remedies before this court can entertain plaintiff's cause of action.
If a remedy under the Civil Rights Act is available, plaintiff need not first seek redress in a state forum. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 477, 93 S. Ct. 1827, 1830, 36 L. Ed. 2d 439 (1973) citing Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 183, 81 S. Ct. 473, 482, 5 L. Ed. 2d 492 (1961). If, on the other hand, habeas corpus is the exclusive federal remedy, a plaintiff cannot seek intervention of the federal court until he has exhausted his state remedies. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. at 477, 93 S. Ct. at 1830. Congress has determined that habeas corpus is the exclusive federal remedy for state prisoners who attack the validity of fact or length of confinement, and that the specific provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 2254 must override the general terms of § 1983. Id. at 489-90, 93 S. Ct. at 1836. If a state prisoner is seeking damages, he is generally attacking something other than the fact or duration of his confinement, and a state prisoner can bring an action for damages under the Civil Rights Act in federal court without any requirement of prior exhaustion of state remedies. Id. at 494, 93 S. Ct. at 1838.
In Preiser, the plaintiff did not seek damages but only equitable relief -- restoration of good time credits. Since a determination of whether plaintiff's credits would be restored affected the length of his confinement, the United States Supreme Court held that Preiser's § 1983 complaint was to be construed as a petition for habeas corpus. Preiser's complaint was dismissed because his state court remedies had not been exhausted. The United States Supreme Court limited its holding in Preiser to a situation where a state prisoner brings a civil rights action claiming only equitable relief, not damages. Preiser at 1838.
The instant case is quite unlike the facts in Preiser because, here, although plaintiff's complaint is similarly silent on the issue of release, plaintiff's § 1983 action seeks monetary damages as well as other relief as law and justice may require. Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court has not specifically addressed the issue whether the determination of a state prisoner's claim for damages under § 1983 could implicate a determination of the validity of plaintiff's conviction on appeal in the state courts. Defendants claim that the core of plaintiff's § 1983 claim for damages concerns the fact of his confinement.
While the United States Supreme Court has yet to rule in this specific area, the Seventh Circuit has addressed this issue in two relatively recent cases. In Crump v. Lane, 807 F.2d 1394, 1401 (7th Cir. 1986), the court held that where a determination of a state prisoner's federal cause of action would be tantamount to a decision that the plaintiff is illegally confined in violation of the United States Constitution, the plaintiff must first exhaust state remedies before he can properly maintain a § 1983 action for damages arising out of his allegedly illegal confinement. In Hanson v. Heckel, 791 F.2d 93 (7th Cir. 1986), plaintiff's § 1983 action, which sought only money damages and declaratory relief, was properly dismissed because the core of plaintiff's action directly drew into question the validity of the fact or length of his confinement. Hanson involved a state prisoner's § 1983 action for damages and restoration of good time credit. Although arguably the facts in Hanson more clearly evidence a claim for a speedier release than the facts in the instant case, the Seventh Circuit specifically stated that the decision in Hanson is compatible with other circuits which have addressed the issue involving different sets of circumstances. Hanson, 791 F.2d at 96-97. The Seventh Circuit notes that its decision is compatible with that of the Tenth Circuit in Parkhurst v. State of Wyoming, 641 F.2d 775 (10th Cir. 1981) (per curiam).
In Parkhurst, a state prisoner sought money damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, while a state criminal appeal was pending regarding the constitutionality of his conviction due to an allegedly illegal search and arrest, and for false imprisonment. The Tenth Circuit held that if the district court ruled on plaintiff's § 1983 claim, it would call into question the validity of the state conviction presently before the state supreme court. "This would frustrate the spirit, if not the letter of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91 S. Ct. 746, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669 (1971) which bars federal court interference with ongoing state criminal proceedings." Parkhurst, 641 F.2d at 777 (citations omitted). The Tenth Circuit noted that as a matter of comity, the district court correctly refused to consider plaintiff's claim for money damages during the pendency of his direct criminal appeal. Parkhurst, 641 F.2d at 777.
In the present case, in order for plaintiff to prevail in his civil rights claim for damages, plaintiff must show that the injury he suffers is a proximate result of defendants' obtaining an illegal statement which was used against him at trial. If plaintiff is able to show in a civil § 1983 trial that these facts are true, plaintiff's conviction and subsequent incarceration would, ipso facto, be unconstitutional. Thus, if this court decided in favor of the plaintiff in the § 1983 case, it would be tantamount to a decision that plaintiff is being illegally confined in violation of the United States Constitution. See Hanson, 791 F.2d at 96; Crump, 807 F.2d at 1401.
For these reasons, this Court believes that plaintiff's § 1983 claim would call into question the validity of plaintiff's state court conviction presently before the Illinois Appellate Court. The Court finds the Seventh Circuit's opinion in Hanson and Crump controlling to the extent that, as a matter of comity, plaintiff's claim for damages must be dismissed during the pendency of plaintiff's direct criminal appeal in the state court. The Court notes that the United States Supreme Court decision in Preiser does not necessarily dictate such a result. However, the Court also believes that the instant decision does not contravene the holding in Preiser.
Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, this Court grants defendants' motion to dismiss this action. Such dismissal is granted without prejudice.
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