Spencer v. Riley et al (INMATE 2)
ORDER directing as follows: (1.) Spencer's 60 Objection to the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge is OVERRULED; (2.) The 59 Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge is ADOPTED; (3.) The defendants' 14 and 19 Motions for Summary Judgment are GRANTED, as further set out. Signed by Honorable Judge Mark E. Fuller on 7/11/12. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(scn, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JAMES EDWARD SPENCER,
Case No. 2:09-cv-1089-MEF-TFM
BOB RILEY, TROY KING, CYNTHIA
DILLARD, RICHARD ALLEN, and M.
Magistrate Judge Terry Moorer filed a Report and Recommendation (Doc. # 59)
supporting the dismissal of James Spencer’s claims. I agree with the recommendation
and will adopt it as an order of the Court. I write only to clarify why Spencer’s § 1983
claim challenging his conviction under Alabama’s now-repealed Community
Notification Act (ACNA) cannot go forward.
As Judge Moorer correctly pointed out, Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994),
bars Spencer’s challenge to his ACNA conviction. This is because a plaintiff cannot use
§ 1983 to challenge a state court conviction unless he can show that he “had the
conviction ‘reversed . . . , expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal . . . , or called into question by a federal court’s issuance of a writ of habeas
corpus.’” Barnes v. City of Dothan, ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, No. 1:11-cv-201, 2012 WL
274746, at *5 (M.D. Ala. Jan. 31, 2012) (citing Heck, 512 U.S. at 486–87). The reason
for Heck’s so-called favorable termination rule is “to steer challenges to state court
convictions into the channels already set up for [that] purpose.” Id.
Here, Spencer remains in jail on the ACNA charge, so he cannot satisfy Heck’s
favorable termination rule. To proceed with a § 1983 claim, he needs to successfully
challenge his conviction by other means. This can be done, for example, by trying to
have it overturned in state court or by filing a habeas corpus action. If he were to succeed
using either approach, his § 1983 claim could then go forward. But because he has not
had his conviction overturned, and because the Court agrees with Judge Moorer’s
recommendation, it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
Spencer’s Objection to the Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Doc.
# 60) is OVERRULED.
The Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (Doc. # 59) is
The defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. # 14, 19) are
Done this the 11th day of July, 2012.
/s/ Mark E. Fuller
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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