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Nelson v. Williams

November 9, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge


This matter is before the Court on defendants' motions to dismiss.*fn1 For the reasons discussed below, the motions will be granted.


To better understand plaintiff's situation, it is helpful to review his criminal history and the circumstances under which he currently is incarcerated:

On June 23, 1986, [plaintiff] was sentenced to 21 years imprisonment by the District of Columbia Superior Court for armed robbery. He was paroled from this sentence on April 23, 1998, to remain under supervision until February 14, 2007. [Plaintiff] was subsequently transferred to the jurisdiction of the [United States Parole Commission ("USPC")] pursuant to the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Action of 1997[,("Revitalization Act"), Public Law No. 105-33, § 11231(a)(1), 111 Stat. 712, 745 (1997)]. In 2003, the USPC placed [plaintiff] on "inactive supervision" -- where he was not required to report to a parole officer, but was still on parole.

On June 23, 2006, [plaintiff] was sentenced by the Prince George['s] County Circuit Court in Maryland to a 10 year term of imprisonment for First Degree Assault. As a result of this conviction, the USPC issued a warrant charging [plaintiff] with violating the conditions of parole by committing a law violation.

[Plaintiff] was taken into custody on October 18, 2006, and a parole revocation hearing was conducted on March 7, 2007. The USPC found [plaintiff] to have violated parole conditions and, in response thereto, revoked his parole. It was further ordered that [plaintiff] receive no credit for time spent on parole ("street time") and that he serve to the expiration of his sentence. In so ordering, the USPC applied the guidelines found at 28 C.F.R. § 2.81, § 2.21 and § 2.20 and found that [plaintiff's] parole violation behavior had consisted of assault with serious bodily injury intended. In reaching this decision, the USPC relied on the facts that the victim of the assault was described in the police report as having suffered multiple stab wounds to the stomach, chest and back and also that the victim was transported to the hospital in serious condition. It was also noted that the police report charged [plaintiff] with first degree assault under Maryland's [Criminal] Code at § 3-202. The USPC's decision was affirmed on administrative appeal by the National Appeals Board.

Nelson v. Williamson, No. 3:CV-07-1870, 2007 WL 4592330, at *1 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 28, 2007) (internal citations and footnotes omitted).*fn2

The Court has reviewed plaintiff's complaint, keeping in mind that a pleading filed by a pro se litigant is held to a less stringent standard than that applied to a formal pleading drafted by a lawyer. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). It is impossible to discern from the complaint as drafted which claim(s) plaintiff brings against which defendant(s). Notwithstanding the complaint's near total lack of factual allegations, plaintiff appears to allege that defendants conspired to violate his rights protected under the Ex Post Facto Clause and the First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution with respect to his arrest, parole revocation, and his subsequent return to custody. He demands a declaratory judgment and punitive damages.


A. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain "'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. __, __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); Atherton v. District of Columbia Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S.Ct. 2064 (2010). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal,129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

Although "detailed factual allegations" are not necessary to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, to provide the "grounds" of "entitle[ment] to relief," a plaintiff must furnish "more than labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56; see also Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The Court "need not accept inferences drawn by plaintiffs if such inferences are unsupported by the facts set out in the complaint." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Nor must the Court accept "a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50 (citation omitted). "[A] naked assertion . . ...

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