Chapter 1. Introduction 11 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Congress quickly acted to enforce these amendments. In 1866, for example, Congress acted to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment and passed a civil rights statute that, among other things, guaranteed to all citizens the “same right” as “white citizens” to engage in a host of activities, including the right to contract, to give evidence, to sue and be sued, and to hold and alienate property. The statute thus guaranteed that various rights of citizens held under state law—i.e., their “civil rights”—should be enforceable without regard to race. The 1866 Act also provided for the removal from state court to federal court of state-law causes of action when a litigant is “denied or cannot enforce” in the state courts the rights that were guaranteed in the Act. The Act also provided for federal prosecution of certain violations of the statute by persons acting under color of law and, more unusually, for federal enforcement of state criminal law when state court prosecution would have...
- A different but less obvious explanation for § 1983’s dormancy may lie in the fact that the Supreme Court narrowly construed the “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by” the Constitution to which § 1983 spoke. For example, the Court concluded that the right against impairment of contractual obligations under the Contracts Clause was not a right that could be vindicated in an action under § 1983. Carter v. Greenhow, 114 U.S. 317 (1885). In addition, the Court concluded that a claim that State legislation violated the dormant Commerce Clause did not implicate a “right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution.” Bowman v. Chicago & N.W. Ry., 115 U.S. 611 (1885) (interpreting parallel appellate statute). Some argue that the subset of rights “secured by” the Constitution involved only a narrow category of civil rights that were said by the Court to be directly secured by the Constitution, in the sense of taking their origin in it. It did not include, for example, ordinary...
- § 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights
- Almost immediately on arrival, however, § 1983 entered into a long period of dormancy. According to some estimates of reported cases, litigants invoked the statute fewer than two dozen times over the course of the 50 years following its 1871 enactment. The reasons for § 1983’s dormancy are not entirely clear. The Reconstruction-era amendments with which § 1983 was associated were given a narrow interpretation not long after their ratification. Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1873); Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883). Perhaps, therefore, § 1983 was little used because the Bill of Rights remained inapplicable against the states until the Warren Court of the 1950’s and ’60’s began in earnest the process of “selective incorporation” of such rights through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. And at first, those Bill of Rights provisions that were applicable against the states were litigated mostly in criminal contexts, and as a shield to punishment—not as a sword invoked...
- Section 1983 came after this initial wave of federal civil rights legislation, and was designed to open up the federal courts by giving litigants a direct federal cause of action against those who, acting “under color of” law, deprived them of their constitutional rights. The statute was one feature—and perhaps the least controversial feature—of a larger statute popularly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. Distinguished primarily by its provisions (now codified at 42 U.S.C.A. § 1985(3)) that purported to reach private conspiracies to deny persons equal protection of the laws and to deprive them of their constitutional rights, the overall statute was
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Preface to the Fifth Edition 2 results
- Because much of what is difficult and interesting about § 1983 litigation has to do with issues of procedure, remedies, jurisdiction, and federal courts law, I have emphasized these issues. In addition, although § 1983 got its modern start in the civil rights revolution of the 1960’s, it is (for reasons explained in the text) no longer exclusively a “civil rights” statute. It is for that reason that I have somewhat de-emphasized discussion of the substance of the various underlying constitutional rights that § 1983 can be used to enforce. I have also included a chapter on constitutional litigation against federal officials, even though such suits are not controlled by § 1983.
- This book is designed to provide a concise but complete introduction to the topic of litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As discussed in the Introduction, the “Section 1983” cause of action is the primary vehicle for redressing federal constitutional violations by state and local officials. Litigation under § 1983 continues to be robust. In addition, § 1983 has established itself as the focus of separate courses in law schools and is a major component in courses on Civil Rights, Federal Courts, and Constitutional Tort Litigation. It is my hope that this book will provide law students, lawyers, judges, and their law clerks, with an introduction to and a better understanding of this topic.
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Chapter 11. Attorney’s Fees 17 results (showing 5 best matches)
- argued that no rational party would expend tens of thousands of dollars to recover on claims worth only a small part of that amount, and that similar “billing judgment” considerations should enter into the assessment of a reasonable fee award. But the plurality observed that civil rights cases often result in “nominal or relatively small damages awards” and that successful judgments deter future illegality, “particularly … in the area of individual police misconduct.” Requiring the fee recovery not to exceed some proportion of damages would deter vindication of constitutional rights, they said, and Congress itself had legislated on the assumption that private fee arrangements were inadequate to ensure vigorous enforcement of civil and constitutional rights.
- It is unlikely that the rights associated with § 1983 would be enforced without lawyers who were willing to bring suit. But under the “American Rule” each party ordinarily has to pay for his own attorney—an economic reality that could be problematic for many § 1983 plaintiffs. Congress modified the American Rule in the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976 (now codified as the paragraph (b) of 42 U.S.C.A. § 1988), by substituting what the Court has read as a largely one-way version of a loser-pays rule for a host of civil rights actions, including suits under § 1983. The statute thus provides a financial incentive to bring lawsuits that might not otherwise attract attorneys, either because only injunctive (rather than monetary) relief is sought, or because the likelihood of substantial damages is uncertain. This latter uncertainty is driven both by the difficulty of establishing particular constitutional violations and satisfactorily proving injury, and by various...
- If civil rights claims are supposed to compete equally with other claims in the marketplace—i.e., both contingent as well as fee-paying (risk-free) claims—then promises that they will not. And if an enhancement for the risk of not prevailing amounts to a kind of subsidy to plaintiff’s counsel for the cases she will eventually lose, it is not clear that such a subsidy is inconsistent with Congress’s goal that such civil rights claims compete equally in the marketplace. Compare 42 U.S.C.A. § 1997e(d) (greatly restricting fees in prisoner litigation by requiring “proportiona[lity],” between fees and recovery, that up to 25% of the prisoner’s monetary award be used to pay his lawyer’s fees, and that rates otherwise be capped).
