The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge
This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 101) of Magistrate Judge Philip M. Frazier recommending that the Court grant the motion for summary judgment filed by defendants Angela D. Chaney, Julie Davinroy, Dale Engelman and Pat Quinn (Doc. 79) and deny the motion for summary judgment filed by plaintiff Willie B. Hadley (Doc. 90). Hadley has objected to the Report (Doc. 104).
The Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a report and recommendation. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are made. Id. "If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error." Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).
In the Report, Magistrate Judge Frazier finds that, under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain Hadley's due process challenge to his 1976 conviction for first degree murder. See Rooker v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923);
District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983). Magistrate Judge Frazier further finds that, with respect to Hadley's claim that his parole had already expired when he was taken into custody for a parole revocation on December 30, 2009, no party has established that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the merits. Nevertheless, Magistrate Judge Frazier finds that Chaney, Davinroy and Engelman are entitled to qualified immunity because it was not clearly established in 2009 that it was unconstitutional to take an individual into custody for a parole revocation within the parole term ordered when he was originally released from prison and within the maximum term of his sentence. As for Hadley's claim that Quinn is liable because he failed to arrange for Hadley's release after Hadley notified him in February 2010 of the wrongful revocation, Magistrate Judge Frazier finds that Quinn did not cause any constitutional violation and had no duty to rescue Hadley from the constitutional violations of others.
In his objection, Hadley disagrees that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine applies. He cites Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1 (1998), and DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607 (7th Cir. 2000), in support of his right to bring this § 1983 suit when habeas relief is no longer available to him because he has been released from custody. He also believes qualified immunity does not apply to the challenge to his conviction or to his parole revocation.
The Court reviews the parts of the Report to which Hadley objects de novo and the remaining parts for clear error.
A. Challenge to Conviction
The Court first examines the Report's conclusion that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevents the Court from exercising jurisdiction over Hadley's challenge to his conviction.
Because Hadley seeks a civil judgment that would call into question his criminal conviction, the Court first considers Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), whichheld that a convicted criminal cannot bring a § 1983 civil suit for damages questioning the validity of his conviction until the conviction is overturned. Id. at 486-87; DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 614-15 (7th Cir. 2000). It is clear that if Hadley were to succeed in proving his plea was obtained in violation of his constitutional rights, it would call into question the validity of his conviction. That conviction has not been overturned, so it is appears that Heck would bar Hadley's claim.
However, there is probably an exception to the Heck bar for litigants for whom habeas corpus relief is unavailable, for example, because they are not "in custody." See Spencer v. Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 21 (1998) (Souter, J., concurring) ("a former prisoner, no longer 'in custody,' may bring a § 1983 action establishing the unconstitutionality of a conviction or confinement without being bound to satisfy a favorable-termination requirement that it would be impossible as a matter of law for him to satisfy"); id. at 25 n. 8 (Stevens, J., dissenting) ("Given the Court's holding that petitioner does not have a remedy under the habeas statute, it is perfectly clear . . . that he may bring an action under § 1983."). Only those "in custody" may file habeas actions. Thus, because Hadley is no longer "in custody" and can no longer seek ...