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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Edwards et al.
(Argued the cause for the petitioners)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Facts of the Case 

Jerry B. Balisok, a Washington state prison inmate, was found guilty of prison rules infractions resulting in the loss of thirty days of good time, credit he had previously earned toward his release. Balisok alleged that the procedures used in his disciplinary hearing violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. Balisok also alleged that the proceedings were deceitful and biased. Under federal law Balisok filed for a statement declaring the procedures unconstitutional, compensatory and punitive damages for their use, and an injunction to prevent future violations. The District Court held a state prisoner's claim for damages is not conceivable if a judgement for him would imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence. The Court of Appeals reversed and held that claims challenging only the procedures used in a disciplinary hearing are always cognizable.


May prisoners invoke 42 USC Section 1983 to sue for monetary damages over procedures used to deprive them of good time credit toward early release?

Decision: 9 votes for Edwards, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts (42 USC 1983)

No. In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court held that Balisok's "claim for declaratory relief and monetary damages, based on allegations of deceit and bias on the part of the decisionmaker that necessarily imply the invalidity of the punishment imposed, is not cognizable...."

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EDWARDS v. BALISOK. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_1352>.
EDWARDS v. BALISOK, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_1352 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"EDWARDS v. BALISOK," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_95_1352.