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Johnson v. United States

December 11, 2008

JAMES F. JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on the defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Educational Good Time Credits

In his original complaint, the plaintiff brings this civil rights action against the United States, the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") and its Director, Harley Lappin, for having allegedly violated his rights guaranteed under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.*fn1 See Complaint ("Compl.") at 1-2.

Without articulating what these rights are, the plaintiff alleges that these defendants "deliberately injured [him] when they failed to apply his District of Columbia earned good time educational credits in the sum totaling 78 days" as required under District of Columbia law.*fn2 Id. at 3. Second, the plaintiff asserts "the right to be compensated for this injury, an [sic] "direct infringement upon his freedom and protected liberty interest," id. at 4, and demands an award of compensatory damages both from the defendants named in this civil action and from the defendants named in a civil action previously filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Id. at 5; see Johnson v. Samuels, No. 06-2233 (NLH), 2007 WL 1575076 (D.N.J. May 30, 2007).

B. Parole Revocation, Release and Halfway House Placement

According to the plaintiff's pleadings, he was released on parole on or about October 23, 2003, and parole was revoked in August 2005. See Amended Complaint ("Amd. Compl.") at 3. After serving a parole violator term, the plaintiff was scheduled for release on or about October 10, 2006 and was to be placed in a halfway house. See id. at 4. It appears that the plaintiff's release was delayed by several months for two reasons. First, it appears that the United States Parole Commission ("Parole Commission") delayed his parole as a result of a disciplinary infraction the plaintiff had committed (Interference with Staff in the Performance of their Duties, Most Like Insolence) while incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix.*fn3 See id., Attach. (April 13, 2007 Notice of Action on Appeal). The plaintiff's parole effective date was rescheduled for August 16, 2007, id., and the Parole Commission directed that the plaintiff be placed in a halfway house for 120 days after his release. Id., Attach. (July 12, 2007 Notice of Action) at 1. A second reason for the plaintiff's delayed parole release appears to be a lack of bed space at a halfway house in the District of Columbia equipped to handle his physical limitations and status as a sex offender. See id. at 4-6.

The plaintiff alleges that defendant Brunson, the Chairman of the United States Parole Commission, acted "in concert with other members of the . . . Parole Commission to deprive [him] of his protected and earned [] liberty interest, of freedoms as he was officially released upon an [sic] grant of parole on or about October 23, 2003, and remained so until such times as on or about August, 2005." Amd. Compl. at 3. Construing the plaintiff's pleading liberally, the Court discerns a claim against the Chairman in his individual and official capacities arising from what the plaintiff characterizes as an unlawful revocation of his parole in 2005 resulting in his service of a parole violator term of unspecified duration. In addition, the plaintiff appears to allege that the Chairman either rescinded a grant of parole or otherwise delayed the plaintiff's release on parole, and after his release, denied the plaintiff "urgen[t]ly needed health procedures" due to his handicap, medical impairment, and age. See id.

The plaintiff alleges that defendant Lappin "conspire[d] to defraud the government of bed space for D.C. offenders being released from custody by not placing them in community corrections centers (halfway house/CCC)[,] transitional houses, and or D.C. shelters for those elderly D.C. prisoners being 'eligible' for release." Amd. Compl. at 3. According to the plaintiff, defendant Buggs, the BOP official responsible for halfway house placements for District of Columbia offenders, "conspire[d] to deprive this [plaintiff] of his properly approved placements in a[] D.C. approved community corrections center, [or] D.C. approved homeless shelter, D.C. approved home detention plan." Id. at 4. The Court presumes that the plaintiff sues these defendants both in their individual and official capacities.

The plaintiff alleges that defendant Ferrell, Director of an organization the plaintiff calls "EFFORTS from Ex-Convicts, Inc.," wrongfully denied him a placement at its halfway house, in spite of its capacity to house sex offenders and its literature suggesting that it is "always . . . in the position to accept persons whom request sheltering because of homelessness." Amd. Compl. at 4. In addition, the plaintiff alleges that defendant Ferrell "conspired to deprive this plaintiff of his e[x]pected liberties [] simply and solely because of his being medically handicapped." Id. at 5. Its halfway house, the plaintiff alleges, has not been remodeled "for the receiving of handicapped persons" in designated sleeping areas. Id.

The plaintiff alleges that defendant Robinson, his Community Supervision Officer, and her supervisor, defendant Powell, both employees of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency ("CSOSA"), were responsible for preparing an acceptable release plan, and "conspired with [defendants Buggs, Ferrell and Ordonez] to deprive [him] of his rights and privileges to be housed in the CCC, home detention, and . . . homeless ex-offender programs, all because of his ability to file and address public officials in the manners of discrimination, abuse, neglect, and constitutional violations imposed upon offenders." Id. at 6. Specially, he alleges that these defendants had approved two placements, see id. & Attach. (July 26, 2007 letter from N.R. Robinson, approved by E. Powell, to J. Ordonez), yet caused the rescission of the plaintiff's parole by "sixty days because of no apparent reason." Id. at 5.

D. Medical Treatment

Generally, the plaintiff alleges that BOP employees Joseph, Miller, Wilkes and Whiget denied him proper treatment for various medical conditions, including "absesses [sic] about [his] rectal area," a "bad heart condition, [and] high blood pressure." Amd. Compl. at 7. This denial of medical treatment and prescription medications, the plaintiff asserts, "did cause [him] severe pain and hardships and fright for [his] life." Id. He attributes the defendants' inaction to his "complain[ts] to the courts and others concerning the ill treatment[] [he] ha[s] ...


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