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Decision In Prisoner's Civil Rights Case Claiming Excessive Force

By FindLaw Staff on April 16, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Evans v. Poskon, No. 09-3140, involved a prisoner's 42 U.S.C section 1983 suit claiming that his fourth amendment rights were violated when the officers used excessive force during and after his arrest.  The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on the ground that Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), bars defendant's claim because his assertion that he did not oppose being taken into custody contradicts his conviction for resisting arrest. 

However, the Court in Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007) holds that a claim that accrues before a criminal conviction may and usually must be filed without regard to the conviction's validity and that a claim asserting that a search or seizure violated the fourth amendment accrues immediately.  Here, defendant's claim that he did not resist being taken into custody is incompatible with his conviction and any proceedings based on this claim must be stayed or dismissed, but his other two claim that the police used excessive force to effect custody and that they beat him severely even after the arrest are consistent with a conviction for resisting arrest and may proceed, as the pro se defendant never claimed he must proceed on all three claims.

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