Lockett v. Erickson

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 08-31-2011
  • Case #: 09-16609
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Paez for the Court; Circuit Judges Noonan and Bea
  • Full Text Opinion

Heck v. Humphrey does not bar a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim when a defendant pled nolo contendere after the superior court denied his suppression motion and no evidence was introduced against him, therefore his conviction “derive[d] from [his] plea, not from [a] verdict obtained with supposedly illegal evidence.”

In 2005, Edwin Lockett attempted to drive home after a party when his car slid off the road close to his house. Lockett, unable to get it back on the road, walked home and encountered a witness at the scene. Yreka California Highway Patrol received a call reporting the car and Lockett’s seemingly intoxicated state from the witness. Police then responded to the car, which lead them to Locket’s home where Lockett was asleep and visibly intoxicated. Lockett’s home was entered by police without a warrant, and police subsequently obtained evidence that he had driven under the influence of alcohol earlier that night. Lockett filed a federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint believing his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The district court dismissed Lockett’s § 1983 complaint, holding the case was barred by Heck v. Humphrey, and lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit reasoned that Heck does not bar Lockett’s § 1983 claim, because Lockett pled nolo contendere after the superior court denied his suppression motion, and was thus not tried and no evidence was introduced against him, therefore his conviction “derive[d] from [his] plea, not from [a] verdict obtained with supposedly illegal evidence.” The Ninth Circuit concluded that neither the Heck bar, nor Lockett’s Cal. Penal Code section 1538.5 appellate waiver, nor collateral estoppel operated to bar Lockett’s § 1983 Fourth Amendment claim. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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