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Smith v. Rawson

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 23, 2019



          David C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge

         The Clerk of Court conditionally filed Plaintiff Chadlen DeWayne Smith’s Complaint as a result of Plaintiff’s status as an inmate and in forma pauperis request. The Court now reviews the Complaint to determine whether it or any of the claims contained therein should be summarily dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. Having reviewed the record, and otherwise being fully informed, the Court enters the following Order.


         1. Screening Requirement

         The Court must review complaints filed by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity, as well as complaints filed in forma pauperis, to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. The Court must dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof that states a frivolous or malicious claim, fails to state a claim upon 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) & 1915A(b).

         2. Pleading Standard

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint fails to state a claim for relief under Rule 8 if the factual assertions in the complaint, taken as true, are insufficient for the reviewing court plausibly “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” 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.” Id. In other words, although Rule 8 “does not require detailed factual allegations, ... it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). If the facts pleaded are “merely consistent with a defendant’s liability, ” or if there is an “obvious alternative explanation” that would not result in liability, the complaint has not stated a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Id. at 678, 682 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Plaintiff brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the civil rights statute. To state a plausible civil rights claim, 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). To be liable under § 1983, “the defendant must possess a purposeful, a knowing, or possibly a reckless state of mind.” Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2472 (2015). Negligence is not actionable under § 1983, because a negligent act by a public official is not an abuse of governmental power but merely a “failure to measure up to the conduct of a reasonable person.” Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332 (1986).

         3. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), currently incarcerated at the Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC). Plaintiff asserts that Defendants have violated his constitutional rights in the following ways.

         On or about September 1, 2010, Defendants wrongfully labelled him a “sex offender” based only on charges and not a conviction-all without due process of law. He was forced to live in a sex offender housing unit and to undergo sex offender treatment (SOTP) while in prison. He had to complete a Static 99 test for sex offenders, even though he was never convicted of a sex offense.

         On June 8, 2015, the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole (ICPP) granted Plaintiff an open parole date contingent upon him completing the SOTP. Plaintiff was told he would also be subject to sex offender parole conditions if released. Plaintiff was released from prison on November 3, 2016, and paroled to Washington under the Interstate Compact. Plaintiff was returned to prison on March 16, 2017.

         On June 29, 2017, Plaintiff was paroled to Idaho. He was required to follow the IDOC sex offender agreement of supervision program, with no due process opportunity to demonstrate that he should not be subject to such conditions because he was not a sex offender. Plaintiff asserts that the conditions of parole exceeded the standards set by the “stigma plus” test.[1] Plaintiff asserts that Idaho Probation and Parole Officer (PPO) Lori Rawson and Matt Keeler repeatedly retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights during his parole.

         It appears that Plaintiff was trying to gain approval to be paroled to Washington again during the time he was on parole to Idaho. Plaintiff alleges that, on an unspecified date, Defendants Rebecca Shrum and Judy Mesick falsely claimed that he was noncompliant with his parole conditions, and they refused to process his Interstate Compact paperwork unless he came into compliance. Their actions were based on Rawson’s assertion that Plaintiff was noncompliant because of a Facebook account bearing Plaintiff’s name and containing his photos. Plaintiff asserted that his father created and maintained the Facebook account and that it would be a violation of his father’s First Amendment rights to prevent his father from maintaining that account. Rawson threatened Plaintiff and his father with violating Plaintiff’s parole if the account was not deleted. On November 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a grievance over this issue.

         Another of Plaintiff’s grievances arose from a January 20, 2017 “full disclosure polygraph” test. He was asked about prior incidents of child sexual abuse for which he had never been charged and/or convicted, and he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. He asserts that, eleven months later, Rawson falsified information in a “Special Progress Report Warning Letter, ” falsified a response on a grievance he wrote, and falsified a “Level of Service Inventory” about Plaintiff. As a result, Rawson, Keeler and Supervisor Jeff Schraeder wrongfully required Plaintiff to complete a six-month-long substance abuse program and to agree to ten additional parole conditions to remain on parole.

         Plaintiff asserts that Rawson and Keeler retaliated against him for having filed grievances to protect exercise of his First and Fifth Amendment rights, and that they otherwise harassed him in various ways. Plaintiff also asserts that Keeler violated his right to be free from double jeopardy by punishing him twice for one incident of not being at his residence during curfew hours-with discretionary jail time and an electronic ankle monitoring device.[2] After Plaintiff filed grievances about this incident, he was arrested on parole violations-Plaintiff asserts that is arrest was retaliation for the grievances he filed against the PPOs.

         On January 11, 2018, Thomas Knoff, an IDOC parole violation hearing officer, found Plaintiff guilty of one parole violation. Plaintiff asserts that Knoff was in conspiracy with Rawson and Keeler, because Knoff found him guilty in the absence of any evidence supporting Knoff’s finding. On November 29, 2018, Knoff prepared a parole violation findings report for the ICPP that contained falsified information. Plaintiff asserts that Knoff retaliated against him for invoking his Fifth Amendment rights on the “full disclosure polygraph.” Plaintiff asserts that he complained of the violation of his rights to Defendant Dylan Hobson, the IDOC Deputy Chief of the Probation and Parole Division. Hobson took no action to prevent further retaliation or to provide reparation to Plaintiff, finding that Plaintiff’s claims had no merit. Plaintiff also asserts that Hobson manipulated information on Plaintiff’s grievances and relied on false information to deny Plaintiff’s claims.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants’ acts violated his rights under the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause. He also asserts state law claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

         4. Discussion of ...

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