- In any action or proceeding to enforce a provision of [various civil rights statutes, including § 1983], the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney’s fee as part of the costs, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity such officer shall not be held liable for any costs, including attorney’s fees, unless such action was clearly in excess of such officer’s jurisdiction.
- For many years, successful § 1983 litigants were able to convince courts to adjust the lodestar figure upward (sometimes significantly) to account for the risk of not prevailing. Non-contingent counsel—lawyers who are paid their fees by their clients—are able to keep those fees, win or lose. Civil rights counsel who lose will recover nothing unless they have been paid along the way. A lawyer who will get paid only in the event her client is successful would presumably not bill that client at the lesser rate that she would charge if she were being paid without regard to results.
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Chapter 12. Choice of Law and § 1983 6 results (showing 5 best matches)
- [Jurisdiction in various civil rights statutes, including civil suits under § 1983] shall be exercised in conformity with the laws of the United States, so far as such laws are suitable to carry the same into effect; but in all cases where they are not adapted to the object, or are deficient in the provisions necessary to furnish suitable remedies and punish offenses against law, the common law, as modified and changed by the constitution and statutes of the State wherein the court having jurisdiction of such civil or criminal cause is held, so far as the same is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States, shall be extended to and govern the said courts in the trial and disposition of the cause, and, if it is of a criminal nature, in the infliction of punishment of the party found guilty.
- Finally, note that with respect to awards of attorney’s fees in § 1983 actions, federal law is not deficient. In the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976, Congress expressly allowed for a version of “loser-pays” fee shifting in suits brought under a host of civil rights statutes, including § 1983. Absent that statute, the so-called American Rule (which requires each side to pay its own attorney’s fees) would have controlled in § 1983 actions in federal court. The attorney’s fee statute
- There is no provision in § 1983 for the survival of an action in favor of another upon the death of the § 1983 plaintiff. This silence or “deficiency” might mean that whenever a victim of unconstitutional action dies, there should never be survival of the action in anyone. Alternatively, federal courts might feel the need to develop a uniform standard for § 1983, lest constitutional rights go systematically unremedied. On the other hand, most states have some version of a survival statute that will allow other persons, sometimes the executor of a decedent’s estate, to prosecute civil actions that belonged to the decedent. Louisiana law was not terribly unusual in that respect. It allowed survival of tort claims (“personal actions”) in favor of a spouse, children, parents, or siblings; otherwise, the claim abated.
- Court suggested limits on its reasoning. Section 1988 mandates resort to state law only if it is not “inconsistent” with federal law or the Constitution. It therefore stated that a different case would be presented if there were no survival of any tort claims at all under state law, or if there were only minimal survival provisions. Such a possibility, suggested the Court, might place too great a burden on the vindication of rights under § 1983. In addition, it stated that if the death of the § 1983 plaintiff was itself caused by the deprivation of federal rights, state abatement rules might have to be ignored. Otherwise, state or local officials would have the perverse incentive (inconsistent, presumably, with § 1983) to finish off the victims of their unconstitutional action. Some lower courts have sensibly ignored state law in such circumstances. Jaco v. Bloechle, 739 F.2d 239 (6th Cir.1984). And in still other contexts, courts have largely rejected state-law caps on damages and...
- In 1990, Congress enacted a four-year catch-all statute of limitations applicable to “civil action[s] arising under an act of Congress enacted after” December 1, 1990, if the underlying act lacked its own limitations period. 28 U.S.C.A. § 1658. In most
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Index 9 results (showing 5 best matches)
Chapter 2. Chapter 2. Monroe and the Modern § 1983 18 results (showing 5 best matches)
- . As an alternative, one might posit a scheme in which it was necessary—before being able to invoke the federal § 1983 remedy—to exhaust or try out state remedies first. The litigant might then be allowed to return to federal trial court if meaningful relief were unavailable or inadequate under state law. Or, the plaintiff might be allowed to resort to federal trial court as an initial matter if she could show affirmatively in her individual case either that there was no judicial remedy available in the state courts (in theory or in fact) or that there was a problem of state court prejudice that could be established at the outset of litigation. This exhaustion/inadequacy of state process model was one that largely characterized the other civil rights statutes of the Reconstruction era that preceded § 1983, including pretrial habeas corpus and civil rights removal.
- Court read the less-than-clear legislative history of the statute as indicating that Congress meant to reach those who acted under the guise or pretense of lawful authority, and not just those who were acting pursuant to established law, custom, or policy. In so doing, the court reaffirmed its reading of similar color-of-law language in a criminal civil rights statute, 18 U.S.C.A. § 242, originally enacted along with § 1983. Screws v. United States, 325 U.S. 91 (1945). There, the Court upheld federal prosecutions of state and local officials who “willfully” violated others’ constitutional rights, even though the officials also happened to act contrary to state law. As a consequence of
- The question of when ostensibly private actors can engage in “state action” is a question familiar to Constitutional Law. But the topic deserves brief mention here because so many § 1983 suits implicate violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, which addresses only “state” behavior. Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883). One traditional way in which private actors can engage in state action is by acting in concert with state or local officials. Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24 (1980). Thus, if the repossession or seizure described above was carried out with the assistance or accompaniment of state officials, or by first obtaining a writ of attachment from a state court, then the state action requirement would be satisfied (as would § 1983’s color of law requirement).
- In addition to showing that a defendant acted under color of state law, a § 1983 plaintiff must also show that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution and laws. The constitutional deprivations redressable under § 1983 are potentially as broad as the Constitution itself. The statute speaks of the deprivation under color of law of “any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.” Section 1983 readily covers violations of the Reconstruction-era amendments that the statute was ostensibly designed to enforce, including the Equal Protection Clause, the Due Process Clause, and those Bill of Rights provisions that have been incorporated against state action under the Due Process Clause.
- Section 1983 enables persons whose constitutional rights have been violated to sue the wrongdoer personally for redress. In the typical case, liability will attach if (1) the defendant has acted “under color of” state law, and (2) the defendant’s action deprived the plaintiff of some right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution (or federal “laws”). That was the message of the Supreme Court’s path-breaking decision in Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167 (1961), a damages action brought to redress an unconstitutional police break-in of a private home.
