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Civil Rights — deprivation of access to courts

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Civil Rights — deprivation of access to courts

A Section 1983 action for deprivation of access to the courts is barred where a favorable judgment would necessarily call into question the validity of the underlying conviction or sentence, and the plaintiff could have pursued collateral relief but failed to do so in a timely manner.

“The approach of Nance and Hoard establish the path that we must follow today. Because the underlying claim for which Mr. Burd sought access to the prison law library was the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea, he cannot demonstrate the requisite injury without demonstrating that there is merit to his claim that he should have been able to withdraw the plea. Such a showing necessarily would implicate the validity of the judgment of conviction that he incurred on account of that guilty plea. The rule in Heck forbids the maintenance of such a damages action until the plaintiff can demonstrate his injury by establishing the invalidity of the underlying judgment. Accordingly, we conclude that Mr. Burd has not established a basis for recovering any type of damage relief under § 1983.”


12-1337 Burd v. Sessler

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Chang, J., Ripple, J.

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