Sartin v. Whalen
SCREENING ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge William E Duffin on 1/5/2021. The plaintiff Leandrew Sartin's motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee (ECF No. 3 ) is GRANTED. This case is DISMISSED under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)(1). Sartin shall pay the $348.53 balance of the filing fee as he is able. (cc: all counsel and mailed to pro se party)(mlm)
NITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
Case No. 20-CV-1227
Plaintiff Leandrew Sartin, a former Wisconsin state inmate, filed a pro se
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendant violated his
constitutional rights by miscalculating his release date. This order resolves Sartin’s
motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee and screens his complaint.
The court has jurisdiction to resolve Sartin’s motion and to screen the
complaint in light of Sartin’s consent to the full jurisdiction of a magistrate judge and
the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s limited consent to the exercise of magistrate
judge jurisdiction as set forth in the Memorandum of Understanding between the
Wisconsin Department of Justice and this court.
1. Motion for Leave to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing Fee
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because Sartin
was a prisoner when he filed his complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(h). The PLRA allows
the court to give a prisoner plaintiff the ability to proceed with his case without
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prepaying the civil case filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). When funds exist, the
prisoner must pay an initial partial filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). He must then
pay the balance of the $350 filing fee over time, through deductions from his prisoner
account as long as he is in custody. Id.
On August 13, 2020, the court ordered Sartin to pay an initial partial filing fee
of $1.47. (ECF No. 8.) Sartin paid that fee on September 8, 2020. The court will grant
Sartin’s motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee. He must pay the
remainder of the filing fee as he is able.
2. Screening the Complaint
2.1 Federal Screening Standard
Under the PLRA, the court must screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint if the prisoner raises
claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious,” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the court applies the
same standard that applies to dismissals under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). See Cesal v. Moats, 851 F.3d 714, 720 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing Booker-El v.
Superintendent, Ind. State Prison, 668 F.3d 896, 899 (7th Cir. 2012)). To state a claim,
a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must contain
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enough facts, accepted as true, to “state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 a plaintiff must allege that
someone deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United
States, and that whoever deprived him of this right was acting under the color of state
law. D.S. v. E. Porter Cty. Sch. Corp., 799 F.3d 793, 798 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing
Buchanan-Moore v. Cty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009)). The court
construes pro se complaints liberally and holds them to a less stringent standard than
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Cesal, 851 F.3d at 720 (citing Perez v. Fenoglio, 792
F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir. 2015)).
2.2 Sartin’s Allegations
Sartin is suing Erin Whelan, the records department supervisor at the
Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF), because he believes she tampered with
his sentence computation, affecting his release date. Sartin was incarcerated because
of two cases: 09CF841 and 11CF435. His sentences were concurrent. He was arrested
on April 24, 2019 for violating his parole.
As best the court can understand, Sartin contends that his sentence credits
were not properly applied to his cases, resulting in a release date later than he should
have been released. It seems that, because his sentences were concurrent, the MSDF
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records office had to amend the revocation order (it is not clear precisely why this
needed to be done). In the process, his good time credits—totaling 117 days—were
never applied when calculating his release date. His revocation sentence was 18
months and his start date was either April 22, 2019, or April 24, 2019, meaning that
his October 22, 2020 release date, according to Sartin, could not have included the
117 days of credit. He alleges he was held in prison longer than he should have been
due to this miscalculation.
Sartin’s claim—one that contests the fact or duration of confinement—cannot
be brought under § 1983. Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670–71 (7th Cir. 2006). The
only avenue a prisoner has for making such a challenge is filing a petition for a writ
of habeas corpus. Id. at 671 (citing Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994)).
https://appsdoc.wi.gov/lop/ (showing Sartin was released on extended supervision on
October 20, 2020). Until recently, plaintiffs could seek relief related to the fact or
duration of their confinement if habeas relief was no longer available to them because
they were no longer in custody. However, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
recently held that prisoners are barred from bringing such claims under § 1983
“regardless of the availability of habeas relief.” Savory v. Cannon, 947 F.3d 409, 430
(7th Cir. 2020). The court went on: “We disavow the language in any case that
suggests that release from custody and the unavailability of habeas relief means that
section 1983 must be available as a remedy.” Id. at 431. Therefore, the fact that Sartin
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is no longer in custody and habeas relief is no longer available to him does not mean
he can bring this claim under § 1983. Because his complaint brings a claim that is
not permissible under § 1983, the court will dismiss the case.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that Sartin’s motion for leave to proceed
without prepaying the filing fee (ECF No. 3) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b)(1) because the complaint brings a claim challenging
the fact or duration of confinement.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Sartin pay the $348.53 balance of the filing
fee as he is able.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court enter judgment
This order and the judgment to follow are final. A dissatisfied party may appeal
this court’s decision to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by filing in this
court a notice of appeal within thirty days of the entry of judgment. See Fed. R. of
App. P. 3, 4. This court may extend this deadline if a party timely requests an
extension and shows good cause or excusable neglect for not being able to meet the
thirty-day deadline. See Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(5)(A).
Under limited circumstances, a party may ask this court to alter or amend its
judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or ask for relief from judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). Any motion under Federal Rule of Civil
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Procedure 59(e) must be filed within twenty-eight days of the entry of judgment. The
court cannot extend this deadline. See Fed. R. Civ P. 6(b)(2). Any motion under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) must be filed within a reasonable time,
generally no more than one year after the entry of the judgment. The court cannot
extend this deadline. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(b)(2).
A party is expected to closely review all applicable rules and determine, what,
if any, further action is appropriate in a case.
Dated at Milwaukee, Wisconsin this 5th day of January, 2021.
WILLIAM E. DUFFIN
U.S. Magistrate Judge
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