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Outline 12 results (showing 5 best matches)
Table of Cases 2 results
Chapter 4. Excessive Force, Private Violence, and § 1983 15 results (showing 5 best matches)
- (d) Other Civil Rights Legislation
- In addition, there may be other federal statutes that redress some kinds of private violence apart from § 1983. Such statutes are generally beyond the scope of this work, and are treated in detail in Harold S. Lewis, Jr. & Elizabeth J. Norman, Civil Rights Law and Practice (Thomson West, 2d ed. 2004). But a few examples may serve to illustrate the difficulty of legislatively addressing private violations of the Constitution. The Violence Against Women Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C.A. § 13981, for example, makes both public and private parties liable under federal law for certain acts of gender-motivated violence perpetrated against women. But the Court has concluded that the Act cannot be upheld as a constitutional exercise of Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, or its power under § 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enforce the Equal Protection Clause, at least insofar as violence by a private actor was concerned. United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). Other civil
- In addition, under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, educational institutions funded by the federal government may be under an affirmative duty to protect students from sexually-motivated harassment whether it is inflicted by school employees or other students. But recovery is limited to situations in which responsible officials had actual knowledge of the employees’ or students’ harassment and were deliberately indifferent to it. Gebser v. Lago Vista Indep. Sch. Dist., 524 U.S. 274 (1998). This statute probably survives
- A claimed right to governmental protection from harm characterizes a host of § 1983 actions. Litigants—whether those in prison or those in “the free world”—often assert a right to be free from bodily harm, violence, and uses of excessive force at the hands of government officials and others. Of course, no specific constitutional provision identifies a generalized right to safety or to governmental protection from harm. But § 1983 will often supply a remedy for official violence—i.e., violence inflicted by governmental actors. Various provisions of the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures and the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, as well as the Due Process Clause, may offer a theory of recovery for unconstitutional official violence in different contexts. The Fourth Amendment would cover excessive force in the context of arrests, the Eighth Amendment would cover excessive force in the prison...
- . What is more, outside of a Bill of Rights violation or the violation of some other fundamental right, lies an area in which state tort law has a presumptive claim. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981);
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Chapter 5. Enforcing Rights Under Federal 24 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Section 1983 provides a remedy for violations of rights secured by the “Constitution and laws” of the United States. The Court has read this language as providing not just a means to redress state and local officials’ constitutional violations, but as providing a means to redress their violations of federal statutes as well. Moreover, the “statutory” scope of § 1983 includes (1) laws that may have little or nothing to do with traditional “civil rights” issues; (2) claims based on federal statutory pre-emption of state law; and (3) it may include a private right of action even when the underlying federal law does not itself provide for one, either expressly or impliedly. Nevertheless, a § 1983 action will be unavailable to redress violations of federal statutes by those acting under color of law unless, in the underlying federal statute, Congress has unambiguously created judicially enforceable individual rights. In addition, even if the underlying statute does create such rights, §...
- There were at least two potential objections to the Court’s ruling, and both were made in dissent. First, it was arguable that § 1983’s reference to “laws” only meant to refer to “civil rights” laws and other laws associated with the enforcement of the Reconstruction-era amendments with which § 1983 was itself historically linked. Section 1983’s own specialized jurisdictional provision, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1343(3), referred only to violations of the Constitution and of laws “providing for equal rights.” At the time of ...-in-controversy requirement for actions brought under the federal question statute, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1331, but not under § 1343(3). The Court’s interpretation led to the odd result that there were some § 1983 claims that could not be brought in a federal court but only in a state court: namely, claims like the Thiboutots’ that were for violations of non-” equal rights” statutes that could not clear the then-existing amount-in-controversy hurdle of § 1331 (and which, as...rights
- It is far more likely, however, that the additional reference to “laws” was a reference to federal statutes only. Other contemporaneously enacted statutes include the trilogy mentioned in the Supremacy Clause, including the general federal question statute enacted in 1875 (“Constitution, laws, and treaties”), the habeas corpus statute of 1867 (“constitution or laws or treaties”), and the 1867 revision of § 25 of the 1789 Judiciary Act allowing for direct review of state court decisionmaking in the Supreme Court (“Constitution, treaties, or laws”). Moreover, as noted above, there is even an argument that only civil rights statutes were being cross-referenced by the words “and laws,” although this particular argument was rejected by the Court in ...so because it saw the “plain meaning” of the statute as providing a remedy that “broadly encompasses violations of federal statutory as well as constitutional law.” The plain meaning of § 1983 should therefore exclude rights under...
- The Court concluded that what is required for a statute to create enforceable rights is no different than what would be required under the Court’s implied right of action decisions. Under those increasingly restrictive decisions, when a federal statute is silent about whether it may be privately enforced, the Court has insisted that the plaintiff show Congress’s “unambiguous” intent to confer individual rights upon a class of beneficiaries of which plaintiff is a member. It is therefore not enough that a claim falls “within the general zone of interests that the statute is intended to protect.” “Section 1983,” said the Court, “provides a remedy only for the deprivation of ‘rights,’ not ‘benefits’ or ‘interests’ ”; it provides a remedy only for “violation of rights not laws.”
- Because FERPA’s text was not “phrased in terms of the persons benefited”—with language such as: “no person shall be subjected to” violations of FERPA—it could not meet the rigorous standard imported from the Court’s implied right of action cases. Of course, for a court to find an implied right of action under a federal statute, the statute must not only manifest an intent to create private rights a private remedy. This is where implied right of action analysis and congressional displacement analysis diverge. No such additional showing of an intent to create a private remedy has to be made by the § 1983 plaintiff; for him, it is § 1983 itself that supplies the remedy—but only if the underlying statute creates enforceable rights. Note, however, that if the underlying federal statute does evince an intent to create a private remedy, that may sometimes foreclose the § 1983 remedy under the “congressional displacement” theory, discussed below.
