Case: Harris v. Johnson

4:04-cv-01514 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Filed Date: April 15, 2004

Closed Date: 2004

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 15, 2004, David Ray Harris, a death-sentenced inmate at the Huntsville Prison in Texas filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Texas Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Harris complained that Texas' use of lethal injection as an execution method violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and he asked the Court to permanently enjoin the defendants from using lethal injection on any pr…

On April 15, 2004, David Ray Harris, a death-sentenced inmate at the Huntsville Prison in Texas filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Texas Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Harris complained that Texas' use of lethal injection as an execution method violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and he asked the Court to permanently enjoin the defendants from using lethal injection on any prisoner.

On April 30, 2004, the District Court (Judge Vanessa Gilmore) dismissed the complaint without addressing the merits, finding that Harris's complaint was nothing more than a successive habeas corpus complaint and ruling that Harris must seek authorization from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (who had denied Harris's previous habeas claim) before filing a successive habeas petition in the district courts.

Harris appealed, and on June 23, 2004, the Fifth Circuit (Judges Jerry Edwin Smith, James L. Dennis, and Edith Brown Clement) issued a per curiam opinion reversing the District Court's dismissal of the case in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Nelson v. Campbell, 124 S.Ct. 2117 (2004), which was decided after the District Court's decision in this case. In Nelson, the Supreme Court found that § 1983 was an appropriate vehicle for some challenges to state execution methods, and that not all such challenges are habeas claims. In light of this ruling, the Fifth Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court for consideration. Harris v. Johnson, No. 04-70020, 2004 WL 1427042 (5th Cir. Jun. 23, 2004).

Six days later, the District Court (Judge Gilmore) granted Harris's request for a temporary restraining order and stay of execution in order to allow for a hearing in the case and denying the defendants' motion to dismiss. The defendants appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss.

The next day, the Fifth Circuit overruled the District Court's granting of the stay of execution and dismissed the case. Harris asked the Supreme Court to review the decision, but the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

On June 30, 2004 in Huntsville, Texas, David Ray Harris was executed by lethal injection. The case was closed the next day.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (9/16/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Clement, Edith Brown (Louisiana)

Dennis, James L. (Louisiana)

Gilmore, Vanessa D. (Texas)

Smith, Jerry Edwin (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Farrell, Thomas M. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bunn, Gena Blount (Texas)

Judge(s)

Clement, Edith Brown (Louisiana)

Dennis, James L. (Louisiana)

Gilmore, Vanessa D. (Texas)

Smith, Jerry Edwin (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Farrell, Thomas M. (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bunn, Gena Blount (Texas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:04-cv-01514

Docket [PACER]

July 6, 2004

July 6, 2004

Docket
4

4:04-cv-01514

Notice of Transfer

April 21, 2004

April 21, 2004

Notice Letter
5

4:04-cv-01514

Order [Dismissing Complaint]

April 29, 2004

April 29, 2004

Order/Opinion

04-70020

USCA Per Curiam

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

2004 WL 1427042

June 23, 2004

June 23, 2004

Order/Opinion

4:04-cv-01514

04-70020

Judgment

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

June 23, 2004

June 23, 2004

Order/Opinion
18

4:04-cv-01514

Order

323 F.Supp.2d 797

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 11, 2022, 3:10 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT by David Ray Harris filed; FILING FEE $ 150.00 RECEIPT # 543380 (bchurchill) (Entered: 04/19/2004)

April 15, 2004

April 15, 2004

2

MEMORANDUM of LAW by David Ray Harris in support of [1-1] complaint , filed (bchurchill) (Entered: 04/19/2004)

April 15, 2004

April 15, 2004

3

Order setting Initial Pretrial and Scheduling Conference on 3:00 7/30/04 before Judge Sim Lake and Order to Disclose Interested Persons, filed. Parties notified. (bchurchill) (Entered: 04/19/2004)

April 15, 2004

April 15, 2004

4

NOTICE OF TRANSFER ( to Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ) Related to capital case, filed. Parties notified. (vhulsey) (Entered: 04/21/2004)

April 21, 2004

April 21, 2004

CASE reassigned to Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore (vhulsey) (Entered: 04/21/2004)

April 21, 2004

April 21, 2004

5

ORDER, entered; Parties notified. This court DISMISSES Harris' complaint. As Harris' pleadings do not make a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right, no Certificate of Appealability will issue. ( signed by Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ) (psmith) (Entered: 04/30/2004)

April 29, 2004

April 29, 2004

6

FINAL JUDGMENT, entered. Parties ntfd. This case is DISMISSED. No certificate of appealability will issue. ( signed by Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ) (psmith) (Entered: 04/30/2004)

April 29, 2004

April 29, 2004

APPEAL FILING FEE $ 255.00 PAID IN FULL by Nickens & Keeton Atty's for David R. Harris; RECEIPT # 4-544514. (ejones) (Entered: 05/19/2004)

May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004

7

NOTICE OF APPEAL of [6-1] order by David Ray Harris , filed. Fee Status: paid Receipt #: 544514 (jdavenport) (Entered: 05/20/2004)

