjuring themselves on the stand at his trial ("entrapment" claim). Second, Humphries complains that he was forced to work for the INS under threats of deportation in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment ("involuntary servitude" claim). Third, Humphries claims that he was mistreated and subjected to various constitutional violations while in detention awaiting exclusion ("mistreatment while in detention" claim). Fourth, Humphries claims that his parole was revoked and exclusion proceedings begun in direct retaliation for his speaking out about the agencies' entrapment of Ukwu ("retaliatory exclusion" claim). Fifth, Humphries claims that the government made various oral contracts with him as to how he would be paid and what benefits he would receive at the end of the Ukwu investigation ("breach of contract" claim). In terms of requested relief, Humphries' complaint makes vague references to the injustice of Humphries' then-impending exclusion, but is explicit in seeking damages for each of the above claims as well as specific performance for certain of the alleged contracts.

The district court assigned the case to a magistrate judge, who characterized the complaint as a request for damages resulting from a "wrongful deportation." Based on that characterization, the magistrate judge recommended dismissing the complaint as frivolous in light of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 2372, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994) (holding that no cause of action exists under § 1983 for actions that, if proven, would "necessarily imply" the invalidity of an underlying conviction or sentence, unless that conviction or sentence is first properly invalidated, either on appeal or through habeas). The district court followed this recommendation and adopted the opinion of the magistrate judge as its own. Following Humphries' timely appeal, we recognized that the question of whether we should apply the rationale of Heck in the context of exclusion is an issue of first impression in this Circuit. We therefore appointed counsel to argue this issue on Humphries' behalf before the court.


Because the district court dismissed this case as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d), now designated 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) by § 804 of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), 4 we review the dismissal only for an abuse of discretion. See McCormick v. Stalder, 105 F.3d 1059, 1061 (5th Cir.1997). In determining whether a district court abused its discretion, we consider factors such as "whether (1) the plaintiff is proceeding pro se, (2) the court inappropriately resolved genuine issues of disputed fact, (3) the court applied erroneous legal conclusions, (4) the court has provided a statement of reasons which facilitates 'intelligent appellate review,' and (5) any factual frivolousness could have been remedied through a more specific pleading." Moore v. Mabus, 976 F.2d 268, 270 (5th Cir.1992).

Humphries urges that we find an abuse of discretion here because the district court's application of Heck in this context is both legally incorrect and factually irrelevant. In Heck, the Supreme Court held that in order to state a claim under § 1983 for a constitutional violation that, if proven, would imply the invalidity of a criminal conviction or sentence, one first must demonstrate that some proper tribunal has held the conviction or sentence invalid. See Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87, 114 S.Ct. at 2372. Applying this rationale in the context of immigration law, the district court determined that in order to state a cause of action for a constitutional violation that, if proven, would imply the invalidity of an exclusion order, one first must demonstrate that some proper tribunal has held the order invalid. Humphries claims that this holding stretches Heck beyond its underlying principles 5 and that, in any event, most of his claims have no legal relationship to his order of exclusion.

The government, on the other hand, refuses to differentiate among any of Humphries' individual claims, instead relying on the district court's characterization of the complaint as challenging solely the validity of Humphries' exclusion order. On that basis, the government argues that (1) Humphries' claim is moot in light of the fact that he was excluded at his own request on June 18, 1997, (2) even assuming a live controversy, Congress' recent amendments to the Immigration and Naturalization Act ("INA") deprive us of jurisdiction over Humphries' claims, and (3) assuming jurisdiction, the district court nevertheless correctly applied Heck in dismissing Humphries' complaint. After addressing elementary issues of standing and jurisdiction, we will consider in turn the government's arguments regarding the requested injunctive relief, jurisdiction under the amended INA, and the applicability of Heck v. Humphrey.


Humphries' claim of entrapment alleges generally that various government officials conspired to entrap Sunday Ukwu and deny him a fair trial. Humphries has articulated no concrete, personal injury fairly traceable to this behavior, see Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 2136, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992), and we therefore hold...

To continue reading

Request your trial
99 cases
  • El Badrawi v. Department of Homeland Sec.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • September 22, 2008
    ...Attorney General to commence proceedings,'" Foster v. Townsley, 243 F.3d 210, 214 (5th Cir.2001) (quoting Humphries v. Various Federal USINS Employees, 164 F.3d 936, 943 (5th Cir.1999)), and therefore barred by Section 1252(g). However, the Fifth Circuit's analysis in Foster is not persuasi......
  • Alejandro Garcia De La Paz v. U.S. Custom & Border Prot. Officers Jason Coy & Mario Vega & the United States, CV. No. SA–12–CV–00957–DAE.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • June 21, 2013
    ...Bivens claims against federal agents for involuntary servitude and mistreatment while in detention. See Humphries v. Various Fed. USINS Emps., 164 F.3d 936, 944 (5th Cir.1999). Accordingly, the Court concludes that Mirmehdi does not preclude Plaintiff from bringing a Bivens claim for unlawf......
  • Sissoko v. Rocha, 02-56751.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 16, 2006
    ...removal proceedings.16 In interpreting § 1252(g), we are guided by the general approach adopted in Humphries v. Various Federal USINS Employees, 164 F.3d 936 (5th Cir.1999). Humphries held that an alien's claim for mistreatment while in detention fell outside the scope of the "arising from"......
  • Jafarzadeh v. Nielsen
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • August 6, 2018 § 1252(g)'s jurisdictional bar. See Kwai Fun Wong v. United States, 373 F.3d 952, 965 (9th Cir. 2004) ; Humphries v. Various Fed. USINS Employees, 164 F.3d 936, 944 (5th Cir. 1999). Since plaintiffs' claims arise from the process by which Jafarzadeh's LPR application was handled, rather ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT