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Kinard v. Eagan

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

May 24, 2018




         I. Introduction This is a civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and without prepayment of the filing fee, is suing defendants Michael Eagan, chairman of the Michigan Parole Board; parole board members Abigail A. Callejas, Jerome Warfield, Jr., and Edwin M. Heap1; probation agents Michael E. Ulch and Moran McClure; Jackson County Circuit Judge Susan E. Beebe-Jordan; and unnamed persons identified only as John and Jane Doe(s). In broad terms, plaintiff challenges procedures used at his probation-violation hearing, as well as, the Michigan Parole Board's practices, procedures, and zero-tolerance policy and its decision not to release him on parole. As will be explained, none of plaintiff's claims state a viable claim for relief. Accordingly, the complaint will be dismissed.

         II. Legal Standard

         A district court is required to screen an indigent prisoner's civil complaint and dismiss the complaint or any portion of it that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1); Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). "A complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true, show the plaintiff is not entitled to relief." Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).

         While a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, " the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and citations omitted). In other words, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, 'to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         To make out a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must show "(1) that he or she was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of law." Robertson v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614 (6th Cir. 2014).

         III. The Complaint

         As gleaned from the complaint and exhibits, plaintiff was convicted of larceny in a building and sentenced to probation. In 2015, the state court found he violated the terms of probation, revoked his probation, and sentenced him to prison. On March 31, 2017, the Michigan Parole Board (MPB) declined to release plaintiff on parole for at least another twelve months. Plaintiff challenged the MPB's use of certain factors in making its decision. The MPB removed the factors but still upheld its decision that plaintiff was not entitled to release on parole. On July 13, 2018, plaintiff will be reconsidered for parole.

         Plaintiff make several claims challenging the denial of his release on parole. He claims that the defendants: (1) violated his First Amendment right not to be retaliated against for filing grievances; (2) violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and equal treatment by discriminating against him because he is a black man; (3) conspired to violate his constitutional rights by using a zero-tolerance policy and other practices and procedures; (4) violated his right of confrontation at his probation-violation hearing when they relied on a police report to convict him; (5) engaged in an abuse of process; (6) violated his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself; (7) conspired to kidnap him and take him hostage; (8) concealed their wrongful acts from him; (9, 11) breached their contracts and oath of office; and (10) should be stopped from (a) retaliating against him, (b) referring to this lawsuit, and (c) enforcing the Michigan Prisoner Reimbursement Act.

         IV. Discussion

         Plaintiff's claims fail to state a claim for several reasons. First, to the extent plaintiff is challenging the fact or duration of his physical imprisonment and seeks immediate release or a speedier release from custody, his claims would be more appropriate in a petition for the writ of habeas corpus, following exhaustion of any available state remedies. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499, n.14, 500 (1973).

         While it is true that plaintiff has not asked directly for release from custody,

to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove 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, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for ...

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