Touro Law Review
Heck v. Humphrey, which was decided in 1994, set the precedent for using § 1983 to challenge unjust convictions. Approximately 1,930 decisions have cited to Heck in the past twelve years, which includes 140 circuit court decisions. I did not even count the district court decisions because such a task would be quite difficult, given the unwieldy number of decisions.
One may wonder why so many decisions cite to Heck. The reason, or part of it, is that a large portion of these cases are brought by prisoners. And prisoners, as we all know, often initiate complaints or litigation because they are unhappy about their imprisonment. The problem in a case like Heck, or other cases such as Preiser v. Rodriguez and Edwards v. Balisok, is that these decisions held that a prisoner cannot challenge a prison's disciplinary actions if the result of the challenge may lead to a change in the term of imprisonment. Thus, because such actions are barred by Heck, the number of decisions citing to Heck tends to be quite high.
Challenging Unjust Convictions Under Section 1983, 23 Touro L. Rev. 27
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