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WILKINSON, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION, et al. v. DOTSON et al., 544 U.S. ---

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WILKINSON, DIRECTOR, OHIO DEPARTMENT OF REHABILITATION AND CORRECTION, et al. v. DOTSON et al.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT

No. 03-287.Argued December 6, 2004--Decided March 7, 2005

Respondents Dotson and Johnson are Ohio state prisoners. After parole officials determined that Dotson was not eligible for parole and that Johnson was not suitable for parole, they brought separate actions for declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 U. S. C. §1983, claiming that Ohio's parole procedures violate the Federal Constitution. In each case, the Federal District Court concluded that a §1983 action does not lie and that the prisoner would have to seek relief through a habeas corpus suit. The Sixth Circuit ultimately consolidated the cases and reversed, finding that the actions could proceed under §1983.

Held: State prisoners may bring a §1983 action for declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the constitutionality of state parole procedures; they need not seek relief exclusively under the federal habeas corpus statutes. Pp. 3-10.


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