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Chapter 17. Chapter 17. Bivens and Federal Officer Liability 17 results (showing 5 best matches)
- had available to him a substantial set of remedies under federal civil service statutes—remedies that the employee had tried out, but which offered less complete relief than a action would have. For instance, he had no jury trial right and no opportunity to recover for the loss of dignitary interests and emotional distress for which he could have recovered in a action. On the other hand, the statutory civil service regime provided, in the Court’s words, “meaningful remedies,” including back pay and reinstatement, and it effectively shifted much of the burden of proof to the government. Given the “elaborate” system of remedies and the fact that the case involved “federal personnel policy,” the Court dismissed the implied constitutional claim, even though Congress had not expressly stated that it was substituting the civil service remedy for the constitutional one, and even though the Court expressly acknowledged that the remedy was not “equally effective.”
- under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which allowed persons discriminated against on the basis of gender to sue their employers. And in 1972, the Act had been amended to include suits by federal government employees. But congressional employees were specifically excluded from coverage. Thus, there was some indication that Congress had meant to foreclose sex discrimination litigation by these employees, and some argument that special factors might counsel hesitation in creating a remedy against a Congressperson. Nevertheless, instead of reading this exclusion as indicating Congress’s intent to withhold remedies for sex discrimination from its employees, the Court read the exclusion as not implicating the availability of a constitutional remedy at all. The Court therefore strongly suggested the presumptive availability of the
- In addition, although state governors are entitled only to a qualified immunity from civil damages liability under § 1983, Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232 (1974), the President is entitled to absolute immunity from civil damages liability at least for actions taken as President and within the “outer perimeter” of his duties. Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731 (1982). The Court so concluded based in part on the “unique status” of the President under the Constitution, the concern that Presidents would be distracted from their duties with any lesser immunity, and because judicial interference at that level of the executive branch would be intolerable. Nevertheless, an immunity for unconstitutional acts performed as President did not answer the separate question whether a sitting President may be sued civilly for actions prior to taking office. Despite the predictable distraction from duties, the Court held a sitting President lacks even a “temporary” immunity from lawsuits for acts...
- The Supreme Court concluded that these allegations stated a cause of action under the Fourth Amendment. “Historically,” it stated, “damages have been regarded as the ordinary remedy for an invasion of personal interests in liberty.” Although the Fourth Amendment did not itself explicitly provide for its enforcement by a damages action, the Court concluded that when federal rights had been invaded, federal courts had the power to supply a remedy. For authority, the Court relied on its observation in Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678 (1946), that “where legal rights have been invaded, and a federal statute provides for a general right to sue for such invasion, federal courts may use any remedy available to make good the wrong done.” Of course, no federal statute provided for a “general right to sue” in Bivens’s case, except for the purely jurisdictional federal question statute, § 1331. Nevertheless, although not cited by the Court, there were also nineteenth-century antecedents to
- Federal officers are not ordinarily suable under § 1983 because they typically do not act under color of state law. But a parallel system of remedies for constitutional violations—not unlike that enforced by the courts under § 1983—applies to federal officers. The right of action is not congressionally created, however. The Supreme Court has instead fashioned an implied right of action for damages directly under the Constitution and the general federal question statute—28 U.S.C.A. § 1331—that can be brought in federal court against the wrongdoing federal officer personally.
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Chapter 8. Personal Immunities 17 results (showing 5 best matches)
- also suggested that, as a matter of sequencing (a) the question whether plaintiff’s constitutional rights were violated, and (b) the immunity question, the courts must resolve the constitutional question first. The fear, apparently, was that if the immunity question were to be resolved first, the precise scope of constitutional rights would go under-articulated by the courts, on the theory that an immunity finding would only ...523 U.S. 833 (1998). Doubts were soon raised, however, about whether a hard sequencing requirement, made sense. See Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194 (2004) (Ginsburg, J., concurring, joined by Breyer and Scalia, JJ.). It forced courts to reach out to decide perhaps difficult and complex questions of constitutional law that might easily be avoided by resorting first to the simpler question of immunity. Also, there are other ways in which constitutional rights can ordinarily be articulated than through § 1983 damages actions, including § 1983 injunctive...
- To be clearly established, a right must be sufficiently clear that every reasonable official would have understood that what he is doing violates that right…. When properly applied, [qualified immunity] protects all but the plainly
- Deciding whether the constitutional right in question was “clearly established” at the time the officer acted can be tricky business. How clear is clear enough? “This inquiry,” the Court has said, “must be undertaken in light of the specific context of the case, not as a broad general proposition[.]” . The constitutional right in question, therefore, must have been clearly established at the time in question and at an “appropriate level of specificity”: “Would it be clear to a reasonable officer that his conduct was unlawful in the situation he confronted?” Often, results will turn on the level of generality at which a court articulates the underlying constitutional right. Compare, e.g., Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194 (2004) (defining right to be free from use of excessive force in a highly contextualized manner and finding qualified immunity), with Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U.S. 551 (2004) (defining warrant-particularity requirement of Fourth Amendment at a relatively high level of...
- Even if such a plaintiff-favorable reading of the facts showed a constitutional violation, a court might still be able to conclude as a matter of law that any violation would not have involved “clearly established constitutional rights of which an objectively reasonable official would have known.” In such a case, the plaintiff’s case would be dismissed on qualified immunity grounds. See (alternative grounds). But if such a reading of the facts would show a constitutional violation, and the court also concluded that the violation would implicate clearly established constitutional rights (if eventually proved at trial on the facts alleged by plaintiff), summary judgment would also be denied to the defendant.
- Taylor v. Barkes, 135 S.Ct. 2042 (2015) [internal quotations and citations omitted] (finding right to proper implementation of adequate prisoner suicide prevention protocols was not clearly established at time of prisoner’s suicide).
