West Law Report

Should the Favorable Termination Rule Apply to Individuals Who Lack Access to Habeas Corpus?

In the note of Harvard Law Review (Issue 121, Jan 2008) (.pdf) (22 pages): Defining the Reach of Heck v. Humphrey: Should the Favorable Termination Rule Apply to Individuals Who Lack Access to Habeas Corpus?

Part I examines Heck (1994) itself, as well as Preiser v. Rodriguez (1973) and Spencer v. Kemna (1998), two other cases involving the overlap between § 1983 and habeas. Part II discusses the restrictions on habeas that may operate in tandem with Heck to bar relief, and discusses the difficulties lower courts have faced in determining Heck’s breadth. Part III argues that Heck’s favorable termination rule overreaches in cases where AEDPA bars habeas relief; when the dangers associated with the overlap between habeas and § 1983 do not apply, Heck’s doctrinal foundations become much less salient. Part III also discusses the pragmatic interests at stake and concludes that they, too, support the availability of § 1983 relief. Part IV concludes.

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