September 20, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15 C 11835 -
Edmond E. Chang, Judge.
Manion and Kanne, Circuit Judges, and Miller, District Judge.
19, 2013, Milan Brown was sentenced to 300 days'
imprisonment for violating the terms of his probation. At the
sentencing hearing, the Illinois circuit court specifically
stated that Brown should be released in September 2013, after
accounting for good-time credit. However, in August 2013,
staff at the Cook County Jail informed Brown that he would
not be released until March. On September 10, 2013, Brown
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in state court
seeking to remedy the error, but staff at the jail allegedly
failed to transport him to court on multiple occasions.
December 16, 2013, the petition was finally heard. The
Illinois circuit court determined Brown should have been
released in September and immediately released him on a $50,
000 bond. On January 17, 2014, the court released the bond.
December 30, 2015, Brown filed a § 1983 complaint in
federal court against Sheriff Thomas Dart and Cook County
alleging violations of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments based
on false imprisonment and inhumane conditions. Brown also
alleged a violation of Illinois state law based on false
imprisonment. The defendants moved for judgment on the
pleadings on the basis that all of Brown's claims were
time barred. The district court entered judgment on the
pleadings in favor of the defendants. On appeal, Brown
challenges only the conclusion that his § 1983 false
imprisonment claim was not timely filed. Because the county
and Sheriff Dart released Brown from prison more than two
years before he filed his claim, the district court's
judgment will be affirmed.
parties agree that Brown was to be released from the Cook
County Jail on September 12, 2013, and that he was not in
fact released from the jail until December 16, 2013. The only
issue before this court is whether Brown's § 1983
claim of false imprisonment was timely filed. We review the
district court's judgment on the pleadings de
novo, accept all well pleaded allegations as true, and
construe all alleged facts in the light most favorable to
Brown, the non-moving party. Hayes v. City of
Chicago, 670 F.3d 810, 813 (7th Cir. 2012).
statute of limitations to bring a claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 is determined by state law. Wallace v.
Kato, 549 U.S 384, 387 (2007). Under Illinois law, a
plaintiff has two years to bring a § 1983 claim. 735ILCS
5/13-202; Gekas v. Vasiliades, 814 F.3d 890, 894
(7th Cir. 2016). The date a cause of action accrues, however,
is determined by federal law. Gekas, 814 F.3d at
Wallace v. Kato, the Supreme Court held that the
statute of limitations for a false imprisonment claim begins
when the false imprisonment ends. 549 U.S. at 389.
Brown's alleged false imprisonment ended when the court
released him from the jail. To the extent Brown's
liberties were restricted while he was released on bond, the
court, not the sheriff's department, was responsible for
those restrictions. Thus, Brown's claim against the
sheriff and the county accrued-and the two-year statute of
limitations began to run-on December 16, 2013. Brown's
petition, filed two weeks beyond the statute of limitations,
of Brown's arguments to the contrary are convincing.
Brown offers two reasons for why January 17, 2014, should be
considered the day the false imprisonment ended and his claim
Brown claims that the time he spent released on bond was a
continuation of the false imprisonment. Brown alleges that,
as a condition of the bond, he was not allowed to leave
Illinois or exercise his Second Amendment right. This court
has broadly commented that confining someone to one state
could in some contexts be considered imprisonment, but
"imprisonment" is defined more narrowly in the
context of a constitutional deprivation. Albright v.
Oliver, 975 F.2d 343, 346 (7th Cir. 1992). False
imprisonment, for purposes of a § 1983 claim, is defined
as detention without legal process. Wallace, 549
U.S. at 389. Brown does not claim he was detained without
legal process after December 16, 2013. Once he was released
from the jail, the only restraints on his liberty were
imposed by the court pursuant to legal process. Brown does
not challenge the court's authority to order him released
on bond. Therefore, the time Brown spent released on bond was
not a continuation of the alleged false imprisonment.
Brown argues that his claim could not accrue until the court
had corrected his release date. In Heck v. Humphrey,
the Supreme Court addressed whether a plaintiff could file a
§ 1983 claim for malicious prosecution before his
conviction had been vacated. 512 U.S. 477 (1994). The Court
addressed the concern that "'permitting] a convicted
criminal defendant to proceed with a malicious prosecution
claim would permit a collateral attack on the conviction
through the vehicle of a civil suit.'" Id.
at 485 (citation omitted). Thus, the Court held that,
"in order to recover damages for allegedly
unconstitutional ... imprisonment, or for other harm caused
by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or
sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the
... sentence has been reversed on direct appeal" or
otherwise invalidated. Id. at 486-87. Brown argues
that he was bound by Heck to wait until the district