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Hawkins v. Risley

filed*fn*: January 25, 1993.

SHERMAN P. HAWKINS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
HENRY RISLEY, WARDEN, MONTANA STATE PRISON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Montana. D.C. No. CV-87-0227-JFB. James F. Battin, Chief District Judge, Presiding.

Before: James R. Browning, David R. Thompson and Andrew J. Kleinfeld, Circuit Judges.

Author: Per Curiam

Per Curiam:

Sherman Hawkins appeals the dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against several officials of the State of Montana.*fn1 We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and affirm.

I.

Montana police arrested Sherman Hawkins while he was on work furlough from a life sentence for murder; during processing, Hawkins attacked an officer and fled to Arizona. After he was apprehended and returned to the Montana State Prison, Hawkins was informed of his statutory right to an on-site furlough revocation hearing and told that the charges against him could result in revocation of his work furlough. Hawkins waived his right to an on-site hearing, and the Board of Pardons revoked his furlough after a "due process hearing" at which Hawkins appeared and participated without counsel.*fn2

On June 23, 1987, Hawkins filed this action seeking damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 from the State of Montana and eleven individual defendants associated with the Board of Pardons and the Montana prison system for violations of his right to an on-site hearing, his right to have counsel at the hearing, his right against unlawful arrest, and his rights under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act.

Hawkins later filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the same court, alleging identical violations of his rights arising from his extradition and the revocation of his furlough. The district court denied the habeas petition in June, 1990. Hawkins appealed to this court, which affirmed in an unpublished Disposition in December, 1991.

In early 1991, defendants moved for a continuance of this § 1983 action pending Hawkins' appeal of the judgment in the habeas case, which they claimed was res judicata. Instead of granting the continuance, the magistrate recommended this action be dismissed as res judicata. The district court agreed. This appeal followed.

II.

We must first decide whether a prior judgment in a federal habeas corpus proceeding may have preclusive effect in an action brought under § 1983.*fn3

Issue preclusion applies in § 1983 actions, Valley Wood Preserving, Inc. v. Paul, 785 F.2d 751, 753 (9th Cir. 1986), and prior state judgments have full preclusive effect even if the plaintiff had no opportunity to litigate the claim in a federal forum. See Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 66 L. Ed. 2d 308, 101 S. Ct. 411 (1980) (state suppression hearing barred federal § 1983 action even though plaintiff never received federal hearing on fourth amendment claim); see also Silverton v. Dept. of Treasury, 644 F.2d 1341, 1345-47 (9th Cir. 1981) (state habeas); Sperl v. Deukmejian, 642 F.2d 1154, 1155 (9th Cir. 1981) (state habeas).

In Williams v. Ward, 556 F.2d 1143 (2d Cir. 1977), Judge Friendly noted the rule that a state court judgment may preclude a § 1983 action, and went on to say:

there is no reason to think a different rule would apply where the first judgment is federal habeas. . . . The major reason for a lenient rule of res judicata in ยง 1983 would be the "purposes underlying enactment" of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, "in particular, the congressional misgivings about the ability and inclination of state courts to enforce federally protected rights", a concern hardly applicable where both proceedings are in federal court. Nor is there any statutory counterpart to the special res judicata rules established for successive ...


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