N.D.Ohio: Suit over ptf’s strip search barred by Heck because that’s the basis of his conviction

Plaintiff’s pro se lawsuit over his strip search necessarily is an attempt to impugn the integrity of his criminal conviction for drug trafficking, so it is barred by Heck v. Humphrey. Johnson v. Waters, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96255 (N.D. Ohio June 7, 2018):

A favorable judgment on the plaintiff’s claims under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments here — both premised on his allegations that he was subjected to an unreasonable search and seizure — would necessarily impugn the validity of his Lake County drug trafficking conviction. Liberally construing his complaint, he contends the “contraband” drugs supporting his conviction were made available only as a result of the alleged unconstitutional search. Heck applies where a contested search produces the only evidence supporting a conviction and “no legal doctrine could save the evidence from exclusion.” See e.g., Harper v. Jackson, 293 F. App’x 389, 392 (6th Cir. May 24, 2006), citing Ballenger v. Owens, 352 F.3d 842, 847 (4th Cir. 2003) (affirming dismissal of a plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment claims under Heck where the cocaine that led to the plaintiff’s drug trafficking conviction was “uniquely available from the alleged illegal search”).

Accordingly, because there is no suggestion in his complaint that his conviction has been invalidated in any of the ways articulated in Heck, his § 1983 claims based on the alleged illegal search and seizure are not cognizable.

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