United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
CIVIL RIGHTS 42 U.S.C. § 1983
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
T. WALKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
is a state prisoner who, pro se, seeks relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 from the members of the Georgia Board of Pardons
and Paroles (the "Parole Board") and an
unidentified "Subject Matter expert"
("SME") on parole guidelines. (Doc. 1.) The Court
granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis
and now must screen his complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
federal court must screen a prisoner's complaint to
determine whether the action: (1) is frivolous or malicious;
(2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. To state a claim
for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege facts plausibly showing that: (1) an act or omission
deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by
the Constitution or a statute of the United States; and (2)
the deprivation occurred under color of state law.
Richardson v. Johnson, 598 F.3d 734, 737 (11th Cir.
2010). If the alleged facts do not state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face, the complaint must be
dismissed. Edwards v. Prime, Inc., 602 F.3d 1276,
1291 (11th Cir. 2010).
following allegations are taken from Plaintiffs complaint and
presumed true for purposes of the § 1915A screening.
See Hughes v. Lott, 350 F.3d 1157, 1159-60 (11th
Cir. 2003); (Doc. 1 at 3-4.) The unidentified SME prepared a
parole document showing Plaintiffs risk factors and
calculating his risk score for parole. "With cruel
intention," the SME falsely stated in the document that
Plaintiff was not employed at the time of his arrest. (Doc. 1
SME's false statement regarding employment adversely
affected the risk score he calculated and his recommendation
regarding parole. (Id.) Using the false information,
the SME recommended parole after twenty-two months of
imprisonment, which was July 2017. If the SME had calculated
the score with the correct information - that Plaintiff was
employed at the time of his arrest - his recommendation would
have been parole after nineteen months of imprisonment, which
was April 201 7.
Parole Board used the document the SME prepared to determine
Plaintiffs tentative parole date. The Parole Board accepted
the SME's recommendation and set the tentative parole
date in July 2017. Plaintiff fled an appeal of that decision,
but the Parole Board has not acted on it. Plaintiff is still
in prison and does not state why the Parole Board decided not
to parole him in July 2017.
addition to his complaint that "the (SME) lied" on
the document submitted to the Parole Board, Plaintiff
"feel[s]" like [he] was stereotyped."
(Id. at 4.) Plaintiff says it is "[a]s if the
SME said, 'oh, this is a black guy, he probably
didn't have a job' [i]nstead of ... referring to the
right information." (Id.)
seeks two forms of relief from Defendants. (Id.)
First, he seeks $1.2 million "for lost time and painful
hardship." (Id.) Second, he seeks "to be
released from prison with no parole or probation."
Georgia state prisoner does not have a liberty interest in
parole, and he may not pursue a claim in federal court
alleging that the Parole Board's exercise of its
discretion to deny him parole was a violation of his due
process rights. See Jones v. Ray, 279 F.3d 944, 946
(11th Cir. 2001) (holding that a Georgia prisoner's due
process claim regarding his parole determination was
"foreclosed" because "a Georgia inmate has no
liberty interest in parole"). A due process claim is
viable only if the Parole Board takes flagrant or
unauthorized action that causes a prisoner harm. Monroe
v. Thigpen, 932 F.2d 1437, 1441 (11th Cir. 1991). As
relevant here, the Parole Board may not "rely on
knowingly false information in their determinations."
Id. at 1442.
complaint does not state a viable due process claim for at
least two reasons. First, Plaintiff filed to allege facts
that would support a finding that the Parole Board knew the
SME used false information to prepare his recommendation.
Plaintiff alleges that the SME knew the employment
information was false, but does not allege any facts to
support a finding that the other Defendants - the Parole
Board members who made the parole decision - knew that
information was false or even saw the SME's statement
regarding employment. The claim fails for that reason alone.
See id.; Order, Dixon v. State Bd. of Pardons
and Parole, No. 1:01-cv-599-JEC, at *3 (N.D.Ga. Apr. 19,
2001) (dismissing under § 19 l 5A claim that parole
board relied on false information to deny parole where
prisoner's allegations did not support a finding
"that the Board knew the information was false");
see also Kennedy v. Thomas, No. 7:12-CV-311-SLB-TMP,
2013 WL 5933651, at *4 (N.D. Ala. Nov. 4, 2013) (observing
that "it is a violation of the Due Process clause for a
parole authority to deny parole on the basis of
knowingly false information" and that a parole
board "may not use information it knows to be
false to deny parole" (emphasis in original));
Sullivan v. Williams, No. 2:05-CV-1033-MEF, 2008 WL
4007020, at *7 (M.D. Ala. Aug. 26, 2008) ("[T]he law is
clear that the Board may not rely on information they know to
be false to deny an inmate parole.").
the allegations in the complaint do not support a finding
that the false information the SME allegedly used harmed
Plaintiff. Although Plaintiff contends that if the SME had
used the correct information, the parole date would have been
April 2017 rather than July 2017, however, Plaintiff was not
paroled in July 2017, which was the latest date. Instead, the
Parole Board obviously decided not to parole Plaintiff even
then, and his complaint does not shed any light on that
decision. There are not any allegations supporting a finding
that Plaintiff is still in prison, and has not been paroled,
because the Parole Board used (knowingly or not) false
information. See Gravitt v. Snow, No.
1:90-CV-1023-CAM, 1990 WL 477403, at *7 (N.D.Ga. Nov. 27,
1990) ("Moreover, if there is no indication that the
Board relied dispositively on the false information in its
parole determination, then plaintiffs' claim must
also has not stated a viable equal protection claim. To state
such a claim, a prisoner must allege facts supporting a
plausible finding that "(1) he is similarly situated
with other prisoners who received more favorable treatment;
and (2) his discriminatory treatment was based on some
constitutionally protected interest such as race."
Jones, 279 F.3d at 946-47 (quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff alleged only that he "feel[s] like" the
SME engaged in racial stereotyping when he falsely stated
that Plaintiff was not employed at the time of his arrest.
(Doc. 1 at 4.) Plaintiff did not identify any prisoners of a
different race (or any other prisoners) whom the SME treated
differently or allege any facts to support a finding that the
SME used false information because of Plaintiffs race.
Plaintiffs conclusory allegation that he feels like the SME
stereotyped him is speculation, which is not sufficient to
state a viable claim. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) ("Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level .. .."); Fuller v. Ga. State
Bd. of Pardons and Paroles, 851 F.2d 1307, 1310 (11th
Cir. 1988) (holding that because the parole decision is based
on many factors, a prisoner must show that he is similarly
situated to other prisoners as to those specific factors and
not merely in the abstract).
even if Plaintiff had stated a viable claim, he cannot obtain
the relief he seeks. Defendants are immune from monetary
damages. See Fuller, 851 F .2d at 1310 ("[T]he
individual members of the Parole Board are entitled to
absolute quasi-judicial immunity from a suit for
damages."). Additionally, Plaintiff cannot obtain the
other relief he seeks - release from prison - under §
1983. See Preiser v. Rodriguez,411 U.S. 475, 487-90
(1973) (holding that habeas corpus is the exclusive remedy
for a state prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of
his confinement). A claim for release from confinement ...