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Chapter 15. Abstention and Related Doctrines 15 results (showing 5 best matches)
- ’s deference to state criminal process arguably reinforces a number of parallel doctrines. First, it reinforces the principle of exhaustion of state remedies that is required before relief may be sought on federal habeas corpus to challenge constitutional error in state court criminal proceedings. Second, it reinforces the refusal of Congress to enact any general provision for the removal of criminal cases from state court, even when they raise defenses based on federal law (unless such prosecutions are brought against federal officers). And finally, it reinforces the Supreme Court’s refusal to read the civil rights removal statute, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1443, as allowing for removal of a state criminal prosecution simply because it is premised on an unconstitutional statute. Georgia v. Rachel, 384 U.S. 780 (1966). Instead, to secure removal under this latter (and seldom used) provision, a state-court defendant must usually show that the very act of being prosecuted will itself deny the...
- into the civil arena, the Court has made it clear that the doctrine will not apply to all state court civil proceedings. The mere existence of a pending parallel (nonenforcement) state court civil proceeding, in which the constitutional issues that are the subject of a § 1983 suit can also be raised, should not be a basis for abstention under
- Although these statutes were enacted prior to the re-emergence of § 1983 and the modern civil rights era, the Supreme Court has concluded that § 1983 actions are subject to them. Moreover, more than injunctive relief is barred. In California v. Grace Brethren Church, 457 U.S. 393 (1982), for example, the Court rejected an argument that a First Amendment challenge to the taxation of church property could be maintained in federal court, even though the church brought only an action for declaratory, not injunctive relief. The Court concluded that the “enjoin, suspend, or restrain” language of § 1341 barred the exercise of federal jurisdiction over declaratory as well as injunctive actions. By contrast, the Court has concluded that a taxpayers’ suit to enjoin a tax credit for parents who sent their children to religious schools could proceed in federal court, § 1341 notwithstanding. Because the requested relief was to end a tax credit, it was not a suit to “enjoin, suspend or restrain”...
- ’S APPLICATION TO CIVIL ACTIONS
- (a) Government-Initiated Civil Enforcement Proceedings
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Chapter 7. State Sovereign Immunity 7 results (showing 5 best matches)
- The Court has distinguished, however, Congress’s power to abrogate state sovereign immunity when acting pursuant to its (post-Eleventh Amendment) powers conferred in the Reconstruction-era amendments, as when it lifted state immunity in employment discrimination actions brought under the 1972 amendments to Title VII of the Civil Right Act of 1964. Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, 427 U.S. 445 (1976). In that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act abrogates state sovereign immunity to the extent that it creates a private right of action against states for conduct that actually violates the Fourteenth Amendment); Nevada Dept. of Human Res. v. Hibbs, 538 U.S. 721 (2003) (upholding abrogation of state immunity under Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 as appropriate legislation to remedy gender discrimination in workplace). Somewhat harder to square with
- Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332 (1979). But it did find a sovereign immunity problem when a similar order was not part of an injunction issued by a federal court to redress a continuing violation of federal law. Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64 (1985). The Court has also upheld awards of attorney’s fees against states under the 1976 Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act as ancillary relief when state officials have been sued successfully for injunctive relief. Missouri v. Jenkins, 491 U.S. 274 (1989); Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678 (1978). Of course, such an award is not ancillary in the sense of being a cost routinely paid in litigation by losing parties who have litigated in good faith; nor is the award like the inevitable expense of having to comply with an order of injunctive relief. But the Court apparently considers the “ancillary” label as necessary if fees are to be awarded against the state, given the fee statute’s insufficiently clear abrogation of state sovereign immunity.
- whether Congress could compel payment of fees from the state in § 1983 actions that seek to enforce rights under federal statutes enacted only pursuant to Congress’s Article I powers (e.g., suits to enforce welfare rights against state officials). But right or wrong, the Court has made clear that attorney fees against the state are justified as “ancillary” to an award of injunctive relief against its officials, and, like other “costs” of litigation (as uniquely defined by the 1976 Act), their payment by the state has been held not to implicate sovereign immunity at all. is right, and assuming the underlying award of injunctive relief against a state official is not in question, then the award of fees against the state will not be in question either, no matter what the underlying basis for the § 1983 claim.
- decision is that the Court implicitly concluded that a state was entitled to the heightened “notice” associated with an injunction against its officials before it could be held financially accountable to private parties for violating their rights under federal law or the Constitution, at least absent any clearer notice of abrogation of immunity than is supplied by the language of § 1983. And
- effectively involved an implied right of action for equitable relief, directly under the Constitution.
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Chapter 3.Chapter 3. Parratt and the Scope of Due Process 21 results (showing 5 best matches)
- In addition, some Fourteenth Amendment violations involve so-called “substantive due process” guarantees, such as the fundamental right to marry and certain rights respecting reproductive freedom. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). Deprivations of these rights can typically be redressed in a federal court § 1983 action just as can Bill of Rights guarantees. The existence of state remedial procedures that the plaintiff might initiate is irrelevant in these cases as well, because these rights represent areas in which the state is disabled from acting, “regardless of the fairness of … procedures” by which it acts.
- Things become problematic when the liberty or property interests protected by the Due Process Clause that the plaintiff seeks to vindicate do not involve deprivation of an underlying fundamental right such as a Bill of Rights protection or a substantive due process right, but merely involve deprivation by a state or local actor of an otherwise non-fundamental, typically state-created right (such as an interest in property or contract). With respect to such non-fundamental rights, the Court has suggested that the Constitution may provide protection from governmental deprivation, but that the protection afforded by the Due Process Clause is generally procedural. Thus, when the deprivation of a common-law or state-created right is at issue, the Due Process Clause may require the state to provide some meaningful pre- or post-deprivation process in
- Many deprivations of liberty or property can be squeezed into the mold of a Bill of Rights deprivation, and thus be remediable in the federal courts in the first instance under § 1983. The Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures protects against many kinds of governmental invasions of person and property. For example, the Court has held that the use of deadly force to arrest implicates the Fourth Amendment, and may therefore be challenged without having to exhaust state civil remedies. Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985). In Soldal v. Cook County, 506 U.S. 56 (1992), the Court held that the (random and unauthorized) taking away of a mobile home by the police implicated not just due process issues, but an issue of unlawful seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Hence, a § 1983 action could proceed immediately in federal court without the plaintiff’s having to resort to post-deprivation state remedies. In short, the § 1983 plaintiff in
- By way of additional illustration, § 1983 has provided a remedy for violations of First Amendment rights respecting speech and religion. Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claims and other prisoner-rights actions have also been brought under § 1983. And, in the wake of McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010), § 1983 should also be available to redress deprivations of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. In addition, as noted in Chapter 2, violations of other constitutional provisions, including the Equal Protection Clause, the Commerce Clause, and Article IV’s Privileges and Immunities Clause, may all be redressed under § 1983. In sum, complaints alleging violations of the Bill of Rights and most other (non-due process) provisions of the Constitution are immediately actionable in a § 1983 suit, without regard to state remedies.
