United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. QUIST 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;
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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
against Defendants Michigan Parole Board, Wilson, Jennings,
King, Belk, Brown, Runyan, and Unknown Party for failure to
state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Newberry Correctional Facility (NCF) in
Newberry, Luce County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains occurred while he was confined at the Ojibway
Correctional Facility in Marenisco, Gogebic County, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues the Michigan Parole Board, Parole Board
Members Sandra A. Wilson, Melissa K. Jennings, Anthony King,
Kevin Belk, and Charles Brown, Assistant Resident Unit
Supervisor Unknown Runyan, and Unknown Party named as John
alleges in his complaint that Defendants improperly
considered his own misstatement of the facts in a previous
parole interview to justify denying Plaintiff parole.
Plaintiff states that after his first interview with the
parole board, Defendant Runyan spent the next year trying to
convince Plaintiff to say that he followed the victim and
shot him like a dog in the streets. Plaintiff further claims
that Defendant Runyan worked with the parole board to
“coerce, intimidate, threaten, ” and admonish
Plaintiff into exaggerating the events surrounding his crime
during his second interview. Plaintiff states that the parole
board has since determined that his retelling of the events
of the crime during his second interview were “either
inaccurate, incorrect, irrelevant, or inadmissible.”
Plaintiff claims that despite this determination, the parole
board has based all of its decisions on the second interview.
Plaintiff also claims that Defendant Runyan told Plaintiff
that he would hand deliver Plaintiff's relapse/recidivism
prevention plan to the parole board, but that Defendant
Runyan failed to deliver the plan. Plaintiff attaches a copy
of a December 12, 2016, letter from the Michigan Parole
Board, which informed Plaintiff that he had been denied
parole for the reasons stated in the Notice of Decision.
seeks an order for an investigation into Plaintiff's
parole proceedings. Plaintiff also seeks to be paroled.
Failure 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); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). 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 (1994).
the Court notes that Plaintiff's claims against the
Michigan Parole Board are barred. The Michigan Parole Board
is part of the Michigan Department of Corrections. Mich.
Comp. Laws ' 791.231a(1). Regardless of the form of
relief requested, the states and their departments are immune
under the Eleventh Amendment from suit in the federal courts,
unless the state has waived immunity or Congress has
expressly abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by statute.
See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman,
465 U.S. 89, 98-101 (1984); Alabama v. Pugh, 438
U.S. 781, 782 (1978); O'Hara v. Wigginton, 24
F.3d 823, 826 (6th Cir. 1994). Congress has not expressly
abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by statute, Quern
v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979), and the State of
Michigan has not consented to civil rights suits in federal
court. Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d 874, 877 (6th
Cir. 1986). Therefore, the Michigan Parole Board, as part of
the Michigan Department of Corrections, is immune from
injunctive and monetary relief. See Horton v.
Martin, 137 F.App'x 773, 775 (6th Cir. 2005)
(Michigan Parole Board entitled to Eleventh Amendment
immunity); Lee v. Mich. Parole Bd., 104 F.App'x
490, 492 (6th Cir. 2004) (same); Fleming v. Martin,
24 F.App'x 258, 259 (6th Cir. 2001) (same).
appears to be claiming that Defendants violated his due
process rights by improperly denying him parole based on a
previous parole interview. 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 sentence, 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