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Eighth Circuit Rules Previous Dismissals Not “Strikes” For Iowa Prisoner

On December 29, 2006, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the dismissal of a prisoner’s previous federal lawsuits could not be counted as “strikes” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) because the prisoner had not yet exhausted or waived his appeals in those cases.

In 2006, while imprisoned in a county jail in Iowa, Edward Campbell filed a federal lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Campbell had filed three other § 1983 lawsuits a month earlier, all of which had been dismissed.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa dismissed the instant case citing § 1915(g), which bars prisoners from filing civil actions if the prisoner has had three or more previous federal lawsuits dismissed for frivolousness of for failure to state a claim unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury. Campbell appealed.

The Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded holding that Campbell’s three previous lawsuits could not be counted as strikes against him because he had not yet exhausted or waived his appeals in those cases. The appeals court also granted Campbell’s request for in forma pauperis status on appeal. See: Campbell v. Davenport Police Department, 471 F.3d 952 (8th Cir. 2006).

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Related legal case

Campbell v. Davenport Police Department