- is inapplicable to claims implicating freedoms in the Bill of Rights as incorporated through the Fourteenth Amendment, and it is inapplicable to other fundamental rights covered by the rubric of “substantive” due process, such as rights relating to reproductive freedom. Deprivations of such rights remain actionable in the first instance in a federal court under § 1983. But state deprivations of even non-fundamental (i.e., state-created) liberty (as well as property) interests may require some kind of state-provided remedial process, whether it is pre-or post-deprivation. And if a litigant claims that the Constitution requires pre-deprivation process that the state did not provide, then that question, too, may be heard in the first instance in a federal court § 1983 action.
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Chapter 18. Jurisdiction and Procedure 21 results (showing 5 best matches)
- But the Supreme Court has upheld, for example, the right of a doctor to assert the constitutional rights of his patient to obtain an abortion, at least when some direct interest of the doctor was implicated—e.g., the possibility of criminal penalties for performing an abortion. Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973). And a seller of beer was allowed to assert the Equal Protection rights of male customers to challenge a state’s drinking-age statute that allowed women but not men to drink at age 18. Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976). Similarly, the Court has upheld the right of a white seller of property to assert the rights of a black purchaser to invalidate a racially restrictive covenant. Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249 (1953). These examples arguably suggest the existence of constitutional rights in these plaintiffs themselves to be free from the challenged regulation. But the Court’s decisions still enable these parties to make a broader challenge than their own injuries might...
- of a federal welfare statute—a non-equal-rights statute. Maine v. Thiboutot, 448 U.S. 1 (1980). Section 1343(3), however, would not support federal jurisdiction, because it was and is limited to violations of “equal rights” statutes (in addition to covering all constitutional violations). And, once upon a time, § 1331 was unavailable if the claim fell below the then-requisite amount in controversy. Somewhat dubiously, therefore, the Court in concluded that there were some § 1983 claims—those for violations of non-equal-rights statutes—that, at the time, could only be brought in state court but not federal court.
- Securing standing is more difficult, however, if the party seeking to assert the rights of others is an individual. As a prudential matter, third-party standing is ordinarily not allowed; parties must instead assert their own rights. This helps to assure adversarial presentation by finding the preferred plaintiff. Kowalski v. Tesmer, 543 U.S. 125 (2004). In standing to attorneys who brought a constitutional challenge to a state law that denied indigent criminal defendants (who had pled guilty or nolo contendere) an automatic right to state-provided counsel on appeal. The Court found that the relationship between the lawyers and their hypothetical clients was insufficiently close, and that there was little hindrance to the assertion of the constitutional claim by defendants in their ongoing criminal cases.
- That these ordinary burdens of production and proof applicable elsewhere in civil litigation are equally applicable to constitutional tort litigation is borne out by
- Suits under § 1983 arise under federal law. Plaintiffs may therefore bring them in federal court under the general federal question statute, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1331, without regard to the amount in controversy. Section 1983 also has its own specialized jurisdictional provision, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1343(3). Section 1343(3) allows for federal court jurisdiction over any claim alleging a deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution, and for violations (by state and local actors) of federal statutes, but only if the statute is one providing for “equal rights.” The federal question statute (§ 1331) ...and would therefore encompass any suit that fits within the contours of § 1983: all constitutional violations and violations of federal statutes, whether or not they relate to equal rights. Thus, there is no § 1983 case in which it is necessary to invoke § 1343(3), although litigants tend to invoke it when they can, along with § 1331, more out of habit than anything else. Neither statute now has...
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Chapter 9. Damages and § 1983 14 results (showing 5 best matches)
- If § 1983 plaintiffs must put on proof of “actual injury” in addition to showing that their constitutional rights have been violated, then it would seem difficult to compensate (other than nominally) for the supposed “inherent” value of lost constitutional rights. That suggestion was borne out in Memphis Community School Dist. v. Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986). A school teacher who had been dismissed in violation of his free speech rights sought reinstatement and compensatory damages, including damages for mental anguish and lost wages. He also sought and obtained an instruction from the trial court allowing the jury to assess damages based on the inherent value of the rights in question because, as the trial court instructed the jury, “damages for this type of injury are more difficult to measure than damages for a physical injury or damages to one’s property.” The trial court instructed the jurors that “[t]he precise value you place upon any constitutional right which you find was...
- The Court has stated that the “basic purpose” of the § 1983 action for damages “is to compensate persons for injuries that are caused by the deprivation of constitutional rights.” Carey v. Piphus, 435 U.S. 247 (1978). Damages awards also serve to vindicate the underlying constitutional rights, and to deter future illegality (while personal immunity doctrines, by contrast, help to prevent overdeterrence). Injunctive relief, along with fee-shifting, can of course secure rights-vindication and deterrence in many cases, but injunctive relief is generally available only when behavior is ongoing and systematic.
- barred such an instruction and held that the abstract value of a constitutional right could not form the basis for a § 1983 damages award. The fact that involved a deprivation of a “substantive” constitutional right did not matter. The Court purported to distinguish some prior precedents in the area of voting rights denials in which it had upheld “presumed damages” without any particular proof of injury. The Court stated that presumed damages were a rough substitute for (and given the ready availability of proof of plaintiff’s injuries. And the effort to award damages based on the abstract importance of a right was not related to compensation for injury, as were presumed damages. Presumed damages, therefore, may only be available in the unusual case in which the constitutional harm is so intangible as to defy proof of quantification.
