United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), 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 for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in
Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains, however, occurred while Plaintiff was confined at
the Ojibway Correctional Facility (OCF) in Marenisco, Gogebic
County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the Michigan Parole Board,
and Parole Hearing Agents Sonia Warchok and Ricardo R. Moore.
alleges that on July 3, 2017, he had a Parole Board interview
via Skype with Defendant Warchok. Plaintiff states that he
had a family member present and that the interview was
recorded. During the interview, Plaintiff stated that he took
full responsibility for his actions and and bore no ill will
toward Rhonda Ives. Plaintiff states that Defendant Warchok
created a false narrative by stating that Plaintiff blamed
the victim and the court. Plaintiff was denied parole on July
6, 2017, and his denial was signed by Defendants Warchok and
Moore (ECF No. 1, PageID.19-20). Plaintiff claims that he has
a constitutionally protected interest in gaining freedom from
imprisonment. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief.
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).
claims that Defendants violated his due process rights by
denying him parole based on a “false narrative”
of Plaintiff's statements during the parole hearing. 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.
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 35-year 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
absence of a liberty interest, Plaintiff fails to state a
claim for a violation of his procedural due process rights.
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that the complaint will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim, under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c). In light of this ...