The opinion of the court was delivered by: B. Lynn WINMILLChief Judge United States District Court
This prisoner civil rights case was reassigned to this Court to consider whether dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. Having reviewed the record, the Court enters the following Order.
Plaintiff James R. Stanley (Plaintiff) brings his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the civil rights statute. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute proximately caused by conduct of a person acting under color of state law. Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991).
The Court is required to review in forma pauperis complaints seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A. The Court must dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof that states a frivolous or malicious claim, 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.
Plaintiff is an inmate in custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC). He alleges that, in the course of his parole eligibility proceedings, Parole Hearing Officer Janie St. Paul (Defendant) violated his civil rights when she "not only verbally accused the Plaintiff, of having ten (10) counts of sexual abuse against his victim, but also put it in writing." (Complaint, Dkt. 1, p. 1.) Plaintiff argues that Defendant wrongfully is accusing him of uncharged crimes.
St. Paul submitted this erroneous information to the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole (ICPP). Plaintiff further alleges that he "was denied parole, because of the allegations, the Defendant, wrote, in her report to the Parole Commission, who, denies the Petitioner, parole due to the allegations." (Complaint, p. 2.) Plaintiff has requested monetary damages and removal of incorrect statements from his records.
A. Claims Calling into Question Denial of Parole
In his Complaint, Plaintiff clearly alleges that the wrongful comments caused the ICPP to deny him parole. While certain types of parole claims may be brought as § 1983 claims, others must be asserted in habeas corpus actions because they implicate the bar of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994), where the Court determined that a prisoner in state custody cannot use a civil rights action to challenge the fact or duration of his confinement. See Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74 (2005).
In Wilkinson v. Dotson, the Court determined that an inmate may initiate a § 1983 action to seek invalidation of "state procedures used to deny parole eligibility . . . and parole suitability," but he may not seek "an injunction ordering his immediate or speedier release into the community." Id. at 82. When a state prisoner seeks "a determination that he is entitled to immediate release or a speedier release from . . . imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus." Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973). In Dotson, the Supreme Court noted that its previous cases, "taken together, indicate that a state prisoner's § 1983 action is barred (absent prior invalidation)--no matter the relief sought (damages or equitable relief), no matter the target of the prisoner's suit (state conduct leading to conviction or internal prison proceedings)--if success in that action would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement or its duration. Id. at 81-82.
Here, Plaintiff plainly alleges that he "was denied parole because of the Defendant's report." Because Plaintiff is alleging that he is entitled to be released on parole, and he is alleging the only thing standing in the way of parole is Defendant's report, he clearly challenges the denial of parole, a claim that is ...