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Davis v. Giles

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

May 10, 2018

CURTIS DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLETON GILES, Defendant.

          RULING AND ORDER

          Alvin W. Thompson United States District Judge

         The plaintiff, Curtis Davis, is incarcerated at the Enfield Correctional Institution in Enfield, Connecticut. He has filed a civil rights complaint against Charleton Giles, Chairperson of the State of Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles. The defendant has moved to dismiss this action. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint is being dismissed.

         The complaint includes Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection claims, a Fifth Amendment due process claim and a deliberate indifference claim. The defendant moves to dismiss the Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection claims. The court reviews the remaining claims in the complaint sua sponte pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), a district court must review prisoner civil complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss ... any portion of [a] complaint [that] is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or that “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         When considering a motion to dismiss, the court “accepts as true all of the factual allegations set out in [the] complaint, draw[s] inferences from those allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and construes the complaint liberally.” Roth v. Jennings, 489 F.3d 499, 510 (2d Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In addition to the facts set forth in the complaint, the court may also consider documents either attached to the complaint or incorporated into it by reference, “and matters of which a court may take judicial notice.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007).

         In reviewing a complaint sua sponte pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) or in connection with a motion to dismiss, the court applies a “plausibility standard, which is guided by “two working principles.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         First, the requirement that the court accept as true the allegations in the complaint is inapplicable to “labels and [legal] conclusions or . . . naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement . . . [or] [t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Second, to survive dismissal, the complaint must “state[] a plausible claim for relief.” Id. at 679 (citation omitted).

         Determining whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Id. at 678 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Even under this standard, however, the court liberally construes a pro se complaint. See Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (complaint filed by a pro se plaintiff “must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants).

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         The plaintiff alleges that law enforcement officials arrested him on a murder charge on November 15, 1978. See Compl. ¶ 11. He states that a judge subsequently sentenced him to life with the possibility of parole. See Id. ¶ 12. State of Connecticut Department of Correction records reflect that the plaintiff is serving a maximum term of imprisonment of 999 years, 999 months and 999 days pursuant to a sentence imposed on March 14, 1980 for murder.[1]

         The plaintiff claims that the parole board eventually released him on parole. See Compl. ¶ 13. On December 14, 2011, law enforcement officials arrested him for absconding, a parole violation. See Id. ¶¶ 14, 23. He participated in a parole revocation hearing on February 16, 2012, and a judge revoked his parole because he had engaged in violations of the conditions of his parole, including absconding. See Id. ¶¶ 14-15, 23.

         The parole board scheduled the plaintiff for a hearing on March 18, 2015, to review his future eligibility for release on parole. See Id. ¶¶ 16-17. On that date, the plaintiff participated in a “discretionary proceeding.” Id. ¶ 17.

         The parole board denied him release on parole. See Id. ¶ 18.

         The plaintiff claims that he has no new date for a hearing to consider his release on parole. See Id. ¶ 19. He seeks both declaratory and injunctive relief from the defendant in his official capacity. See Id. at 5 (Relief Requested - A, B & C).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The defendant construes the complaint as raising a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim related to the March 2015 parole hearing and a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim related to the March 2015 parole hearing. The court construes the complaint as also asserting a Fifth Amendment due process claim related to the February 2012 parole revocation hearing and the March 2015 parole hearing, a Fourteenth Amendment claim related to the February 2012 parole revocation hearing and a deliberate indifference claim.

         In support of his motion to dismiss, the defendant argues that the plaintiff has failed to serve him in his official capacity; the requested injunctive and declaratory relief are unavailable; the plaintiff failed to state a claim for violation of procedural due process rights because he has no liberty interest in parole or a parole hearing; and the plaintiff has failed to state a claim for violation of his equal protection rights. The plaintiff has filed a response to the motion to dismiss.

         A. Fifth Amendment ...


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