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Paul v. Griffin

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

January 26, 2015

EUGENE PAUL, LA. DOC #614160
v.
SGT. RON GRIFFIN

SECTION P

Eugene Paul, Plaintiff, Pro se, Winnsboro, LA.

KAREN L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE. JUDGE ROBERT G. JAMES.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KAREN L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

Pro se plaintiff Eugene Paul, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on December 1, 2014. Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of Louisiana's Department of Corrections. He is incarcerated at the Franklin Parish Detention Center (FPDC) and complains that he was falsely accused of a disciplinary rules violation by the defendant Sgt. Ron Griffin. He prays for an order directing his transfer " ... to a facility anywhere down south..." This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the standing orders of the Court. For the following reasons it is recommended that the complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE as frivolous and for failing to state a claim for which relief may be granted in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § § 1915 and 1915A.

Background

On October 30, 2014, plaintiff was advised by Sgt. Griffin that he was being written up for a violation of the prison regulation prohibiting smoking. Plaintiff claimed that Griffin had no evidence to sustain the write up and that he is innocent and wrongly accused. As noted above, plaintiff seeks only his transfer to another facility.

Law and Analysis

1. Screening

Plaintiff is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma pauperis . As a prisoner seeking redress from an officer or employee of a governmental entity, his complaint is subject to preliminary screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See Martin v. Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir.1998) ( per curiam ). Because he is proceeding in forma pauperis, his complaint is also subject to screening under § 1915(e)(2). Both § 1915(e)(2) (B) and § 1915A(b) provide for sua sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

A complaint is frivolous when it " lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989). A claim lacks an arguable basis in law when it is " based on an indisputably meritless legal theory." Id. at 327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it fails to plead " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

2. Due Process

Plaintiff implies that his due process rights were also violated by the defendant who falsely accused him of a disciplinary rules violation. Plaintiff has not alleged whether he was ultimately tried and convicted of the alleged violation, and, if so, the punishment that was thereafter imposed. Of course, if all that happened was the accusation, and nothing more, plaintiff clearly fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted. On the other hand, even if it is assumed that plaintiff suffered some adverse effect as a result of the charge, such as a loss of privileges or confinement in administrative segregation, he still fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted.

By virtue of a valid criminal conviction and subsequent legal confinement, a prisoner loses his expectation of liberty. See Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224, 96 S.Ct. 2532, 49 L.Ed.2d 451 (1976). Assuming for the sake of argument that plaintiff was falsely convicted of the disciplinary rules violation and thereafter sanctioned with either a loss of privileges, or confinement in administrative segregation, his complaint still fails to state a claim for which relief might be granted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because " [t]he Due Process Clause does not protect every change in the conditions of confinement having a substantial adverse impact on the prisoner." Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 478, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 132 L.Ed.2d 418 (1995). The federal jurisprudence holds, that while the states may under certain circumstances create rights that implicate Due ...


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