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Jones v. Bock

Docket No.: 05-7058
Certiorari Granted: 3/6/2006
Argued: October 30, 2006
Decided: January 22, 2007
Consolidated with: CONSOLIDATED WITH 05-7142 FOR ONE HOUR ORAL ARGUMENT.

Topics:

habeas, habeas corpus

PartyNames: JONES v. BOCK, WARDEN, et al.
Petitioner: Lorenzo L. Jones
Respondent: Barbara Bock, Warden, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Lorenzo L. Jones
v.
Barbara Bock, Warden, et al.
549 U.S. 199 (2007)
Background:

42 U.S.C. § 1997e (a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), Pub. L. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996), provides that "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions" under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or other federal law "until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." "[E]xhaustion in cases covered by § 1997 e (a) is * * * mandatory." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002). The questions presented, over both of which the circuits are intractably split, are:

Question Presented:

1. Whether satisfaction of the PLRA' s exhaustion requirement is a prerequisite to a prisoner's federal civil rights suit such that the prisoner must allege in his complaint how he exhausted his administrative remedies (or attach proof of exhaustion to the complaint), or instead, whether non-exhaustion is an affirmative defense that must be pleaded and proven by the defense.2. Whether the PLRA prescribes a "total exhaustion" rule that requires a federal district court to dismiss a prisoner's federal civil rights complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies whenever there is a single unexhausted claim, despite the presence of other exhausted claims.

Question:

1) Does the Prisoner Litigation and Reform Act require that a prisoner bringing a federal civil rights suit show how he exhausted his administrative remedies before suing, rather than requiring that the defense prove that the administrative remedies were not exhausted? 2) Does the Prisoner Litigation and Reform Act require a court to dismiss a prisoner's civil rights suit for failure to exhaust administrative remedies whenever there is a single unexhausted claim, despite the presence of other exhausted claims? From Williams v. Overton: 3) Does the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act require that a prisoner name a particular defendant in his administrative grievance in order to exhaust his administrative remedies as to that defendant and preserve his right to sue?

Holding: judgment reversed and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Read JONES V. BOCK opinion (PDF)

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