United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
STACY GARR (TDCJ No. 2162206), Plaintiff,
CAPTAIN GRAY, ET AL., Defendants.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
L. HORAN, JUDGE
Stacy Garr, a Texas prisoner, has filed a pro se
civil rights action claiming that he was denied due process
in state parole proceedings and requesting monetary damages
and reinstatement of his parole status or release on parole.
See Dkt. Nos. 3 & 4. His action has been
referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge
for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. Â§ 636(b) and a
standing order of reference from Senior United States
District Judge A. Joe Fish.
Court has granted Garr leave to proceed in forma
pauperis under the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
undersigned enters these findings of fact, conclusions of
law, and recommendation that the Court should dismiss this
action “with prejudice to [the claims raised in the
complaint] being asserted again until the Heck [v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)] conditions are
met.” Johnson v. McElveen, 101 F.3d 423, 424
(5th Cir. 1996) (per curiam).
Background, Legal Standards, and Analysis
serving a four-year sentence following his conviction for
possession of a controlled substance in Nacogdoches County,
Texas, appears to claim that a major disciplinary proceeding
that occurred at a state prison in the Dallas Division of
this district, which resulted in a reduction of his good-time
credits, but which was overturned on appeal, nevertheless
negatively affected his parole status and caused the parole
board to deny him release on parole. See Dkt. Nos. 3
requests for monetary damages and for injunctive relief -
that the Court effectively overrule the parole board
decision, which thus takes the form of habeas relief -
“cannot be obtained in the same suit.” Reed
v. Thaler, No. 2:11-cv-93, 2011 WL 3924171, at *2 (N.D.
Tex. Aug. 15, 2011) (explaining that a prisoner who
“seeks both monetary damages, which are primarily
available in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, and release [from incarceration], which is
available in a habeas corpus action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254, ” seeks “two forms of relief that
cannot be obtained in the same suit”), rec.
adopted, 2011 WL 3927746 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 7, 2011). And,
where a prisoner brings both “habeas and § 1983
claims, ” the district court is “required”
to “‘separate the claims and decide the §
1983 claims.'” Patton v. Jefferson Corr.
Ctr., 136 F.3d 458, 463-64 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting
Orellana v. Kyle, 65 F.3d 29, 31 (5th Cir. 1995)
(per curiam); citations omitted); accord Brown v.
Megg, 857 F.3d 287, 291 (5th Cir. 2017) (“[W]hen a
single complaint includes both habeas claims and civil rights
claims, the district court should separate the claims and
decide the section 1983 claims.” (citing
Pattron, 136 F.3d at 464)).
Court may not consider Garr's civil rights claims at this
time, as those claims are based on “factual allegations
[that] are necessarily inconsistent with the validity of [a]
conviction” that Garr fails to show has been reversed
on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, or otherwise
declared invalid by a state tribunal or federal court should
be dismissed as frivolous. McCann v. Neilsen, 466
F.3d 619, 621 (7th Cir. 2006) (cited in Bush v.
Strain, 513 F.3d 492, 498 n.14 (5th Cir. 2008)); see
Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87; Hamilton v. Lyons, 74
F.3d 99, 102 (5th Cir. 1996) (“A § 1983 claim
which falls under the rule in Heck is legally
frivolous unless the conviction or sentence at issue has been
reversed, expunged, invalidated, or otherwise called into
question.” (citation omitted)).
Heck court held that a civil tort action, including
an action under section 1983, is not an appropriate vehicle
for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments.” DeLeon v. City of Corpus Christi,
488 F.3d 649, 652 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing Heck, 512
U.S. at 486); see Id. at 654 (in this circuit,
“Heck stands first for ‘the hoary
principle that civil tort actions are not appropriate
vehicles for challenging the validity of outstanding criminal
judgments'” (quoting Heck, 512 U.S. at
“conviction” inconsistent with Garr's current
claims is the decision to change his parole status and/or
deny his release on parole - and thus extend the duration of
his sentence. Initially, “[t]he rule set forth in
Heck applies to a challenge to the validity of
confinement resulting from a parole-revocation
hearing.” Johnson v. Murray, 420 Fed.Appx.