- Section 1983 speaks of actions “at law” or suits “in equity” to redress the deprivation of constitutional rights. Accordingly, it is possible to recover the traditional range of compensatory damages from an official for the harm that he inflicts because of his constitutional violations, subject to any personal immunities of the officer. And such damages will be available against a local government when its officer has carried out official policy. States themselves, however, are exempt from such awards, largely because of sovereign immunity. In order to recover more than nominal damages from a § 1983 defendant, however, the victim of unconstitutional injury must put on proof of actual injury. In this regard, the Supreme Court has also stated that there should be no recovery beyond proved injury to reflect the “inherent” value of lost constitutional rights. Finally, punitive damages are available against individual officers, but not local governments, and only when there has been “...
- 2. DAMAGES AND THE “INHERENT” VALUE OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
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Chapter 13. Section 1983 in the State Courts 12 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Court held that—as applied to a prisoner’s federal civil rights claim filed in a state trial court against a prison guard—the statute violated the Supremacy Clause.
- The Court has concluded that attorney’s fees are available in state court under the 1976 Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1988(b), even when the state courts would not otherwise recognize fee shifting. Maine v. Thiboutot, 448 U.S. 1 (1980). Conversely, were a state to implement its
- Over time, in response to the more general question, the Court has been inclined to allow state procedural rules to operate unless they discriminate against or unduly burden the enforcement of federal rights or unless alternative federal procedures were expressly or implicitly made “part and parcel” of the underlying federal right. Arguably, somewhat less deference to state procedures seems to have developed in the particular context of state court litigation of § 1983 cases.
- ). Second, the Supremacy Clause controls questions surrounding the interpretation of § 1983, such as who is a suable “person.” Third, the Supremacy Clause controls substantive questions surrounding the interpretation of the underlying constitutional (or statutory) right that a litigant is seeking to enforce through the vehicle of § 1983, such as whether the free speech rights of the plaintiff were violated.
- Court suggested that one of the rights that § 1983 protected was immediate access to a judicial forum, whether it was state or federal, free from any exhaustion requirement. If that indeed is part and parcel of what § 1983 protects, then Wisconsin’s notice-of-claim requirement clearly imposed an undue burden on the exercise of that right.
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Chapter 14. Preclusion and § 1983 8 results (showing 5 best matches)
- in which the would-be § 1983 plaintiff also wished to pursue an employment discrimination claim under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In contrast to § 1983, Title VII actually
- The Supreme Court agreed. Although it did not believe that the preclusive effects of the administrative decision were governed by § 1738, the Court concluded that if factual findings made in a state administrative proceeding (which, the Court found, was judicial in nature) would be given preclusive effect in a later state court civil action, they should be given preclusive effect in a later-adjudicated § 1983 action as well.
- is a relatively limited doctrine, largely confined to cases in which the loser in state court civil litigation seeks to complain in a lower federal court about some injury arising from the state court judgment.
- McDonald v. City of West Branch, 466 U.S. 284 (1984). But it may be possible for certain would-be § 1983 plaintiffs contractually to agree to arbitration whose outcome might thereafter be enforceable to the exclusion of a civil action under § 1983.
- The Supreme Court, in a case presenting similar facts as this hypothetical example, concluded that a federal court would have to deny a § 1983 plaintiff the opportunity to relitigate the issue of the legality of the search if a state court would also deny him the opportunity. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90 (1980). Under the full faith and credit statute, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1738, federal courts are required to give a jurisdictionally valid state court judgment whatever preclusive effect a state court would give it. Many states following modern rules of preclusion would give a litigant who has had a full and fair opportunity to litigate a particular issue, which actually was litigated, and which was necessary to the earlier decision, no more than one round at litigating the issue. This could be true even though the party seeking to invoke preclusion in the later civil action is not precisely the same party against whom the § 1983 plaintiff was litigating in the criminal proceeding.
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Chapter 10. Injunctions and Declaratory Relief 10 results (showing 5 best matches)
- Injunctive remedies are a familiar component of equity jurisdiction and are available in § 1983 actions in the proper case. Even though equitable remedies are traditionally said to be more extraordinary than legal remedies such as damages, this familiar hierarchy is sometimes turned upside down in the context of constitutional and civil rights litigation. For example, “negative” injunctions to halt or prevent a state or local official from enforcing an unconstitutional law are commonplace, and have been a fixture of the federal courts at least since Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), if not before. See Osborn v. Bank of the United States, 22 U.S. 738 (1824). And even more complex, “affirmative” or “structural” injunctive relief, such as that involved in school desegregation and other institutional reform litigation, has become a staple of the federal courts in the last sixty years. Brown v. Board of Ed., 347 U.S. 483 (1954). Many of these injunctive decrees have been entered with...
- Another traditional requirement of equity—that the party seeking equity show irreparable harm—also often goes unmentioned in cases in which the § 1983 plaintiff can show that constitutional rights will be lost absent prospective injunctive relief. That is, demonstrating the impending loss of constitutional rights, rather than some (possibly additional) showing of irreparable harm to economic or other interests, is itself frequently enough to satisfy this requirement, especially when non-economic behavior is at issue. For example, the irreparable harm faced by protesters who are barred by an unconstitutional ordinance from parading is probably the irretrievable loss of free speech rights. In this respect, the “inherent” value of such rights is vindicated by way of an injunction, without actual proof of economic loss. Compare Memphis Community Sch. Dist. v. Stachura, 477 U.S. 299 (1986), discussed above in Chapter 9.
- Under Rules 69 and 70 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, federal court damages judgments are enforceable in the same manner that they would be under state law. In the case of individual officer liability, a federal court § 1983 damages judgment can be enforced in the same manner as it could be against an individual judgment debtor, including the garnishment of wages or the attachment of the judgment debtor’s property if payment of the judgment is resisted. But a damages judgment cannot be enforced against the government for which the officer works if relief has been sought against the official in his personal capacity only.