May 18, 2004

May 18, 2004

Notice of appeal and Copy of docket transmitted to USCA: [7- 1] appeal (jdavenport) (Entered: 05/20/2004)

May 20, 2004

May 20, 2004

Certified and transmitted record on appeal consisting of 1 volume of pleadings to U.S. Court of Appeals: [7-1] appeal . Parties ntfd. (jdavenport) (Entered: 05/25/2004)

May 25, 2004

May 25, 2004

8

RULE 60 MOTION AND REQUEST for expedited hearing by David Ray Harris, Motion Docket Date 6/23/04 [8-1] motion , filed. (khightower) (Entered: 06/04/2004)

June 3, 2004

June 3, 2004

9

ORDER denying [8-1] motion for expedited hearing , entered; Parties notified. ( signed by Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ) (khightower) (Entered: 06/07/2004)

June 4, 2004

June 4, 2004

10

NOTICE of Hearing: set scheduling conference for 1:30 7/2/04 before Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore before Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore , filed. A Joint Case Management Plan must be filed 10 days before the conference. (khightower) (Entered: 06/15/2004)

June 9, 2004

June 9, 2004

NOTICE of Docketing NOA from USCA Re: [7-1] appeal USCA NUMBER: 04-70020 (mharrison) (Entered: 06/15/2004)

June 15, 2004

June 15, 2004

11

NOTICE of CANCELLATION of Hearing , filed. The Scheduling Conference set for 07/02/04 at 1:30 is CANCELLED. (khightower) (Entered: 06/18/2004)

June 17, 2004

June 17, 2004

12

ORDER that the State refile its brief in response to Petitioner's action and if petitoner seeks to file a reply brief addressing any new issues affected by the Supreme Court's opinion set brief due for 12pm 6/25/04 , and set party's reply brief due 12pm 6/25/04 , entered; Parties notified. ( signed by Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ) (khightower) (Entered: 06/24/2004)

June 23, 2004

June 23, 2004

13

REQUEST by David Ray Harris for Tro and Post-Remand Brief , filed. (khightower) (Entered: 06/25/2004)

June 24, 2004

June 24, 2004

14

MOTION with brief in support to dismiss by Gary Johnson, Doug Dretke, Neill Hodges, Motion Docket Date 7/15/04 [14-1] motion , filed (khightower) (Entered: 06/28/2004)

June 25, 2004

June 25, 2004

15

JUDGMENT OF USCA (certified copy) Jun 23, 2004 issued as mandate on June 23, 2004 REVERSING & REMANDING the Judgment of the District Court Re: [7-1] appeal, filed. CCA No. 04-70020 (bdaniel) (Entered: 06/28/2004)

June 28, 2004

June 28, 2004

16

Certified copy of PER CURIAM by USCA, filed. CCA No. 04- 70020 (bdaniel) (Entered: 06/28/2004)

June 28, 2004

June 28, 2004

Record on appeal, consisting of 1 Vol - Record, returned from U.S. Court of Appeals, reassembled and forwarded to case manager: [7-1] appeal . CCA No. 04-70020. (bdaniel) (Entered: 06/28/2004)

June 28, 2004

June 28, 2004

Case reopened (bdaniel) (Entered: 06/28/2004)

June 28, 2004

June 28, 2004

18

ORDER granting pltf's [13-1] request for TRO; denying deft's [14-1] motion to dismiss , entered; Parties ( signed by Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore ) (sfedele) Modified on 06/30/2004 (Entered: 06/29/2004)

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

19

NOTICE OF APPEAL (faxed copy) of [18-1] order by Gary Johnson, Doug Dretke, Neill Hodges, Unknown Executioners, filed. Fee Status: Not Pd (bdaniel) (Entered: 06/29/2004)

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

Notice of appeal and Copy of docket transmitted (faxed and mailed) to USCA: [19-1] appeal (bdaniel) (Entered: 06/29/2004)

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

20

Minute entry: Temporary Restraining Hearing held. Apps: T Farrell f/Solice Southwick, David Dow; G Bunn f/deft. Ct Reporter: C Barron Tape Number: none . Court to issue order by noon (sfedele) (Entered: 06/30/2004)

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

Completed Case Manager Checklist for processing stays of execution. (EM) (amaly) (Entered: 07/01/2004)

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

22

RESPONSE by Gary Johnson, Doug Dretke, Neill Hodges in opposition to pltf's request for TRO, filed (amaly) (Entered: 07/01/2004)

June 29, 2004

June 29, 2004

21

NOTICE OF APPEAL of [18-1] order by Gary Johnson, Doug Dretke, Neill Hodges , filed. Fee Status: Paid Receipt #: 545853 (mharrison) (Entered: 07/01/2004)

June 30, 2004

June 30, 2004

Notice of appeal and Copy of docket transmitted to USCA: [21- 1] appeal (mharrison) (Entered: 07/01/2004)

July 1, 2004

July 1, 2004

Case closed (amaly) (Entered: 07/01/2004)

July 1, 2004

July 1, 2004

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 15, 2004

Closing Date: 2004

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

a death-sentenced prisoner of the State of Texas

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Texas Department of Corrections (Livingston), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

Death Penalty:

Lethal Injection - General