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. §
l997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff spro se
complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiffs 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
Plaintiffs complaint against Defendants for failure to state
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Ojibway Correctional Facility (OCF)
in Marenisco, Michigan. The events about which he complains
occurred while incarcerated at that facility. Plaintiff sues
the Michigan Parole Board, Parole Hearing Agents Susan A.
Wilson, Edwin M. Heap, Jerome Warfield, and Abigail A.
Callejas. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have denied him
parole in violation of his due process rights. 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.'" BellAtl. 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 plaintiffs 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. §§ l9l5A(b)(1) and l9l5(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 Defendant violated his due process rights by
failing to provide valid substantial and compelling reasons
for departing from the parole guidelines when denying 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 Carries v.
Engler, 76 F. App'x 79, 80 (6th Cir. 2003). In
addition, the Sixth Circuit has rej ected 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 22-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 Plaintiffs complaint will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim, under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and l9l5A(b), and42US.C. §
Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would
be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). SeeMcGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court
dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis
for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the
Court will assess the $505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant
to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at
610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in
forma pauperis, e.g., by ...