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Mills v. Martinez

March 20, 2008

STEPHEN L. MILLS, PLAINTIFF
v.
BENJAMIN A. MARTINEZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff, Stephen L. Mills ("Plaintiff" or "Mills"), an inmate currently confined at the Greensburg State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Greensburg") in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, commenced this action pro se by filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. He subsequently filed an amended complaint (Doc. 7) on May 17, 2004. Mills alleges that his civil rights were violated because he has been incarcerated beyond his maximum sentence date. (Doc. 7 at 10.) He further alleges that he was forced to participate in sex offender programming and to register as a sex offender despite the fact that he has not been convicted of a rape offense. (Id. at 10-11.)

Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) filed on behalf of Defendants Benjamin A. Martinez and Kathleen Zwierzyna, members of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Doc. 26). The parties have briefed the issues and the motion is ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

I. Background

A. Allegations Against Defendants Martinez and Zwierzyna

On September 16, 1980, Mills was arrested on burglary charges. (Doc. 7 at 9.) On November 22, 1982, Mills was convicted of burglary in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas and sentenced to prison for no less than ten (10) and no more than twenty (20) years. (Id.) His maximum sentence expiration date was September 16, 2000. (Id.)

On May 24, 2000, Mills was paroled. (Id.) He was arrested on August 16, 2000 by Defendant L. Martinez on a parole violation. (Id.) In making the arrest, L. Martinez acted under the authority of his supervisor, Defendant Joachim. (Id.) On August 8, 2000 Joachim fabricated reports and documents to state that Plaintiff had utilized a controlled substance through a "falsified urinalysis test." (Id.) The urine test was administered by Defendant Burris. (Id.)

Upon his arrest on August 16, 2000, Mills immediately was incarcerated at the Graterford State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Graterford"). (Doc. 7 at 9.) He had an "illegal, unconstitutional, and judicially void preliminary hearing" at which he was "coercively forced to unknowingly involuntarily and unintelligently sign a[n] admittal form."*fn1 (Id.) Mills is unable to read or write much more than his name and cannot comprehend the English language beyond that of a "3.4" grade level, and thus did not understand "the value" of his signature on the admittal form. (Id. at 10.)

Mills subsequently was transferred from SCI-Graterford to SCI-Huntingdon. (Id.) On October 2, 2001, Plaintiff received a DC-16E sentence status summary sheet from Defendant Semery, the records officer at SCI-Huntingdon, showing that Plaintiff's maximum sentence date was changed from September 16, 2000 to May 16, 2005. (Id.) In making this change, Defendants Martinez and Zwierzyna, who serve respectively as the chairman and secretary of the parole board, and the "members of the board of psychiatric and medical facilitators of the Commonwealth's parole release program," have imposed a sentence of "(4) four years (9) nine months" beyond the expiration of Plaintiff's maximum sentence and have "altered and fabricated information intentionally misrepresenting" that his maximum sentence had expired.*fn2 (Id.) Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection and of the Thirteenth Amendment prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude. (Id.)

B. Procedural History

Mills filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 on April 22, 2004. (Doc. 1.) On May 17, 2004, he filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 7.) Mills names three categories of Defendants. The first category, the "Parole Board Defendants," consists of Benjamin A. Martinez, ("Martinez"), the chairman of the Pennsylvania Probation and Parole Board parole release program; and Kathleen Zwierzyna, the secretary of the parole release program. (Doc. 7at 3.)

The second category of Defendants, the "Parole Officer Defendants," consists of Robert Joachim, supervisor of the Philadelphia Adult Probation Department*fn3 , Sex Offender Unit ("Philadelphia Parole Department"); Luiz Martinez, a parole agent at the Philadelphia Parole Department ("L. Martinez"); and Agent Burris, a parole agent at the Philadelphia Parole Department who collects urine samples. (Id. at 3, 4.)

The third category, the "Corrections Defendants," consists of the following employees of the Huntingdon State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Huntingdon"): Kenneth K. Kyler, warden; James L. Grace, acting warden; Linda Thompson, parole agent and supervisor; Mr. Semery, records officer; Joseph Ogershok, Jr. and Joel Keller, FA-Unit Managers of Minimum Security Level-2 ("FA-Unit"); andJoe Dinardi, the corrections counselor assigned to the FA-Unit. (Id. at 5-9.)

The court directed service of the amended complaint on June 7, 2004. (Doc. 9.) Because service was not achieved, the court again directed service of the amended complaint on June 21, 2007. (Doc. 20.) On August 27, 2007, the Office of Attorney General of Pennsylvania filed a Waiver of Service on behalf of Defendants Martinez and Zwierzyna. (Doc. 23.) On August 30, 2007, the Office of Attorney General entered an appearance on behalf of Defendants Martinez and Zwierzyna and filed the instant motion to dismiss. ...


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