Durate v. Stockton

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 02-16-2023
  • Case #: 21-16929
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Cardone, D.J. before; Rawlinson, C.J.; and Hurwitz, C.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Excessive force claims under § 1983 require an actual judgement of conviction, not its functional equivalent, to be barred by Heck v. Humphrey.

Duarte appeals from the dismissal of his false arrest and municipal liability claims, as well as the adverse grant of summary judgment on his excessive force claim filed in a Civil Rights claim against Stockton police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under Heck, § 1983 claims must be dismissed if they would “necessarily require the plaintiff to prove the unlawfulness of his conviction.” Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 486 (1994). The court found Heck does not apply when criminal charges were dismissed after entry of a plea that was held in abeyance pending the defendant’s compliance and there is precedent that California municipalities and police departments are “persons” under § 1983. The court reasoned that Heck requires an actual judgement of conviction. Heck requires a challenge that would impugn a conviction or a sentence. The purpose of § 1983 is for convictions to be challenged by appeal or habeas and not  § 1983. Because Appellee plea was held in abeyance, there was no conviction which would cause Heck to bar Appellee’s claims. REVERSED AND REMANDED.

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