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DAVIS v. STATE OF NEW YORK

United States District Court, Southern District of New York


April 2, 2003

SAMUEL DAVIS, PLAINTIFF, AGAINST THE STATE OF NEW YORK, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael B. Mukasey, United States District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Samuel Davis, moves to restore his complaint to the court calendar. This motion is granted. However, plaintiff's complaint is dismissed on the court's own motion.

In Davis v. State of New York, et al., No. 90 Civ. 6170 (MBM), 1991 WL 156351 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 6, 1991), this court considered Davis' claims, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1985, that several persons deprived and conspired to deprive him of his constitutional rights by reason of the lengthy delay in his retrial on charges of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. I dismissed all of Davis' claims except for his § 1983 claim for monetary damages against defendant Matthew Crosson, and his claims against defendants Lynne Stewart, Stanley Cohen, and Ralph Poynter, who at that time had been served recently and had not yet moved for dismissal. I then placed this action on the court's suspense calendar because Davis was pursuing an appeal that was relevant to whether his remaining claims could go forward.

The New York Supreme Court denied Davis' motion to set aside his verdict, finding that the delay between the first and second trials was "occasioned by the repeated replacements of the defendant's attorney at his request." People v. Davis, No. 1797/86, slip op. at 8 (July 25, 1991). This same Court denied Davis' motion to set aside his conviction pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law § 440.10, and the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department affirmed. See People v. Davis, 226 A.D.2d 125, 126, 640 N.Y.S.2d 53, 53 (N.Y. App. Div. 1996). Davis then filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 (2000) in this court. Judge McKenna dismissed this petition, see Davis v. Kelly, No. 97 Civ. 1653 (LMM), 2000 WL 1772794 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 2000), and the Second Circuit affirmed, see Davis v. Kelly,

"[A]lthough styled as a § 1983 claim, plaintiff's complaint essentially alleges that he was tried and convicted in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial." Davis v. State of New York, et al., No. 90 Civ. 6170 (MBM), 1991 WL 156351, at *7 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 6, 1991). The Supreme Court held in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), that a state prisoner's claim for damages is not cognizable under § 1983 if "a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence," unless the prisoner can demonstrate that the conviction or sentence has previously been invalidated. Id. at 487.

A judgment in favor of Davis on his § 1983 damages claim would necessary imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence. Because Davis' conviction has not been invalidated, his claim is not cognizable. Therefore, Davis' claim against defendant Crosson is dismissed. For the same reason, Davis' § 1983 claims against Stewart, Cohen, and Poynter are dismissed. Davis' claim that Stewart, Cohen, and Poynter conspired to deprive him of his constitutional right to a speedy trial also is not cognizable here because Davis can show no injury and the issue is barred by the doctrine of collateral estoppel. See People v. Davis, No. 1797/86, slip op. at 8 (July 25, 1991) (finding that the delay between the first and second trials was "occasioned by the repeated replacements of the defendant's attorney at his request"). Davis' complaint is dismissed.

SO ORDERED:

20030402

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