- When the council took the position that it would not pass the requisite legislation, the court held the city and the council members in civil contempt. The city was fined $100 for the first day of noncompliance, with the fine to double, daily. (By the twenty-fifth day, the fine would exceed $1 billion, and it would continue to double, daily.) The individual council members were each to be fined $500 per day until they complied. The Court of Appeals affirmed, although it capped the city’s daily fine at $1 million per day.
- Nonetheless, courts sometimes still engage in more traditional analysis and focus on irreversible financial loss associated with the loss of constitutional rights before granting relief. For example, in Hughes v. Cristofane, 486 F.Supp. 541 (D.Md.1980), the court focused on the financial ruin faced by the owner of a topless bar who claimed a city ordinance violated his rights to free expression under the First Amendment. Traditionally, equity focused on irreparable harm to property, not liberty, and this may explain why some courts still focus on such concerns. Section 1983, of course, now protects against deprivations involving either property or liberty, Lynch v. Household Finance Corp., 405 U.S. 538 (1972), although that was not always true. Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496 (1939) (Opinion of Stone, J.) (suggesting that § 1983 protects “liberty” not “property”).
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Chapter 6. Municipal Liability 10 results (showing 5 best matches)
- was the plurality’s conclusion that state law determined who was and who was not a policymaker. And under state law, perhaps only the Mayor and Aldermen of the city, or the city’s Civil Service Commission had responsibilities to formulate employment policy. The fact that the power to hire, fire, and transfer employees had been delegated to subordinate officials did not convert the latter into policymakers, even when review of their decisions by the Commission was cursory at best. Finally, as the entire Court later made clear, the task of identifying policymakers is a question of law for the district court to decide—not the jury—and a variety of materials may be relevant to that determination, including evidence of de jure as well as de facto policy.
- The Supreme Court has concluded that a failure to train employees can provide a basis for municipal liability “only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the [officials] come in contact.” City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378 (1989). “Deliberate indifference,” moreover, is to be judged by a largely “objective” standard under
- that the “mere right to control, without control or direction having been exercised and without any failure to supervise” would not give rise to supervisory liability under § 1983. In addition, after , it is difficult to imagine that such supervisory liability would attach, absent either direct participation by the supervisor in the subordinate’s wrong, or behavior on the part of the supervisor himself—through action or inaction—that was “deliberately indifferent” to constitutional rights as called for by
- liability. It focused on the part of § 1983 which speaks of the liability of “persons who … shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any person” to a deprivation of her constitutional rights. The Court saw this language of causation as prohibiting any theory of vicarious liability of a city for the unconstitutional acts of its agents. It is arguable, of
- Of course, showings of fewer incidents of unconstitutional action may suffice for other theories of municipal liability, such as deliberate “failure to train.” Below at § C. But some courts seem willing to equate a pattern of similar acts of officers with a “custom,” even if those acts, although frequent, clearly amount to something less than standard operating procedure. E.g., Ware v. Jackson County, 150 F.3d 873 (8th Cir.1998) (finding “custom” of unconstitutional behavior arising from several incidents of sexual misconduct of certain police officers over multiple year period). It is questionable whether these courts have it right, at least with respect to the issue of custom. But because failure-to-train cases can be made out on a lesser showing of pattern and practice, that is the avenue that most plaintiffs have pursued.
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Chapter 16. Habeas Corpus and Prisoner Litigation 6 results (showing 5 best matches)
- A prisoner who wishes to appeal from the denial of a first habeas petition must secure from the district court a certificate of appealability (COA) demonstrating “a substantial showing of a denial of a constitutional right.” 28 U.S.C.A. § 2253(c)(2). The Court has held that this standard is met if “reasonable jurists could debate whether … the petition should have been resolved” differently. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473 (2000).
- Since 1867, state prisoners have been able to challenge in federal court the legality of their custody when it is alleged to be in violation of federal law. Although there is considerable doubt whether the 1867 habeas statute was originally designed or employed to permit challenges to jurisdictionally valid albeit erroneous judgments of conviction, the modern judicial history of habeas has allowed for just such a remedy. At least since Brown v. Allen, 344 U.S. 443 (1953), federal courts have had some ability to reconsider a broad range of federal constitutional issues at the behest of state prisoners, free of the ordinary constraints of preclusion, and to order a new trial or release from custody where rights have been violated. The modern descendant of the 1867 habeas statute is now codified at 28 U.S.C.A. § 2241 and § 2254 et seq.
- Under the AEDPA, special provisions can apply in capital sentence cases when states have made competent counsel available for state post-conviction proceedings. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2261. Under these provisions, defaulted claims in death penalty cases may be raised only when the default was caused by unconstitutional state action, or was the result of the Supreme Court’s recognizing a “new Federal right” that can be retroactively applied to the applicant, or when the factual basis for the claim could not have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence within the time-frame for collateral review. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2264(a)(1)–(3). In short, the new statute seems to slightly re-work the
- was a prisoner who sought damages for the loss of constitutional rights associated with his criminal prosecution. After being convicted, he filed a § 1983 suit in which he alleged that state officials had engaged in unlawful acts—including destruction of evidence—that led to his conviction. Although the PLRA had not then been enacted, the claim would not have been subject to its exhaustion requirement because it was not a suit about prison conditions. And the damages relief being sought was unavailable in habeas. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court concluded that the claim could not be brought as a § 1983 action unless the underlying judgment was first voided in the state courts, expunged by executive order, or
- did not bar a § 1983 suit to compel DNA testing of evidence used at convicted prisoner’s trial as a matter of procedural due process, but also concluding that there was no substantive due process right to such testing).
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- Publication Date: December 1st, 2015
- ISBN: 9781634592307
- Subject: Civil Rights
- Series: Nutshells
- Type: Overviews
- Description: Coverage includes the statute's modern revival in Monroe v. Pape, municipal liability, individual officer and sovereign immunity, excessive force litigation, choice of law, state and federal court jurisdiction, remedies, and attorney's fees. There are also chapters on federal officer liability and the relationship between habeas corpus and section 1983. A helpful tool for practitioners, students, judges, and their clerks, or anyone wishing to get up to speed on this complex, ever-changing topic.