United States District Court, District of Columbia
JESSE R. REDMOND, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, Defendant.
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jesse R. Redmond, proceeding pro se, alleges that
Defendant United States Parole Commission
(“Commission”) has infringed on his Fifth
Amendment rights in various ways relating to the
Commission's past denials of parole for Redmond. Pending
before the Court is Defendant's  Motion to Dismiss,
which argues in part that this Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction to hear this case on sovereign immunity grounds.
Upon consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant legal
authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court will
GRANT Defendant's Motion to
was convicted in 1996 of first-degree sexual assault in the
Superior Court of the District of Columbia. See Redmond
v. United States, 829 A.2d 229, 230 (D.C. 2003)
(affirming conviction), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 914
(2004). Redmond became eligible for parole in 2011.
Redmond v. Holland, No. 16-6521, 2017 U.S. App.
LEXIS 20556, at *2 (6th Cir. Aug. 10, 2017). At his initial
hearing in July 2010, despite the applicable guidelines
indicating that Redmond should be granted parole, the
Commission denied parole. Id. It explained its
departure by reasoning that there was a “reasonable
probability” that Redmond would “not obey the law
if released” and that his “release would endanger
the public safety.” Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). The Commission stated that he was “a
more serious parole risk than” the guidelines indicated
because the victim of the crime for which he had been
convicted was a “74 year old woman [with] who[m] [he]
engaged in sodomy and intercourse.” Id.
(alterations in original) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The Commission also based its decision on the grounds that
Redmond had not completed any rehabilitative programs.
Id. It denied his request to reconsider the denial
of his parole. Id.
second parole hearing on July 28, 2011, Redmond presented
testimony indicating that he had completed a rehabilitative
program, Moral Recognition Therapy. Id. at *2-3. The
Commission once again denied parole, notwithstanding the
hearing examiner's recommendation that parole be granted.
Id. The Commission relied on the recommendation of
an executive reviewer who emphasized that Redmond continued
to insist on his innocence and thus had not accepted
responsibility for his crime. Id. It denied
Redmond's request for reconsideration and suggested he
participate in either a sex offender treatment program or
another comprehensive rehabilitative program. Id. at
third parole hearing occurred on July 30, 2014. Id.
at *4. Redmond presented testimony that he had participated
in the Moral Recognition Therapy program for almost two
years, had mentored other participants in the program, and
had attended an anger management class. Id. at *4-5.
Additional testimony indicated that he had not participated
in a sex offender treatment program because none were
available at his prison, and because he was ineligible for
transfer to another prison with such a program. Id.
The hearing examiner recommended parole, the executive
reviewer disagreed, and the Commission again denied Redmond
parole. Id. at *5. It based its decision on the
“extreme cruelty to [Redmond's] victim, ”
which it described as including not only “forcible
vaginal rape” but also “rectal and oral sodomy,
” even though Redmond had been acquitted of the latter
charges in 1996. Id. at *5-6 (alteration in
original) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Commission
also found that denial was warranted because the Moral
Recognition Therapy program was inadequate to reduce the risk
that Redmond posed and because he continued to claim that he
was innocent, which indicated that he was “not fully
rehabilitated.” Id. at *6 (internal quotation
the Commission's denial of parole in 2011, Redmond filed
a suit in federal court seeking damages and claiming that the
denial had deprived him of his rights under the First and
Fifth Amendments. Redmond v. Fulwood, No.
14-cv-0308, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54300, at *1 (D.D.C. Apr.
18, 2014), aff'd on other grounds, 859 F.3d 11
(D.C. Cir. 2017). The district court dismissed the suit and
the D.C. Circuit affirmed on the basis that the former
Chairman of the Commission, Isaac Fulwood, Jr., enjoyed
qualified immunity as to each of Redmond's claims.
Redmond v. Fulwood, 859 F.3d at 14.
on August 7, 2015, Redmond filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241,
alleging that the Commission lacked a rational basis to deny
him parole in 2014 based on several grounds. Redmond v.
Holland, No. 15-141-KKC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106716,
at *1 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 12, 2016), rev'd, 2017 U.S.
App. LEXIS 20556; see Compl. ¶ 3. The district
court denied his petition and found that the Commission's
denial had “satisfie[d] the highly deferential standard
of review accorded to parole determinations.”
Redmond v. Holland, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106716, at
*2; see Compl. ¶ 4. On appeal, the Sixth
Circuit reversed, finding that the Commission did lack a
rational basis to deny Redmond parole. Redmond v.
Holland, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20556, at *11;
see Compl. ¶¶ 5-7.
Commission conducted a new parole hearing for Redmond on
April 13, 2017. Compl. ¶ 8. He was granted parole on
July 7, 2017 and released on December 2, 2017. Id.
Redmond subsequently filed this suit against the Commission
on September 25, 2018.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) challenges a
court's jurisdiction to hear the case. “Under Rule
12(b)(1), the party seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of a
federal court-plaintiff in the present action-bears the
burden of establishing that the court has
jurisdiction.” Wright v. Foreign Serv. Grievance
Bd., 503 F.Supp.2d 163, 169-70 (D.D.C. 2007),
aff'd, No. 07-5328, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 6642
(D.C. Cir. Mar. 17, 2008). In determining whether the court
has jurisdiction, “the court need not limit itself to
the allegations of the complaint, ” and “may
consider such materials outside the pleadings as it deems
appropriate to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the
case.” Chandler v. Roche, 215 F.Supp.2d 166,
168 (D.D.C. 2002).
the motion to dismiss stage, counseled complaints, as well as
pro se complaints, are to be construed with
sufficient liberality to afford all possible inferences
favorable to the pleader on allegations of fact.”
Settles v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 429 F.3d 1098,
1106 (D.C. Cir. 2005). “The court need not, however,
accept inferences unsupported by the facts alleged or legal
conclusions that are cast as factual allegations.”
Chandler, 215 F.Supp.2d at 168. And because a court
has an affirmative obligation to determine whether it has
subject-matter jurisdiction, “plaintiff['s] factual
allegations in the complaint . . . will bear closer scrutiny
in resolving a 12(b)(1) motion than in resolving a 12(b)(6)
motion for failure to state a claim.” Wright,
503 F.Supp.2d at 170 (internal quotation marks omitted).
construe pro se pleadings liberally and must hold
pro se complaints “to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation
marks omitted). Construed in this light, Redmond's
Complaint brings claims against the Commission under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 on the basis that the Commission infringed
on Redmond's Fifth Amendment rights,  and specifically
his “liberty interest” in parole, in five ways:
(1) by denying his parole despite the Commission's lack
of a rational basis, Compl. ¶ 9; (2) by referring to his
actions as including rectal and oral sodomy when Redmond was
acquitted of such charges, Compl. ¶ 10; (3) by denying
his parole because he had not completed a sex offender
treatment program despite his participation in the Moral
Recognition Therapy program, Compl. ¶ 11; (4) by denying
his parole on the basis that he had not accepted
responsibility for his crimes, Compl. ¶ 12; and (5) by
failing to “immediate[ly] release” Redmond
following the Sixth Circuit's decision finding that the