United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge.
James Courtney, previously incarcerated at Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”), filed this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on September 21, 2016. Plaintiff's Complaint
(Doc. 1) was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted. (Doc. 5). Plaintiff was given
leave to file a First Amended Complaint, which he did on
January 27, 2017. (Doc. 8). In his First Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff claims that the defendants violated his state and
federal constitutional rights by incarcerating him beyond the
date he was eligible for mandatory supervised release
(“MSR”). Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated.
Therefore, this Court will conduct a preliminary review of
the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),
any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been
paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the
court determines that . . . the action or appeal -
i. is frivolous or malicious;
ii. fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
iii. seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from such relief.
action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that “no
reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.”
Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir.
action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross
“the line between possibility and plausibility.”
Id. at 557. Conversely, a complaint is plausible on
its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations
as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th
Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574,
581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts “should not
accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a
cause of action or conclusory legal statements.”
Id. At the same time, however, the factual
allegations of a pro se complaint are to be
liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
First Amended Complaint
alleges that on October 4, 2013, he was told that he was
“violated” and he would not be allowed to leave
on MSR. (Doc. 8, p. 8). Plaintiff claims that he immediately
wrote to Defendants Godinez, Harrington and Butler,
complaining of his illegal incarceration and demanding he be
released on MSR. Id. He also wrote grievances to the
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) and
its affiliates, as well as against Field Services, but he
never received a response. (Doc. 8, pp. 8-9). In the
grievances against Field Services, Plaintiff stated that he
had a parole site and had given them Mrs. Milburn's
information. (Doc. 8, p. 9). He also informed them that he
had provided the sex offender's halfway house in East St.
Louis as another option, or would accept another halfway
house of their choice. Id. Plaintiff knew Mrs.
Milburn's address was a good parole site because she was
64 or 65 years old, and the closest school and/or daycare to
her house was six blocks away. Id.
also claims that another prisoner, who became eligible for
MSR after Plaintiff, was set to be sent to the East St. Louis
halfway house for sex offenders, though the inmate was not,
himself, a sex offender. Id. Plaintiff wrote to
Godinez, Harrington, Butler and Lashbrook to complain about
this practice. Id. He allegedly received no response
to these complaints. (Doc. 1, p. 9).
further alleges that he was discriminated against by each of
the defendants and not released on MSR due to his label as a
child sex offender. (Doc. 8, p. 11). He maintains that the
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) and
its employees could have sent him to another halfway house or
Mrs. Milburn's house, but they chose not to do so; at the
same time, they sent an inmate who was not a sex offender to
a parole site for which Plaintiff was eligible. Id.
Mrs. Milburn told Plaintiff that she would write out an
affidavit stating he could be paroled to her house.
Id. Plaintiff does not indicate if she did so.
November 14, 2013, Plaintiff had a hearing with the parole
board, which operates under the authority of Defendant
Christianson. Plaintiff was not provided notice prior to the
day of the hearing. Id. A member of the parole board
informed Plaintiff that all he had to do was write to field
services and give them an address for parole in order to be
released. Id. Plaintiff informed them that he had
already done so in March or April 2013, but that he would do
so again. Id. When Plaintiff returned to his cell,
he again wrote to field services, requesting to be paroled at
Mrs. Milburn's or the halfway house in East. St. Louis.
Id. Plaintiff claims that had he been told in
advance about the hearing, he would have contacted Mrs.
Milburn to act as a witness for him so that she could testify
that Plaintiff could parole at her house. (Doc. 8, p. 12).
believes that each defendant retaliated against him due to
his classification as a child sex offender and retaliated
against him for grievances he wrote before and after his MSR
date against corrections officers. Id. These
grievances concerned corrections officers, IDOC workers,
sergeants and lieutenants failing to stop the harassment of
sex offenders, including Plaintiff, by other inmates.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that he was held for an ...