Poventud v. City of New York (Second Circuit en banc)
According to the Supreme Court’s decision in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), a civil rights plaintiff may not use a Section 1983 suit to establish the invalidity of an outstanding state court conviction. To recover damages for an injury caused by conduct that, if proven, would imply that a conviction or sentence is invalid, such a plaintiff therefore first must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed, expunged, or invalidated in a separate proceeding. The question presented in this case—which was the Second Circuit’s first en banc rehearing in two years—was whether a Section 1983 plaintiff who successfully invalidates his sentence on collateral attack but then pleads guilty to a lesser included offense for time served, has complied with the Heck rule. We filed a brief and presented oral argument on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, arguing that such a plaintiff has complied with Heck. The court adopted the position we advocated.