Morgan v. Schott, No. 16-2384 (7th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Illinois prison officials issued a disciplinary report charging Morgan with offenses stemming from a violent assault on fellow prisoners. Morgan disputed the charges and asked to call a witness to testify at his Adjustment Committee hearing. The Committee never called Morgan’s witness. He was found guilty; the Committee imposed a punishment of one year of segregation, status and access restrictions, and revocation of three months of good-time credits. Morgan filed a grievance and appealed its subsequent denial to the Administrative Review Board, which adjusted the revocation of good-time credits but rejected a due-process claim, concluding that Morgan’s witness request did not comply with prison rules. Morgan sued three officers for damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The officers cited the “Heck” rule: When a state prisoner seeks damages in a section 1983 suit, the district court must consider whether a judgment in [his] favor … would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed that the due-process claim was not cognizable under section 1983. Prisoners cannot make an end run around Heck by filing an affidavit waiving challenges to the portion of their punishment that revokes good-time credits. Judgment in Morgan’s favor would necessarily imply the invalidity of his prison discipline. The suit was premature.