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Franks v. Rubitschun

March 31, 2010

RODNEY ALLEN FRANKS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN S. RUBITSCHUN ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Paul L. Maloney

OPINION

This prisoner civil rights action was remanded by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Franks v. Rubitschun, 312 F. App'x 764 (6th Cir. 2009) to allow this Court to address Plaintiff's equal protection claim under the class-of-one theory. See Vill. of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564 (2000) and refined in Engquist v. Or. Dep't of Agric., 553 U.S. ----, 128 S.Ct. 2146 (2008). Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, PUB. L. NO. 104-134, 110 STAT. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards in accordance with the Sixth Circuit's remand, Plaintiff's class-of-one equal protection claim will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Discussion

I. Facts and Procedural History

On October 14, 1999, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Barry County Circuit Court for inappropriate sexual behavior with his nine year-old adoptive brother. (Attach. to Compl. at 1-2, docket #1.) The trial court sentenced Plaintiff to 42 to 140 months' imprisonment on November 4, 1999. (Id. at 1.)

On October 23, 2006, Plaintiff filed this action against John Rubitschun, Chairman of the Michigan Parole Board, and the following members of the Michigan Parole Board: Marianne Samper, Charles Braddock, Stephen DeBoer, George Lellis, Stephen Marschke and William Slaughter (collectively, the Michigan Parole Board), for violating several of his constitutional rights. On January 9, 2007, Plaintiff's action was dismissed by this Court for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff subsequently filed an appeal with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. On appeal, Plaintiff abandoned all of his claims except an equal protection claim under the class-of-one theory. The Sixth Circuit summarized Plaintiff's claim as follows:

Michigan's policies do not permit members of the parole board knowingly to insert falsified information into a prisoner's parole file, nor do they permit members to base a denial of parole on such information. The parole board has deviated from this policy, however, in its treatment of [Plaintiff], and it has done so on the basis of personal animus, rather than on any rational basis. (Order at 5, docket #10.) Pursuant to the Sixth Circuit's order of remand, this Court will address Plaintiff's class-of-one equal protection claim.

The parole board first denied Plaintiff's parole on May 19, 2002 for the following reasons:

The assaultive crime, Current offense is CSC crime.

The sexually motivated crime: Violating a position of trust or authority. Involved a family member or acquaintance, involved minor/child victim, shows an established pattern of behavior, demonstrates pedophillic tendencies.

Correctional Adjustment: The behavior reflected in the misconducts, resulted in security reclass, shows that prisoner has received misconducts since coming to MDOC or since last PBI, shows criminal behavior while incarcerated. (Attach. to Compl. at 4, docket #1) (quotation marks omitted.)

On February 24, 2003, Plaintiff completed the MDOC Sexual Offender Therapy Program. (Id. at 4.) On July 1, 2003, however, the parole board denied Plaintiff's parole for the second time. In its denial, the parole board stated that the sexually motivated crime demonstrated "pedophillic tendencies, involved a family member or [acquaintance], show[ed] an established pattern of behavior, violated a position of trust or authority, [and] involved [a] minor/child victim." (Attach. to Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff noted that the parole board did not refer to any misconduct reports in the 2003 parole denial.

On July 23, 2004, the parole board denied Plaintiff's parole for a third time. The parole board provided the following reasons for its denial:

The assaultive crime, history of /or currently serving for CSC.

The sexually motivated crime, involved a family member or acquaintance, violated a position of trust or authority, [and] involved [a] minor/child victim.

Correctional Adjustment, [t]he behavior reflected in the misconduct, this is a disciplinary time case[.] (Attach. to Compl. at 5) (quotation marks omitted.) Plaintiff notes that the parole board did not identify any misconducts in its report.

The parole board denied Plaintiff's parole for a fourth time on July 15, 2005. In its analysis, the parole board stated:

The assaultive crime, history of /or currently serving for CSC.

The sexually motivated crime, involved a family member or acquaintance, violated a position of trust or authority, involved [a] minor/child victim.

Correctional Adjustment, the behavior reflected in the misconducts, this is a disciplinary time case[.]

The prisoner has a history of substance abuse which is of long standing duration. (Attach. to Compl. at 6) (quotation marks omitted.) Plaintiff argues that the parole board did not identify any misconducts in its decision. Further, Plaintiff states ...


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