United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BRISBOIS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez, a prisoner, commenced this
action by filing a Complaint seeking relief for alleged
violations of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
([Docket No. 1]). He did not pay any filing fee for this
action, but instead filed an application to proceed in
forma pauperis (“IFP”). This Court
previously denied Castillo-Alvarez's IFP Application
because he had three strikes against him under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), which meant he
had already filed three lawsuits that were dismissed for
failure to state a claim. ([Docket No. 13]); see,
also, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Castillo-Alvarez has
since paid the filing fee and his case is now before the
Court for screening based on 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
requires the Court to review and dismiss a complaint
“in which a prisoner seeks redress from” a
government entity, officer or employee if it fails to state a
1997, Castillo-Alvarez was suspected of involvement in the
kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in Iowa who was later
murdered in Minnesota, but Castillo-Alvarez fled to Mexico
before police could arrest him. See,
Castillo-Alvarez v. Hawkinson, No. 14-cv-542
(JRT/JSM), 2015 WL 6445479 *1 (D. Minn. 2015). He was
extradited to the United States in 2006 and he was convicted
of murder in Iowa state trial court; that conviction was
overturned by the Iowa state Court of Appeals in September
2009, on the grounds that his speedy trial rights were
violated. Id. Shortly thereafter, in February 2010,
Castillo-Alvarez was extradited to Minnesota, where he was
charged, tried, and convicted in Minnesota state court for
crimes involving the same kidnapping and murder upon which
his Iowa conviction had been based. Id.
Castillo-Alvarez was sentenced to a total of 528 months'
imprisonment. State v. Castillo-Alvarez, 820 N.W.2d
601, 621 (Minn.Ct.App. 2012).
case presently before this Court, Castillo-Alvarez claims
that his 2010 arrest and extradition to Minnesota to stand
trial in Minnesota state court violated the extradition
treaty between the United States and Mexico, since by the
time he was extradited to Minnesota, the Iowa
conviction-which arose from the charges for which
Castillo-Alvarez had been extradited from Mexico-had already
been overturned. (Compl., [Docket No. 1], 3-5).
has challenged both his Minnesota conviction and his
extradition from Iowa to Minnesota based on this argument
numerous times before state and federal courts in both Iowa
and Minnesota. See, Castillo-Alvarez, 2015
WL 6445479; Castillo-Alvarez v. Krukow, No.
C14-4029-MWB, 2014 WL 6472871, *2 (N.D. Ia. Nov. 18, 2014);
Castillo-Alvarez, 836 N.W.2d 527 (Minn. 2013),
cert. denied 137 S.Ct. 594 (2016);
Castillo-Alvarez, 820 N.W.2d at 625-26;
Castillo-Alvarez v. Hawkinson, No. 10-cv-4187
(PAM/JJG), 2011 WL 3759828, *2 (D. Minn. Aug. 4, 2011),
report and recommendation adopted at 2011 WL 3798585 (D.
Minn. Aug. 25, 2011). The Court need not address the merits
of Castillo-Alvarez's arguments here except to say that
all of his challenges to his Minnesota conviction have been
denied. See, e.g., Castillo-
Alvarez, 2015 WL 6445479, at *1; State v.
Castillo-Alvarez, 836 N.W.2d at 540;
Castillo-Alvarez v. Hawkinson, 2011 WL 3798585.
case presently before this Court, Castillo-Alvarez once again
seeks discharge from imprisonment and $5, 000, 000 in
damages. (Compl., [Docket No. 1], 5). For the reasons
discussed below, Castillo-Alvarez's Complaint fails to
state a cause of action because his claims are barred by
Heck v. Humphey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
prohibits an individual from challenging a state criminal
conviction in a federal civil rights action. A habeas corpus
petition is the only way a person convicted of a state
criminal offense can challenge the validity of his conviction
in federal court. “When a state prisoner seeks damages
in a § 1983 suit, the district court must consider
whether a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would
necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
sentence; if it would, the complaint must be dismissed unless
the plaintiff can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence
has already been invalidated.” Heck, 512 U.S.
at 486-87. Even when a plaintiff demands only money damages,
he cannot bring a civil rights action that would effectively
“call into question the lawfulness of [his] conviction
or confinement.” Heck, 512 U.S. at 483;
Sheldon v. Hundley, 83 F.3d 231, 233 (8th Cir.
1996). In short, “a state prisoner's § 1983
action is barred (absent prior invalidation) - no matter the
relief sought (damages or equitable relief), no matter the
target of the prisoner's suit (state conduct leading to
conviction or internal prison proceedings) - if success in
that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of
confinement.” Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S.
74, 81-82 (2005).
result of this rule, “in order to recover damages for
allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for
other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render
a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff
must prove that the conviction” has been reversed,
expunged, or called into question by issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus. Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. If the
conviction has not been invalidated, the claim is “not
cognizable under § 1983.” Id.
case presently before the Court, a judgment in favor of
Castillo-Alvarez would necessarily imply that his 2011
criminal conviction was invalid. In fact, Castillo-Alvarez
specifically seeks release from confinement as relief.
(Compl., [Docket No. 1], 5) (requesting “discharge . .
. from imprisonment”). He has already filed a habeas
petition in this District in which he specifically made the
exact claim that he makes here. Castillo-Alvarez, WL
6445479, at *3, 7-8. That prior petition was denied, the
Eighth Circuit denied him an appeal, and he does not claim
that his Minnesota conviction has otherwise been invalidated.
He cannot now challenge or attempt an end-run around the
conclusion of this Court in the prior habeas proceedings with
regards to his argument that the extradition from Iowa to
Minnesota was invalid simply by filing a civil rights claim.
Because the conviction for which Castillo-Alvarez is in
prison has not been invalidated and the Complaint in this
case requests relief barred by Heck, his present
Complaint fails to state a cause of action on which relief
can be granted.
Court notes that Castillo-Alvarez might argue that the
invalidation of his Iowa conviction on the grounds that it
violated his speedy trial rights somehow implicates his
Minnesota conviction so as to lift the Heck bar to
his claim. However, in the present case,
Castillo-Alvarez is clearly challenging the
Minnesota conviction and no court has invalidated
that conviction. The Court is unpersuaded by the argument
that the invalidation of any conviction - even if it is not
the conviction under which Plaintiff is imprisoned - will
lift the Heck bar.
the Court has considered whether Castillo-Alvarez's
current pleading could be construed to be a habeas corpus
petition but, as mentioned, Castillo-Alvarez has already
sought and been denied habeas relief on the same grounds he
presents here and he cannot do so again without pre-approval
from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. See, 28
U.S.C. § 2244(b). Moreover, the 1-year statute of
limitations for federal habeas corpus petitions has long
since run. See, 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d)(1).
Court therefore concludes that Castillo-Alvarez has failed to
state a cause of action on which relief can be granted.
Accordingly, the Court recommends that this action be
summarily dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The case
should be dismissed without prejudice so that
Castillo-Alvarez will still be able to pursue a civil rights
claim if his 2011 Minnesota state criminal conviction is ever
overturned. Schafer v. Moore, 46 F.3d 43, 45 (8th
upon the foregoing and all of the files, records and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that this action
be DISMISSED without ...