327, 328 (5th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citing McGrew v.
Texas Bd. of Pardons & Paroles, 47 F.3d 158, 161
(5th Cir. 1995)). More broadly, that rule applies where
“[s]uccess in the instant action would ... affect the
validity of [a prisoner's] underlying conviction or the
duration of his sentence.” Mosley v. White,
464 Fed.Appx. 206, 210-11 (5th Cir. 2010) (per curiam)
(discussing the application of Heck through
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997), and
Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749 (2004) (per
curiam)); cf. Taylor v. Gunnels, 378 Fed.Appx. 469,
470 (5th Cir. 2010) (per curiam) (“For purposes of
Heck, the term ‘conviction' includes
prison disciplinary decisions that result in the loss of
good-time credits.” (citing Clarke v. Stalder,
154 F.3d 186, 189 (5th Cir. 1998) (en banc))); Roberto
Villarreal v. Johnson, No. 2:15-cv-219-D, 2019 WL
1300093, at *4 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 21, 2019) (“The
application of the Heck and Balisok
doctrines to a case depends on whether a judgment in the
plaintiff's favor would necessarily imply the invalidity
of his conviction or confinement.” (citing Hudson
v. Hughes, 98 F.3d 868, 872 (5th Cir. 1996))), rec.
adopted, 2019 WL 1294802 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 21, 2019).
Muhammad, the United States Supreme Court summarized
the sometimes confusing intersection of requests for habeas
relief and civil rights claims and the resulting need for the
Heck doctrine as expanded:
Federal law opens two main avenues to relief on complaints
related to imprisonment: a petition for habeas corpus, 28
U.S.C. § 2254, and a complaint under ... 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Challenges to the validity of any confinement or
to particulars affecting its duration are the province of
habeas corpus; requests for relief turning on circumstances
of confinement may be presented in a § 1983 action. Some
cases are hybrids, with a prisoner seeking relief unavailable
in habeas, notably damages, but on allegations that not only
support a claim for recompense, but imply the invalidity
either of an underlying conviction or of a particular ground
for denying release short of serving the maximum term of
confinement. In Heck v. Humphrey, we held that where
success in a prisoner's § 1983 damages action would
implicitly question the validity of conviction or duration of
sentence, the litigant must first achieve favorable
termination of his available state, or federal habeas,
opportunities to challenge the underlying conviction or
sentence. Accordingly, in Edwards v. Balisok, we
applied Heck in the circumstances of a § 1983
action claiming damages and equitable relief for a procedural
defect in a prison's administrative process, where the
administrative action taken against the plaintiff could
affect credits toward release based on good time served. In
each instance, conditioning the right to bring a § 1983
action on a favorable result in state litigation or federal
habeas served the practical objective of preserving
limitations on the availability of habeas remedies. Federal
petitions for habeas corpus may be granted only after other
avenues of relief have been exhausted. 28 U.S.C. §
2254(b)(1)(A). See Rose v. Lundy, 455 U.S. 509
(1982). Prisoners suing under § 1983, in contrast,
generally face a substantially lower gate, even with the
requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that
administrative opportunities be exhausted first. 42 U.S.C.
Heck's requirement to resort to state litigation
and federal habeas before § 1983 is not, however,
implicated by a prisoner's challenge that threatens no
consequence for his conviction or the duration of his
sentence. There is no need to preserve the habeas exhaustion
rule and no impediment under Heck in such a case
540 U.S. at 750-52 (citations and footnotes omitted); see
also, e.g., Bourne v. Gunnels, 921 F.3d 484, 491 (5th
Cir. 2019) (“The basis of Bourne's § 1983
excessive-force claims, therefore, is distinct from the basis
of his disciplinary conviction. A finding of excessive force
would not negate the prison's finding that Bourne
violated its policies and was subject to disciplinary action
as a result. A ruling in Bourne's favor on his
excessive-force claims would not affect his underlying
conviction, his disciplinary conviction, or the duration of