Chandler v. Louisville Jefferson County Metro Government et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER by Judge John G. Heyburn, II on 9/9/2011; IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Count Vcoercion claim is DENIED.cc:counsel (JSS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:10-CV-470-H
EDWIN ARNELL CHANDLER, SR.
LOUISVILLE JEFFERSON COUNTY
METRO GOVERNMENT, et al.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
In its opinion dated March 1, 2011, this Court ruled that the statute of limitations barred
Plaintiff’s claims of coercion set forth in Counts V, VI, and VII of the complaint. After issuing
its opinion, Plaintiff requested consideration on the grounds that Defendants had not actually
moved for the dismissal of Count V. In a Memorandum and Order dated April 26, 2011, the
Court agreed and allowed the parties additional time to brief the issue.
No one can dispute that, at the time of the coerced confession, Plaintiff knew all of the
facts that would comprise his cause of action. However, as it turns out, such a cause of action
does not actually occur until the coerced confession is used at trial. Chavez v. Martinez, 538
U.S. 760, 773 (2003). Under the rule in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the Court must
determine whether the Fifth Amendment coercion claim requires either (1) the establishment that
his conviction was invalid, or that (2) the tort itself would necessarily imply the invalidity of the
conviction. Only the latter consideration remains relevant. Citing Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S.
384, 388 (2007), Defendants argue that allowing the claim to go forward is proper because
defenses such as coercion of confessions are subject to the harmless error rule and, therefore,
would not necessarily imply that the conviction was unlawful.
Upon more thorough consideration of the issue, the Court concludes that even though a
coerced confession might be subject to the harmless error rule, a coerced confession would
strongly suggest that any conviction was obtained wrongly and subject to invalidation.
Moreover, in our case, the confession was not merely coerced. The coerced confession was
indisputably a wrongful confession. To attack a coerced wrongly confession used at trial to
convict, Plaintiff would absolutely call into question the validity of the existing conviction. The
Wallace case does not apply directly because it concerned allegations of wrongful entry, which
do not implicate the conviction so directly as a confession. Consequently, the statute of
limitations on the Count V claims are tolled under the Heck rule.
Being otherwise sufficiently advised,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants’ motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s Count V
coercion claim is DENIED.
September 9, 2011
Counsel of Record
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?