United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WELLS ROBY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge to
conduct a hearing, including an evidentiary hearing, if
necessary, and to submit proposed findings and
recommendations for disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) and (C), § 1915, and § 1915A, and as
applicable, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1) and (2). Upon review
of the record, the Court has determined that this matter can
be disposed of without an evidentiary hearing.
Factual and Procedural Background
plaintiff, Shamond Sanders, is a convicted inmate housed in
the B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center
(“RCC”) in Angie, Louisiana. Sanders filed
this pro se and in forma pauperis complaint
against the defendants, Secretary James LeBlanc of the
Louisiana Department of Corrections (“DOC”), RCC
Warden Robert Tanner, Classification Director Karla Hillman,
and Classification Counselor Brittany Morgan. Sanders alleges
that his mother is ill and unable to travel distances to see
him. He further alleges that the defendants violated his
constitutional rights because they have denied his requests
to be transferred to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
(“Hunt”) to facilitate his mother's visits.
Sanders seeks monetary compensation and an order for his
transfer to Hunt.
Standards for Frivolousness Review
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(c), the Court is required to sua sponte
dismiss cases filed by prisoners proceeding in forma
pauperis upon a determination that they are frivolous.
The Court has broad discretion in determining the frivolous
nature of the complaint. See Cay v. Estelle, 789
F.2d 318, 325 (5th Cir. 1986), modified on other
grounds, Booker v. Koonce, 2 F.3d 114 (5th Cir.
1993). However, the Court may not sua sponte dismiss
an action merely because of questionable legal theories or
unlikely factual allegations in the complaint.
this statute, a claim is frivolous when it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Talib v. Gilley, 138
F.3d 211, 213 (5th Cir. 1998). “A [claim] lacks an
arguable basis in law if it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, such as if the complaint alleges the
violation of a legal interest which clearly does not
exist.” Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716, 718
(5th Cir. 1999) (quoting Davis v. Scott, 157 F.3d
882, 889 (5th Cir. 1998)). It lacks an arguable factual basis
only if the facts alleged are “clearly baseless,
” a category encompassing fanciful, fantastic, and
delusional allegations. Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992) (citing Neitzke, 490 U.S. at
327-28). Therefore, the Court must determine whether the
plaintiff's claims are based on an indisputably meritless
legal theory or clearly baseless factual allegations.
Reeves v. Collins, 27 F.3d 174, 176 (5th Cir. 1994);
Jackson v. Vannoy, 49 F.3d 175, 176-77 (5th Cir.
1995); Moore v. Mabus, 976 F.2d 268, 269 (5th Cir.
asserts that his constitutional rights have been violated by
the defendants' failure to transfer him to a prison in a
more convenient proximity to his mother. When a
constitutional violation is alleged by a plaintiff, §
1983 provides a federal cause of action against any person
who, acting under color of state law, has violated the
plaintiff's constitutional rights. 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
Livadas v. Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 132 (1994). A
plaintiff must establish both the constitutional violation
and that the action was taken by a person acting under color
of state law. Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S.
149, 156 (1978); Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312
case, however, Sanders has failed to assert the violation of
a constitutional right by these defendants. The Due Process
Clause does not, by itself, grant a prisoner a protected
liberty interest in the location of his confinement. See
Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224 (1976); Yates v.
Stalder, 217 F.3d 332, 335 (5th Cir. 2000); Tighe v.
Wall, 100 F.3d 41, 42 (5th Cir. 1996). Furthermore, when
a state statute vests its officials with broad discretionary
authority concerning the placement and transfer of its
prisoners, the Constitution affords the prisoners no
constitutionally protected interests that might outweigh the
state prison officials' discretion or the public
interests in prison administration. See Olim v.
Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 249-50 (1983) (Hawaii prison
regulations vesting prison administrators with broad
discretion concerning inmate placement and transfers create
no liberty interest protected under the Due Process Clause).
federal courts have long recognized that the controlling
provisions of La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §
15:824(A) vest extremely broad discretion in the DOC
officials responsible for the placement of state prisoners in
Louisiana. See Alphonse v. La. Dep't of Pub. Safety
& Corrs., No. 18-6133, 2018 WL 4252642, at *1 (E.D.
La. Sep. 6, 2018) (citing Haynes v. Henderson, 480
F.2d 550, 552 (5th Cir. 1973)). In Haynes, the
United States Fifth Circuit found that La. Rev. Stat. Ann.
§ 15: 824 created no constitutionally protected interest
in a Louisiana prisoner's confinement location.
Id. at 552. The Court reasoned that the statute
“specifically provides that an adult prisoner shall not
be committed to any particular institution, ” which
“leaves complete discretion in the Louisiana Department
of Corrections to decide in what institution a convicted
adult offender shall serve his sentence of
confinement.” Id. For this reason, the courts
in the Fifth Circuit have repeatedly held that, pursuant to
the unvaried language in §15:824, the placement of
inmates in Louisiana is a discretionary duty vested in the
DOC, and as a result, state inmates have no constitutionally
protected right to be housed in a particular location.
Woods v. Edwards, 51 F.3d 577, 581-82 (5th Cir.
1995); see also, Sandifer v. Tanner, No.
14-1670, 2015 WL 4168172, at *5 (E.D. La. Jul. 1, 2015)
(Order adopting Report and Recommendation); Addison v.
McVea, No. 13-5264, 2014 WL 7137565, at *3 (E.D. La.
Dec. 15, 2014) (Order adopting Report and Recommendation);
Santos v. La. Dep't of Corrs. Sec., No. 95-4215,
1996 WL 89260, at *4 (E.D. La. Feb. 28, 1996).
has failed to identify a protected constitutional right for
purposes of asserting a §1983 claim. His complaint,
therefore, is frivolous and fails to state a claim for which
relief can be granted and must be dismissed pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915 and § 1915A.