United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
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.
currently is incarcerated in the West Shoreline Correctional
Facility. He sues Michigan Parole Board Chairman Michael
Engram and Parole Board Members Sonia Warchuck and Abigail
Callejas for alleged violations of his state and federal
rights arising from the denial of his parole.
was convicted by a jury in the Kent County Circuit Court on
two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for which
he was sentenced on August 14, 2000, to concurrent prison
terms of 11 to 45 years. Plaintiff also pleaded guilty in the
Kent County Circuit Court to one count of first-degree home
invasion and one count of first-degree criminal sexual
conduct, for which he was sentenced on October 24, 2005 to
concurrent prison terms of 6 to 20 years and 9 to 45 years,
respectively. On June 1, 2016, Plaintiff had a parole
interview with Defendant Callejas. On June 16, 2016, the
Michigan Parole Board issued a decision denying
Plaintiff's parole with reconsideration on October 14,
2017. (See Parole Board Notice of Decision, ECF No.
1, PageID.7.) Plaintiff contends that the Defendant Callejas
violated state statutes governing parole proceedings by using
historical information to make her decision. He further
claims that the Defendant parole board members violated his
due process rights by relying on inaccurate or false
information in denying his parole.
seeks a declaration that Defendants violated his state and
federal rights in the parole proceedings. He also requests a
preliminary and permanent injunction preventing Defendants
from violating his rights in future parole proceedings. In
addition, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
challenges the denial of his parole by members of the
Michigan parole board. A challenge to the fact or duration of
confinement should be brought as a petition for habeas corpus
and is not the proper subject of a civil rights action
brought pursuant to § 1983. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484, 494 (1973) (the essence of
habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the
legality of that custody and the traditional function of the
writ is to secure release from illegal custody). The Supreme
Court has held that a state prisoner cannot make a cognizable
claim under § 1983 for an alleged unconstitutional
conviction or for “harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence
invalid” unless a prisoner shows that the conviction or
sentence has been “reversed on direct appeal, expunged
by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus . . . .” Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994) (citation omitted); see also
Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 646-48 (1997).
However, in Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82
(2005), the Supreme Court clarified the Heck rule,
finding “that a state prisoner's § 1983 action
is barred (absent prior invalidation) - no matter the relief
sought (damages or equitable relief), no matter the target of
the prisoner's suit (state conduct leading to conviction
or internal prison proceedings) - if success in that action
would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement
or its duration.”) (emphasis in original). Plaintiff
does not seek release from prison; rather, he requests that
Defendants be enjoined from violating his right in future
parole proceedings. As a consequence, under
Wilkinson, his success in the action would not
necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of his continued
confinement, so his action does not appear to be
Heck-barred. Nevertheless, assuming that
Plaintiff's action is cognizable under § 1983, it
fails to state a claim.
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement, ' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009). Because § 1983 is a method for
vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive
rights itself, the first step in an action under § 1983
is to identify the specific constitutional right allegedly
infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271
claims that Defendants violated his due process rights in his
parole proceedings by violating state law and relying upon
false and inaccurate information in making their decision to
deny his parole. To establish a procedural due process
violation, a plaintiff must prove that (1) he was deprived of
a protected liberty or property interest, and (2) such
deprivation occurred without the requisite due process of
law. Club Italia Soccer & Sports Org., Inc. v.
Charter Twp. of Shelby, 470 F.3d 286, 296 (6th Cir.
2006); see also Swihart v. Wilkinson, 209 F.
App'x 456, 458 (6th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff fails to raise
a claim of constitutional magnitude because he has no liberty
interest in being released on parole. There is no
constitutional or inherent right to be conditionally released
before the expiration of a prison sentence. Greenholtz v.
Inmates of Neb. Penal & Corr. Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7
(1979). Although a state may establish a parole system, it
has no duty to do so; thus, the presence of a parole system
by itself does not give rise to a constitutionally protected
liberty interest in parole release. Id. at 7, 11;
Bd. of Pardons v. Allen, 482 U.S. 369, 373 (1987).
Rather, a liberty interest is present only if state law
entitles an inmate to release on parole. Inmates of
Orient Corr. Inst. v. Ohio State Adult Parole Auth., 929
F.2d 233, 235 (6th Cir. 1991).
Sweeton v. Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1164-65 (6th Cir.
1994) (en banc), the Sixth Circuit, noting “the broad
powers of the Michigan authorities to deny parole, ”
held that the Michigan system does not create a liberty
interest in parole. The Sixth Circuit reiterated the
continuing validity of Sweeton in Crump v.
Lafler, 657 F.3d 393, 404 (6th Cir. 2011). In
Crump, the court held that the adoption of specific
parole guidelines since Sweeton does not lead to the
conclusion that parole release is mandated upon reaching a
high probability of parole. See id.; see also
Carnes v. Engler, 76 F. App'x 79, 80 (6th Cir.
2003). In addition, the Sixth Circuit has rejected the
argument that the Due Process Clause is implicated when
changes to parole procedures and practices have resulted in
incarcerations that exceed the subjective expectation of the
sentencing judge. See Foster v. Booker, 595 F.3d
353, 369 (6th Cir. 2010). Finally, the Michigan Supreme Court
has recognized that there exists no liberty interest in
parole under the Michigan system. Glover v. Mich. Parole
Bd., 596 N.W.2d 598, 603-04 (Mich. 1999).
Plaintiff has served his maximum sentences, he has no
reasonable expectation of liberty. The discretionary parole
system in Michigan holds out “no more than a mere hope
that the benefit will be obtained.”
Greenholtz, 442 U.S. at 11. The Michigan Parole
Board's failure or refusal to consider Plaintiff for
parole, therefore, implicates no federal right. In the
absence of a liberty interest, Plaintiff fails to state a
claim for a violation of his procedural due process
also contends that Defendants violated state law in denying
his parole. Claims under § 1983 can only be brought for
“deprivation of rights secured by the constitution and
laws of the United States.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil
Co., 457 U.S. 922, 924 (1982). Section 1983 does not
provide redress for a violation of a state law. Pyles v.
Raisor, 60 F.3d 1211, 1215 (6th Cir. 1995); Sweeton
v. Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1166 (6th Cir. 1994).
Plaintiff's assertion that the Defendant parole board
members violated state law therefore fails to state a claim
under § 1983. Moreover, to the extent that Plaintiff
seeks to invoke this Court's supplemental jurisdiction
over a state-law claim, the Court declines to exercise
jurisdiction. In determining whether to retain supplemental
jurisdiction, “[a] district court should consider the
interests of judicial economy and the avoidance of
multiplicity of litigation and balance those interests
against needlessly deciding state law issues.”
Landefeld v. Marion Gen. Hosp., Inc., 994 F.2d 1178,
1182 (6th Cir. 1993). Ordinarily, where a district court has
exercised jurisdiction over a state-law claim solely by
virtue of supplemental jurisdiction and the federal claims
are dismissed prior to trial, the court will dismiss the
remaining state-law claims. Id. Dismissal, however,
remains “purely discretionary.” Carlsbad