Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 3 (2004) (per curiam)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  Next

Cite as: 540 U. S. 749 (2004)

Per Curiam

prisoner seeking relief unavailable in habeas, notably damages, but on allegations that not only support a claim for recompense, but imply the invalidity either of an underlying conviction or of a particular ground for denying release short of serving the maximum term of confinement. In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U. S. 477 (1994), we held that where success in a prisoner's 1983 damages action would implicitly question the validity of conviction or duration of sentence, the litigant must first achieve favorable termination of his available state, or federal habeas, opportunities to challenge the underlying conviction or sentence. Accordingly, in Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U. S. 641 (1997), we applied Heck in the circumstances of a 1983 action claiming damages and equitable relief for a procedural defect in a prison's administrative process, where the administrative action taken against the plaintiff could affect credits toward release based on good time served. In each instance, conditioning the right to bring a 1983 action on a favorable result in state litigation or federal habeas served the practical objective of preserving limitations on the availability of habeas remedies. Federal petitions for habeas corpus may be granted only after other avenues of relief have been exhausted. 28 U. S. C. 2254(b)(1)(A). See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U. S. 509 (1982). Prisoners suing under 1983, in contrast, generally face a substantially lower gate, even with the requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that administrative opportunities be exhausted first. 42 U. S. C. 1997e(a).

Heck's requirement to resort to state litigation and federal habeas before 1983 is not, however, implicated by a prisoner's challenge that threatens no consequence for his conviction or the duration of his sentence.1 There is no need to

1 The assumption is that the incarceration that matters under Heck is the incarceration ordered by the original judgment of conviction, not special disciplinary confinement for infraction of prison rules. This Court has never followed the speculation in Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U. S. 475, 499 (1973), that such a prisoner subject to "additional and unconstitutional


Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007