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Harris v. Fulwood

United States District Court, District Circuit

May 15, 2012

RONNIE L. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
ISAAC FULWOOD, JR. et al., Defendants.


AMY BERMAN JACKSON United States District Judge

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, challenges on constitutional grounds his parole revocation proceedings conducted by the United States Parole Commission (“Commission”). See generally Compl. [Dkt. # 1]. He seeks to “vacate [the] revocation hearing” and $507 million in monetary damages. Compl. at 11. Plaintiff sues Commission Chairman Isaac Fulwood, Jr., Hearing Examiner Paul Howard, and unidentified individuals under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). In addition plaintiff sues his former attorney Rashida Edmondson and Georgetown University law student Sean Douglass whose joint motion to dismiss was granted on May 30, 2013. See Order [Dkt. # 34].

Federal defendants Fulwood and Howard, both of whom are being sued in their individual and official capacities, move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, 12(b)(2) for lack of personal jurisdiction, 12(b)(5) for insufficient service of process, and 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed. Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss Pl.’s Compl. [Dkt. # 32]. Plaintiff has opposed the motion, Pl.’s Mem. in Opp’n to Defs.’ Isaac Fulwood Jr., and Paul Howard’s Mot. to Dismiss the Pl.’s Compl. [Dkt. # 36], and defendants have replied, Fed. Defs’ Reply in Support of Their Mot. to Dismiss Pl.’s Compl. [Dkt. # 38].

Based on the parties’ submissions and the relevant parts of the record, the court will grant defendants’ motion and will dismiss the official-capacity claims under Rule 12(b)(1) and the personal-capacity claims and claim for injunctive relief under Rule 12(b)(6).


Plaintiff was sentenced by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in June 1991 to a prison term of 18 to 54 years. Compl. at 2. He was released to parole supervision in October 2005. Id. On January 18, 2011, plaintiff “was . . . arrested in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and . . . charged with three armed robberies.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff posted bond in the Maryland case in February 2011, but the Commission, as the supervising authority over District of Columbia parolees, issued a parole violator warrant and placed a detainer on plaintiff. Id. Thus, when the Maryland authorities “finally” released plaintiff on bond in February 2012, the United States Marshal executed the Commission’s warrant and transported him to the District of Columbia to answer the following parole violator charges. Id.

Charge No. 1 - Failure to Submit to Drug Testing; Charge No. 2 – Failure to Report to Community Supervision Officer as Directed; Charge No. 3 – Use of Dangerous and Habit Forming Drugs; Charge No. 4 – Law Violation (A) Assault (4 counts), (B) Hand Gun on Person, (C) Felon in Possession of a Firearm; Charge No. 5 – Law Violation (A) Armed Robbery, (B) Robbery, (C) Theft over $10, 000.00, (D) Assault.

Defs.’ Ex. 3 [Dkt. # 32-4] (Warrant Application at 2).

On February 10, 2012, the Commission conducted a probable cause hearing on the violator warrant, scheduled a parole revocation hearing, and appointed the District of Columbia Public Defender Service to represent plaintiff at the revocation hearing. Compl. at 4-5. Howard conducted a revocation hearing on April 4, 2012, and found, based on the administrative violations (Charge Nos. 1-3) and the Maryland charges of robbery, theft, and assault (Charge No. 5), that plaintiff had violated the conditions of his release. Id. at 5, see Compl. Attach., ECF pp. 14-17 (partial Apr. 4, 2012 Hearing Summary); Defs.’ Ex. 7 [Dkt. # 32-8] (Apr. 4, 2012 Hearing Summary (hereafter “Hrg. Summ.”)). Howard found insufficient evidence to support a finding based on the criminal conduct underlying Charge No. 4. Hrg. Summ. at 4. The Commission revoked plaintiff’s parole in an order dated April 4, 2012, which Fulwood Notice of Action).

Meanwhile, on September 22, 2011, plaintiff’s trial in Maryland ended in a mistrial and was rescheduled for June 29, 2012. Compl. at 4 ¶ 4. On July 18, 2012, plaintiff was convicted of four counts of robbery, two counts of assault, and two counts of related weapons offenses, stemming from the conduct underlying Charge No. 5 of the violator warrant. See Defs.’ Ex. 9 [Dkt. # 32-10] (Criminal Docket, Circuit Court of Maryland). On July 30, 2012, the National Appeals Board affirmed the Commission’s revocation decision, finding petitioner’s claim in part “moot because on July 18, 2012, after you filed your appeal, you were convicted [of the Maryland charges] forming the basis for the Category Five revocation conduct.” Defs’ Ex. 10 [Dkt. # 32-11] (Notice of Action on Appeal).

In July 2012, plaintiff initiated this civil action from the Federal Correctional Institution Rivers in Winton, North Carolina. He claims that his revocation proceedings in the District were unlawful because they occurred while he was on bond pending trial in Maryland. Plaintiff faults Howard for holding the alleged illegal hearing and for allegedly depriving him during the hearing of his right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses and his right of due process. Compl. at 5, ¶¶ 8, 14. Plaintiff faults Fulwood essentially for adopting Howard’s recommendation to revoke parole and for ordering him to serve 72 months’ imprisonment “with full knowledge that [petitioner] was on bond, and the case was pending trial June 29, 2012.” Id. at 7, ¶ 11.

Finally, in what seems wholly unrelated to this action, plaintiff sues “unknown agents” of the Commission and the D.C. Department of Corrections for “illegally taking over 2000 pages of legal material with respect to [his] civil action” in Prince Georges County, Maryland, where he had sued the county for $307 million. Id. ¶¶12, 18. Since plaintiff has not identified the “unknown agents” and sought leave to amend the complaint to name them as defendants, the complaint against the “unknown agents” is hereby dismissed without prejudice.


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