United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Robert Parkman (“Parkman”), currently confined at
Brooklyn Correctional Institution in Brooklyn, Connecticut,
filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging, inter alia, violation of his due
process rights. Parkman names two defendants, State of
Connecticut Superior Court GA 14 Court Operations John Doe
and Commissioner of Correction Rollin Cook. He challenges his
violation of probation adjudication and his subsequent
placement in a sex offender treatment unit at the Department
of Correction. Parkman seeks damages and unspecified
injunctive relief. The complaint was received on October 7,
2019, and Parkman's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis was granted on October 17, 2019.
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the
Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that
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. In reviewing a pro se
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the
allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). Although detailed allegations are not required,
the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the
defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief.
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
August 2, 2016, Parkman appeared in Hartford Superior Court,
GA 14, for a violation of probation hearing. Doc. No. 1
¶ 1. Parkman met with a court-appointed lawyer and
explained that he did not have “sex offender
probation.” Id. The lawyer advised Parkman
that if he pled guilty to the violation, he would be
released. Id. Parkman alleges that, due to a
conflict of interest, the lawyer was representing the court
rather than Parkman. Id. The judge determined that
Parkman had violated probation by not complying with
“sex offender S.M.U. unit, ” a condition that was
not part of the original plea agreement. Id.
states that he was confused during the plea canvas but
pleaded as his attorney recommended, assuming he would then
be released. Id. ¶ 2. The judge belittled
Parkman “as if [he] was the problem” and said
that Parkman would be taking a ride. Id. Parkman was
sentenced to a sex offender unit for treatment and is now
confined at Brooklyn Correctional Institution. Id.
Parkman was not told that he would be confined if he pleaded
guilty. Id. ¶ 3. He takes issue with the
Court's conduct and the canvas at this plea.
alleges that his sentence violates due process and is illegal
because confinement in the sex offender unit violates his
right to be free from double jeopardy. Id.
¶¶ 6-7. He also asserts that the state court cannot
modify the conditions of his probation without a hearing and
a showing of good cause. Id. ¶ 5.
seeks damages and unspecified injunctive relief. First, if
the injunctive relief includes a release from custody, it is
not cognizable in a §1983 action. It is well established
that where a state prisoner challenges the fact of his
imprisonment and seeks relief in the form of an order for his
immediate or speedier release from custody, he cannot bring
suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; he must file a petition for
writ of habeas corpus. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S.475, 500 (1973).
Parkman's claims for damages cognizable in this action.
In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the
Supreme Court held that in order for a prisoner to recover
damages under section 1983 arising out of an unconstitutional
conviction or imprisonment, he “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.” Id. at 486-87. When evaluating
such a claim, “the district court must consider whether
a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply
the invalidity of his conviction or sentence; if it would,
the complaint must be dismissed unless the plaintiff can show
that the conviction or sentence has already been
invalidated.” Id. at 487. Further, in
Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74 (2005), the Supreme
Court explained that a §1983 action is barred regardless
of the relief sought if success in the lawsuit would
necessarily establish the invalidity of confinement or the
duration of that confinement. Id. at 81-82.
alleges that he was found to have violated his probation for
failure to comply with conditions relating to sex offender
treatment and he was returned to prison in a sex offender
unit when sex offender treatment was not a condition of his
probation. In order to prevail on this claim, the trier of
fact would have to find that Parkman's violation of
probation adjudication and sentence to a sex offender
treatment unit violated the Double Jeopardy Clause, or that
imposition of this condition was an improper modification of
his probationary sentence. Such a finding would necessarily
imply the invalidity of the probation revocation proceeding.
See, e.g., Cougle v. County of DeSoto, Miss., 303
Fed.Appx. 164, 165 (5th Cir. 2008) (affirming
grant of summary judgment under Heck where complaint
challenging search and arrest would necessarily imply
invalidity of revocation of probation); Williams v. Texas
Criminal Dist. Court No. 3, No. 4:14-CV-863-A, 2014 WL
7398947, at *2 (N.D. Tex. Dec. 30, 2014) (dismissing as
frivolous under Heck a claim challenging validity of
probation revocation); Wilson v. Satori, No.
11-1400, 2012 WL 4111650, at *3 (W.D. Pa. Aug. 16, 2012)
(dismissing complaint because plaintiff had not pleaded that
his probation revocation had been called into question),
report and recommendation adopted by, 2012 WL
4111697 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 18, 2012); see also, e.g., Morse
v. Nelson, No., 2010 WL 466157, at *3 (D. Conn. Feb. 9,
2010) (applying Heck requirement to revocation of
Parkman does not allege facts suggesting that his probation
revocation proceeding has been declared invalid under one of
the criteria set forth in Heck, his claims ...