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Gwilliams v. Michigan Parole Board

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 5, 2017

MICHIGAN PAROLE BOARD et al., Defendants.


          Janet T. Neff, United States District Judge

         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. 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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff Ricky L. Gwilliams is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility. He sues the Michigan Parole Board (MPB), MPB Chairman Michael Eagen, and MPB Member Anthony King.

         Plaintiff was sentenced on November 6, 2009, to a prison term of 6 to 30 years. His earliest release date was June 13, 2015. In addition, Plaintiff was diagnosed in 2011 with ulcerative colitis, and he has been hospitalized numerous times for flare-ups.

         On January 20, 2015, Plaintiff had a parole interview with Defendant King on January 20, 2015. At that interview, Defendant King did not ask about Plaintiff's physical condition or his ability to complete six months of Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) programming. However, on August 8, 2015, Plaintiff was paroled to the RSAT program at the Detroit Reentry Center (DRC). After three months of the program, in November 2015, Plaintiff was sent to Duane Waters Hospital for emergency treatment, due to a flare-up of his ulcerative colitis. He remained in the hospital for twelve days.

         On December 3, 2015, after he returned to the RSAT program, Plaintiff was reviewed by the MDOC Supervisor, the Institutional Parole Supervisor, and the Clinical Supervisor, who determined that he should be removed from the RSAT program for “absences due to medical health issues.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.6.) On December 9, 2015, the supervisors sent a request to the MPB, requesting that the parole board change the special condition of his parole, due to his medical issues. The MPB acknowledged the request and changed Plaintiff's special conditions of parole from requiring completion of RSAT programming to requiring completion of Advanced Substance Abuse Treatment (ASAT) programming. Plaintiff was put in the ASAT program on December 28, 2015.

         Just as Plaintiff began his ASAT program, he was sent back to Duane Waters Hospital for emergency care. While he was convalescing in the hospital, he was removed from the ASAT program for medical reasons. On February 10, 2016, Plaintiff's parole was rescinded because his medical issues prevented him from executing the parole order, issues of which the parole board was not aware when it granted parole to the program. (Ex. 9 to Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.18.)

         On March 4, 2016, the parole board issued a 12-month continuance before Plaintiff's next review for parole. The MPB checked the box indicating, “The Parole Board lacks reasonable assurance that the prisoner will not become a menace to society or to the public safety and denial of parole is warranted . . . .” (Ex. 12 to Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.22) Plaintiff complains that the six months he spent at the DRC was not credited toward his 12-month continuance. Plaintiff attempted to grieve the parole board's decision, but his grievance was rejected, because a prisoner may not grieve a parole board decision.

         On August 8, 2016, Plaintiff was again reviewed for parole and given a 12-month continuance. Some of the reasons provided for the continuance were Plaintiff's prior criminal history and his institutional conduct. Plaintiff complains that he was not permitted to speak about the issues surrounding his first continuance. Plaintiff alleges that he has written the MPB and its individual members on numerous occasions seeking a rehearing or further explanation of the parole denial. Plaintiff complains,

On a six year sentence, I will end up being incarcerated for eight and a half years, if, I have to do the time on these continuances.

(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.7.)

         Plaintiff raises multiple claims. First, he alleges that Defendants MPB and King violated Mich. Comp. Laws § 791.233(1)(A), by not considering all of the facts and circumstances (specifically, his physical condition and institutional programming) when they granted him parole and sent him to the RSAT program. Second, he argues that Defendant MBP violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131, the Equal Protection Clause, and Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Third, Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated Mich. Comp. Laws § 791.235(6) and did not act in good faith, when it used his medical condition against him. Fourth, he argues that Defendants did not consider him a “menace to society” when they granted his parole, but when his medical condition required hospitalization, they provided only a vague reason for the continuance, in violation of Mich. Comp. Laws § 791.233e(6) and the Eighth Amendment. Fifth, he contends that Defendant MPB violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment, by not crediting him with the six months spent at the DRC.

         For relief, Plaintiff demands that the six months spent at the DRC be credited toward his time. He also seeks a rehearing on his parole determination, based on the unjust rescission of his parole and unjust 12-month continuance. Further, he demands that his parole be reinstated and that, if further programming is required, he be placed into an after-care program in society. Finally, he seeks monetary damages, including the amount of one year's wages at $8.90 per hour (minimum wage).


         I. Failure ...

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