United States District Court, D. Columbia.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
KEITH OLIVER STODDARD, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.
For DAVID WYNN, in his individual capacity, JEQUAN S. JACKSON, in her individual capacity, Defendants: Claire M. Whitaker, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.
Keith Stoddard was on parole for a D.C. Code violation when he was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If he were found guilty of DUI, the conviction could constitute a violation of the terms of his parole. The U.S. Parole Commission is the federal entity charged with granting and denying parole and imposing conditions on parole for D.C. Code offenders, such as Mr. Stoddard. When the Commission learned of the DUI, it issued an arrest warrant along with a memorandum directing that the warrant be held in abeyance pending final determination of the Virginia DUI charge. The warrant was not held in abeyance, but was executed when Mr. Stoddard turned himself into D.C. authorities on April 22, 2011. He was held at the D.C. Jail until he was released on July 6, 2011.
Mr. Stoddard sues Commission staff members David Wynn and Jequan S. Jackson, in their individual capacities, alleging that they were notified that the warrant had been executed erroneously and they failed to take immediate action to obtain his release. He asserts that they are liable for false imprisonment and violating his Fifth Amendment rights. He brings his constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or, alternatively, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971). Defendants
move to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, asserting sovereign immunity, and for failure to state a claim. The motion will be granted in part and denied in part. Sovereign immunity does not apply because Defendants are sued in their individual capacities. Mr. Stoddard states a claim under § 1983 and he does not state a claim under Bivens or for false imprisonment.
Because Mr. Stoddard is proceeding pro se, his Complaint is construed liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972); United States v. Byfield, 391 F.3d 277, 281, 364 U.S.App.D.C. 28 (D.C. Cir. 2004). The facts are taken from Mr. Stoddard's Complaint [Dkt. 1], Amendment to Complaint [Dkt. 9], and Appendix [Dkt. 10].
Mr. Stoddard was arrested and charged with DUI in Virginia on March 23, 2011. At that time, he was a D.C. Code offender on parole. If convicted of the DUI charge, the conviction could constitute a parole violation. On April 4, 2011, Jequan Jackson, U.S. Parole Commission Case Analyst, authored an application for Mr. Stoddard's arrest. Ms. Jackson attached a memorandum specifying that (1) the warrant should be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the Virginia criminal proceedings and (2) Mr. Stoddard was to remain under parole supervision " until the Full Term Date [May 1, 2011] in a normal manner notwithstanding issuance of this abeyance warrant." Compl. at 4; see also Appendix at 4. Despite the instructions set forth in the memorandum, the warrant was executed. On April 22, 2011, Mr. Stoddard self-surrendered and he was taken into custody by the D.C. Department of Corrections.
In May 2011, D.C. Public Defender Parisa Dehghani-Tafti contacted David Wynn at the U.S. Parole Commission and informed Mr. Wynn that Mr. Stoddard had been mistakenly scheduled for a preliminary interview, when a probable cause and revocation hearing was required. Ms. Dehghani-Tafti emailed the Commission:
I write because it has come to my attention that Mr. Stoddard was arrested on a USPC [U.S. Parole Commission] warrant in April, but, rather than being scheduled for a probable cause hearing, he appears to have mistakenly been scheduled for a preliminary interview at an undetermined time. It is my understanding that Mr. Stoddard is not on federal parole, but rather, is a DC Code offender. I would be grateful if the USPC would ...