Craig v. S.C. Dep't of Corr., C/A No. 2:12-1164-CMC-BHH

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBruce Howe Hendricks
Docket NumberC/A No. 2:12-1164-CMC-BHH
PartiesCharles L. Craig, Plaintiff, v. The South Carolina Department of Correctional; Ms. C. Hilton; Ms. L. Johnson; Ms. B. Reames, Defendants.
Decision Date10 July 2012

Charles L. Craig, Plaintiff,
v.
The South Carolina Department of Correctional; Ms. C. Hilton; Ms. L. Johnson; Ms. B. Reames, Defendants.

C/A No. 2:12-1164-CMC-BHH

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA

Dated: July 10, 2012


REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Plaintiff, Charles L. Craig, ("Plaintiff"), was an inmate in SCDC's Lee Correctional Institution ("LCI") in Bishopville, SC at the time this action was filed, on May 2, 2012. Complaint, Parties; ECF No. 1, p. 2. According to the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services ("SCDPPPS") Active Offender Information website, Plaintiff was released from SCDC, on June 1, 2012, to community supervision, through SCDPPPS's Chester County office, with Plaintiff's supervision scheduled to end on May 31, 2014. See http://www.dppps.sc.gov/results.asp (last visited June 19, 2012); see also McCormick v. Wright, 2010 WL 565303 at *2 n. 5 (D.S.C. Feb 17, 2010) (court may take judicial notice of factual information located in postings on government websites); Williams v. Long, 585 F. Supp. 2d 679, 686-88 & n.4 (D. Md. 2008) (collecting cases indicating that postings on government websites are inherently authentic or self-authenticating).

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, files this action on a state prisoner complaint form, seeking injunctive relief or, in the alternative, monetary damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.1 Under the provisions

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of 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1)(B), and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), D.S.C., the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit findings and recommendations to the Court. Having reviewed the Complaint in accordance with applicable law, the undersigned recommends that it be summarily dismissed, without prejudice and without issuance and service of process.

PRO SE AND IN FORMA PAUPERIS REVIEW

Under established local procedure in this judicial district, a careful review has been made of the pro se complaint pursuant to the procedural provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915; 28 U.S.C. § 1915A; the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996); and in light of the following precedents: Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25 (1992); Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324-25 (1989); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972); Nasim v. Warden, Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951 (4th Cir. 1995); Todd v. Baskerville, 712 F.2d 70 (4th Cir. 1983).

This Complaint has been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the administrative costs of proceeding with the lawsuit. However, to protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court to dismiss the case upon a finding that the action is "frivolous or malicious" or "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted" or "seeks

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monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii), (iii). A finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact," Denton, 504 U.S. at 31. Hence, under § 1915(e)(2)(B), a claim based on a meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte. Neitzke, 490 U.S. 319; Allison v. Kyle, 66 F.3d 71 (5th Cir. 1995).

This Court is required to liberally construe pro se complaints. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Such pro se complaints are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys, Id.; Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978), and a federal district court is charged with liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development of a potentially meritorious case. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). When a federal court is evaluating a pro se complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)). Nonetheless, the requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a claim cognizable in a federal district court. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1953 (2009) (outlining pleading requirements under Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for "all civil actions"). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, it should do so; however, a district court may not rewrite a complaint to include claims that were never presented, Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128 (10th Cir. 1999), construct the plaintiff's legal arguments for him, Small v.

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Endicott, 998 F.2d 411 (7th Cir. 1993), or "conjure up questions never squarely presented" to the court, Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff names as Defendants SCDC and three SCDC staff members. Plaintiff identifies the three individual Defendants as follows: Ms. L. Johnson ""the grievance lady," Ms. B. Reames "the classification man[a]ger," and Ms. C. Hilton "the caseworker for the ATU program [Addiction Treatment Unit] at LCI." Complaint, Parties; ECF No. 1, p. 2. The unusual injunctive relief that Plaintiff seeks is to stay in prison until he "maxes-out" his sentence by serving 85% of his fifteen-year sentence, which max-out date he calculates to be June 14, 2012. Plaintiff alleges that he is entitled to be unconditionally released by SCDC, on June 14, 2012, upon completion of 85% of his sentence, rather than being released by SCDC, on June 1, 2012, to be placed on community supervision under SCDPPPS for fifteen months. Plaintiff alleges that, if SCDC will not release him unconditionally, then he wants:

[to] be granted a civil suit for the amount from each parted Ms. C. Hilton $250,000.00 and Ms. L. Johnson $250,000.00 and Ms. B. Reames $250,000.00 and there property should be seized until it's certain they have this amount. And SCDC for $750,000.00 total amount of $1.5 million. For in slave Mr. Craig punitive damage, negative neglect, hindering of due process, violation of Mr. Craig rights and the incarcerated inmate search is the sold property of SCDC, show the public, that Mr. Craig don't max-out until June.13.012. Mr. Craig could be taken as a fugitive of justice because of false advertise! And be hurted or killed behind this! And it is attach to.

Complaint, Relief; ECF No. 1, p. 8. Plaintiff alleges that he filed a grievance, Lee CI-0460-12, on February 22, 1012, which was denied on February 27, 2012. See Complaint, Place of Confinement; ECF No. 1, p. 2.

Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Hilton told him:

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it's order by court that he do two year and three months community supervision, Mr. Craig don't consent to this sentencing of SCDC staff! His crime didn't carry probation and if the Judge couldn't give Mr. Craig probation or parole in the began! And he never been up for parole in the passed, Ms. Hilton said look at as furlough and you must accept, because June 1 - 012 isn't 85% of fifteen years, and Mr. Craig will apply and be place on community supervision for the term, Mr. Craig state that June 14-012 was 85% of his sentence, and he wouldn't need community supervision because it's order by court that he serve 85% of he sentence before he can be release!

Complaint, Statement of Claim; ECF No. 1, p. 4. Plaintiff's Complaint goes on to describe his unsuccessful attempt to pursue a Step 1 grievance, which was returned to him unprocessed because he had not first pursued an informal resolution through a request to staff. Then, Plaintiff relates his frustration with SCDC's response, following his unsuccessful attempt at informal resolution, in rejecting his Step 1 grievance as having been filed untimely. Plaintiff does not allege that he pursued a Step 2 grievance or an appeal to the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (SCALC). See Complaint, Statement of Claim II; ECF No. 1, p. 4-5; ECF No. 1-1, p. 2-7.

Plaintiff alleges that, when he was convicted and sentenced, on May 17, 2000, to concurrent fifteen year terms, for felony DUI causing death and felony DUI causing great bodily injury, his probation was also revoked on a prior offense. Plaintiff alleges "Mr. Craig only want to go home, without community supervision, he have never complete probation sentence, and if Mr. Craig was never place on probation, he wouldn't be in this mess now." Complaint, Statement of Claim III; ECF No. 1, p. 6. Plaintiff alleges that:

Ms. L. Johnson and discriminate against Mr. Craig with her co-workers all three stated that three no one inside of SCDC will answer Mr. Craig question about why he can't max-out his sentence! That was there final ruling on the matter of Mr. Craig max-out his sentence and leave South Carolina, after serving twelve years eight months and seventeen days of fifteen years which comes to 4650 days that's 85% of fifteen years SCDC should have release

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Mr. Craig two years and three months ago in order for him to comply! And if they want to release SCDC #266434 a.k.a. Charles L. Craig on June 1. 012 instead of June 14.012 there
...

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