Lindsey v. Brownlee et al
ORDER OF DISMISSAL, pltf's complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; dismissal constitutes a "strike" pursuant to 28 USC 1915(g); judgment will be entered accordingly. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 5/10/11. (vjt)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JOSEPH LEE LINDSEY, JR.,
No. 4:11CV00360 JLH
LEROY BROWNLEE, Chairman,
Arkansas Parole Board, et al.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff, Joseph Lee Lindsey, Jr., is a prisoner in the Wrightsville Unit of the Arkansas
Department of Correction. He has commenced this pro se § 1983 action alleging that Defendants,
all of whom are members of the Arkansas Parole Board, violated his constitutional rights.
See docket entry #2. Pursuant to the screening function mandated by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the case
will be dismissed, with prejudice, for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.1
Plaintiff alleges that, on January 27, 2011 and February 20, 2011, Defendants violated his
Fourteenth Amendment right to due process of law when they deferred making a parole decision
until after he completed the Substance Abuse Treatment Program. See docket entry #2.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires federal courts to screen prisoner complaints
seeking relief against a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court
must dismiss a complaint or a portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that: (a) are legally
frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (c) seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
The Court is mindful that, when making this determination, the court must “accept as true
all factual allegations in the complaint, [while] giving no effect to conclusory allegations of law.”
Stalley v. Catholic Health Initiatives, 509 F.3d 517, 521 (8th Cir. 2007). Importantly, the complaint
must “assert facts that affirmatively and plausibly suggest,” Id., “above the speculative level,” that
the plaintiff is entitled to relief and mere conclusions or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of
a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-63, 127 S. Ct. 1955,
1965-69 (2007) (abrogating the “no set of facts” standard set forth in Conely v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
45-46, 78 S. Ct. 99, 101-02 (1957)). Nevertheless, in Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.
Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), the Supreme Court emphasized that a pro se prisoner’s § 1983 complaint
must be “liberally construed” and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
Plaintiff has failed to state a viable § 1983 claim for two reasons. First, it is well settled that
parole board members are entitled to absolute immunity in considering and deciding parole
questions. See Deloria v. Lightenberg, 400 Fed. App’x 117 (8th Cir. 2010); Ambrose v. Schultz,
215 Fed. App’x 564 (8th Cir. 2007); Figg v. Russell, 433 F.3d 593, 598 (8th Cir. 2006); Anton v.
Getty, 78 F.3d 393, 396 (8th Cir. 1996).
Second, a prisoner has a liberty interest in parole, and thus a right to due process of law, only
if the state statutes or regulations place substantive limitations on the exercise of official discretion
or are phrased in mandatory terms. See Board of Pardons v. Allen, 482 U.S. 369, 373-81 (1987);
Greenholtz v. Inmates of Neb. Penal & Corr. Complex, 442 U.S. 1, 7 (1979). The Eighth Circuit has
held that the Arkansas parole statutes are purely discretionary and do not establish any right to
release on parole which would invoke due process protection. Hamilton v. Brownlee, 237 Fed.
App’x 114 (8th Cir. 2007); Pittman v. Gaines, 905 F.2d 199, 200-01 (8th Cir. 1990); Parker v.
Corrothers, 750 F.2d 653, 655-57 (8th Cir. 1984).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
Pursuant to the screening process mandated by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this case is
DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE, for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Dismissal CONSTITUTES a “strike” pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
The Court CERTIFIES, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an in forma
pauperis appeal from this Order of Dismissal and the accompanying Judgment would not be taken
in good faith.
DATED this 10th day of May, 2011.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?