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HUFF v. DEERHAKE
August 2, 2005.
DEWEY HUFF, Plaintiff,
JOYCE DEERHAKE and EDWIN R. BOWEN, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID HERNDON, District Judge
Plaintiff, currently an inmate in the Vienna Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered
his initial partial filing fee as ordered. This case is now
before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening. The court shall review, before
docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. On review, the court
shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319
, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the
complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise
its authority under § 1915A; this action is legally frivolous and
thus subject to summary dismissal.
In this action, Plaintiff seeks $33,000 in damages from
Defendants for their failure to release him in a timely manner
upon completion of his sentence stemming from two separate
convictions in Peoria County, Illinois. Specifically, he alleges
that Judge Black, of the Tenth Judicial Circuit for the State of
Illinois, ordered that Plaintiff receive 330 days credit against
his sentence for time Plaintiff spent in county jail. He further
alleges that Defendants failed to honor this order, thus holding
him in custody longer than was just.
[W]hen a state prisoner seeks damages in a § 1983
suit, the district court must consider whether a
judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily
imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence;
if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless
the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or
sentence has already been invalidated. But if the
district court determines that the plaintiff's
action, even if successful, will not demonstrate the
invalidity of any outstanding criminal judgment
against the plaintiff, the action should be allowed
to proceed, in the absence of some other bar to the
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487-88 (1994). See also
Clemente v. Allen, 120 F.3d 703, 705 (7th Cir. 1997)
(Bivens suit seeking damages for alleged miscalculation of
federal prisoner's sentence barred by Heck); Rooding v.
Peters, 92 F.3d 578, 580-81 (7th Cir. 1996) (suit for
damages under § 1983 for miscalculation of sentence credits did
not accrue until plaintiff prevailed in state mandamus action);
Miller v. Indiana Dep't of Corr., 75 F.3d 330, 331 (7th
Cir. 1996) (Heck precluded suit for damages under § 1983 for
alleged denial of due process in determination of sentence credit
There are voluminous exhibits attached to the complaint,
including several sentence calculation worksheets and copies of
court orders. However, Plaintiff does not allege that any state
court has ever found that his sentence was miscalculated, and
there are no exhibits which indicate that Plaintiff has prevailed in a state mandamus action regarding
the length of his sentence. Therefore, until he has successfully
challenged his sentence calculation in state court, he is barred
from seeking vindication in this suit for damages. Miller,
75 F.3d at 331.
In summary, Plaintiff's complaint does not survive review under
§ 1915A, and this action is DISMISSED without prejudice to
Plaintiff seeking relief after he has successfully challenged his
sentence calculation in state court. The Clerk shall CLOSE THIS
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