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Lamarr v. Murphy

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Elkins

June 19, 2017

LASHAN DWAYNE LAMARR, Plaintiff,
v.
BENITA FAYE MURPHY; CRYSTAL LOVE; MICHAEL McCARTHY; MICHAEL J. TRUPO, W.Va. Parole Board Member; HILLARY BROWN, Charleston Police Officer; and D. McKINLEY, Charleston Parole Officer, Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          John Preston Bailey, Judge

         On this day, the above-styled matter came before this Court for consideration of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble. [Doc. 6]. Pursuant to this Court's Local Rules, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge Trumble for submission of a proposed Report and Recommendation (“R&R”). Magistrate Judge Trumble filed his R&R on October 28, 2016, wherein he recommends this Court dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint as frivolous and dismiss Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis as moot.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c), this Court is required to make a de novo review of those portions of the magistrate judge's findings to which an objection is made.

         However, this Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In addition, failure to file timely objections constitutes a waiver of de novo review and the right to appeal this Court's Order. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Snyder v. Ridenour, 889 F.2d 1363, 1366 (4th Cir. 1989); United States v. Schronce, 727 F.2d 91, 94 (4th Cir. 1984). Here, objections to Magistrate Judge Trumble's R&R were due within fourteen (14) days of service, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The docket reflects that service was accepted on October 31, 2016. [Doc. 8]. Plaintiff timely filed his Objection on November 9, 2016. [Doc. 9]. Accordingly, this Court will review the portions of the R&R to which Plaintiff objects under a de novo standard of review. The remainder of the R&R will be reviewed for clear error.

         After reviewing as discussed above, this Court is of the opinion that the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation should be and is hereby ORDERED ADOPTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was incarcerated in St. Mary's Correctional Center after being convicted of: (1) 1st Degree Robbery; (2) Bank Robbery; (3) Child Neglect Causing Serious Risk of Injury or Death; and (4) Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Plaintiff was granted a release on parole on July 7, 2015. On February 10, 2016, an Order of Revocation of Parole was entered against Plaintiff by the Parole Board. This Order found Plaintiff guilty of five violations of the Rules and Regulations governing his parole including: (1) failing to complete an alcohol/substance abuse treatment program; (2) changing his residence without notifying his parole officer; (3) threatening the safety of Jerica Taylor by physically assaulting her; (4) failing to register with the West Virginia State Police within three days of release; and (5) manifesting behavior which threatened the safety of himself and others that could result in imprisonment by being arrested for the offense of domestic battery. [Doc. 6]. The Order also stated that Plaintiff would again be eligible for parole in December 2016. [Id.]. Magistrate Judge Trumble's R&R notes that Plaintiff's projected release date was May 14, 2017. [Id.]. According to the West Virginia Division of Correction's website, this projection was accurate, as Plaintiff is no longer listed as being in custody.

         Plaintiff alleges that the revocation of his parole represented a violation of his rights to due process and equal protection under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Doc. 1]. As relief, Plaintiff requests immediate release and monetary damages. [Id.]. However, the request for immediate release would now be moot as Plaintiff has already been released. Additionally, Plaintiff requests a jury trial for declaratory judgment curtailing “this activity in the future.” Finally, Plaintiff seeks expungement and “to be prevented from stepping foot in the State of West Virginia ever again!” [Id.].

         Plaintiff begins his Objection with an admission that this action is premature and that the West Virginia Supreme Court has already been tasked with resolving the issue of the validity of the Revocation via Plaintiff's request that the Supreme Court issue a writ of mandamus compelling production by the West Virginia Attorney General. [Doc. 9]. This is the same production Plaintiff hopes to achieve through compelling discovery via his Objection. [Id.]. Next, Plaintiff reaches what appears to be his primary objection, that the Complaint is not only against the defendants in their official capacities, but in their individual capacities as well. According to Plaintiff, this should permit Plaintiff to reach the discovery process regardless of whether the action is frivolous and, therefore, moot. Plaintiff wishes to reach the discovery process as he believes it would allow him to discover evidence which would lead to the invalidation of the Revocation of Parole. [Id.]. The Objection ends with a lengthy list of cases asserting that due process should apply in Plaintiff's situation. However, this list seems to be incomplete as it is cut off in the middle of a citation. Further, the Objection contains no signature page. [Id.].

         II. DISCUSSION

         In his R&R, Magistrate Judge Trumble engages in an in-depth discussion of the development of the body of law surrounding 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as it intersects with the federal habeas corpus statute, specifically the attempts of prisoners to use § 1983 to gain immediate release or damages by challenging the constitutionality of their convictions. [Doc. 6]. However, the issue of Plaintiff's request for immediate release from the St. Mary's Correctional Center is now moot, as Plaintiff's release has already been secured, and does not warrant further discussion. This leaves only Plaintiff's claim for damages stemming from his allegation of a violation of due process. [Id.]. Plaintiff objects that this request for relief should be allowed to move forward against the defendants in their individual capacities to allow him to reach the discovery stage, regardless of mootness. [Doc. 9].

         A. Applicable Law

         A claim made by a state prisoner is not cognizable under § 1983 if a favorable outcome would necessarily imply the invalidity of the challenged judgment, here the Revocation of Parole. Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 656-68 (1997). In his R&R, Magistrate Judge Trumble delivers a thorough explanation of the case law leading to the Supreme Court's decision in Edwards, which does not require repetition. [Doc. 6]. In Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74 (2005), the Supreme Court evaluated this chain of case law, and put forth the following synopsis:

[A] state prisoner's ยง 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 ...

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