Seyon R. Haywood, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Jody Hathaway, Defendant-Appellee.
October 30, 2013
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Illinois. No. 3:09-cv-00807-MJR-SCW - Michael J.
Reagan, Chief Judge.
Easterbrook, Ripple, and Williams, Circuit Judges.
Haywood, formerly an inmate at Illi-nois's Shawnee
Correctional Center, accused his auto mechanics teacher of
attacking him. Guards charged him with making false
statements. A disciplinary panel found him guilty and ordered
him transferred to segregation for two months; the panel also
revoked one month of good-time credit. After these events he
was transferred to a different prison, where he remains in
contends in this proceeding under 42 U.S.C. §1983 that
these penalties violate his right to speech, protected by the
Constitution's First Amendment (applied to states by the
Fourteenth). He also alleges that the conditions of his
confinement in segregation were cruel and unusual, violating
the Eighth Amendment (again applied via the Fourteenth). The
district court dismissed the first claim on the pleadings and
granted summary judgment to defendants on the second. The
only defendant against whom Haywood still seeks damages is
Jody Hathaway, Shawnee's Warden during Haywood's time
district court dismissed the First Amendment claim because
the disciplinary panel's decision, which affected the
duration of Haywood's confinement, had not been set aside
on collateral review or by executive clemency. The Supreme
Court held in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994),
that §1983 cannot be used to seek damages when relief
necessarily implies the invalidity of a criminal conviction
that remains in force. Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S.
641 (1997), extends this approach to prison discipline.
Haywood offers two responses: first, that his good-time
credits have now been restored, and, second, that he has
waived any challenge to the duration of his confinement and
therefore (he contends) should be allowed to seek damages.
Haywood maintains that his good-time credits were restored
while this appeal has been pending, the forms that Haywood
has submitted show only the Department of Corrections's
calculation of his projected release date, not whether the
disciplinary board's decision has been vacated in the
manner Heck and Edwards require. At all
events, things that happen after a district court's
decision do not demonstrate that the court erred.
Heck and Edwards hold that a §1983
claim does not accrue until the conviction or discipline had
been set aside. Once that occurs, the prisoner has the time
allowed by the statute of limitations (two years in Illinois)
to commence suit. A dismissal under Heck and
Edwards is without prejudice to litigation after a
conviction or disciplinary sanction is annulled.
his waiver of any challenge to the duration of confinement:
that's irrelevant because no matter what a prisoner
demands, or waives, §1983 cannot be used to contest the
fact or duration of confinement. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973). From its outset, this
suit has been a quest for money damages. That's not all.
The holding of Heck and Edwards is that a
claim under §1983 does not accrue as long as it would
imply the invalidity of a conviction or disciplinary sanction
that affects the duration of custody. If the claim has not
accrued, it cannot matter what relief a prisoner seeks. Yet
if it is possible to seek damages while waiving other relief,
this must mean that the claim accrues immediately and the
statute of limitations runs from the time of the events said
to be wrongful. That would surprise the many prisoners who
wait patiently until they are entitled to sue under
Heck, for if Haywood is right the time to do so
could have expired.
relies on Peralta v. Vasquez, 467 F.3d 98 (2d Cir.
2006), which held that a prisoner who foreswears any contest
to the length of his confinement may use §1983 to seek
damages. The Second Circuit understood "the purpose of
the Heck favorable termination requirement [to be]
to prevent prison- ers from using §1983 to vitiate
collaterally a judicial or administrative decision that
affected the overall length of their confinement". 467
F.3d at 104. To disavow any collateral attack on the
conviction or revocation of good-time credits is to take the
situation outside Heck, the court concluded. We do
not agree with that conclusion, which no other circuit has
adopted (though none has expressly rejected it, either).
and Edwards say that a challenge is not possible as
long as it is inconsistent with the validity of a conviction
or disciplinary sanction. See also Nelson v.
Campbell, 541 U.S. 637, 646 (2004): "a §1983
suit for damages that would 'necessarily imply' the
invalidity of the fact of an inmate's conviction, or
'necessarily imply' the invalidity of the length of
an inmate's sentence, is not cognizable under §1983
unless and until the inmate obtains favorable termination of
a state, or federal habeas, challenge to his conviction or
sentence." This is a version of issue preclusion
(collateral estoppel), under which the outstanding criminal
judgment or disciplinary sanction, as long as it stands,
blocks any inconsistent civil judgment. See Simpson v.
Nickel, 450 F.3d 303 (7th Cir. 2006); DeWalt v.
Carter, 224 F.3d 607 (7th Cir. 2000); Can v.
O'Leary, 167 F.3d 1124 (7th Cir. 1999). It is a
rationale considerably different from the one that
Peralta attributed to the Court.
Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 392 (2007), the
Justices emphasized another of Heck's
[Heck] analogized [the §1983] suit to one for
malidous prosecution, an element of which is the favorable
termination of criminal proceedings. [512 U.S.] at 484. We
"[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 ...