The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo
(MAGISTRATE JUDGE SMYSER)
Before the Court is Magistrate Judge Smyser's report and recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 12) on plaintiff Kates' pro se complaint. Mr. Kates, a federal prisoner, alleges violations of the Privacy Act, Program Statement 5800.11, and various constitutional rights relating to the failure of defendants to properly address discrepancies in his presentence investigation report (PSI). Magistrate Judge Smyser, reviewing the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, recommends the complaint be dismissed because: (1) United States Probation Offices are not subject to the Privacy Act and the Bureau of Prisons has exempted its Inmate Central Record System ("ICRS") from the Act; (2) defendants fulfilled requirements of 5800.11; and (3) the allegations of constitutional violations fail to state a claim. The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's recommendations and will dismiss the complaint.
Mr. Kates is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se. His complaint alleges the following.
Defendant Joe E. King is a United States probation officer in the Northern District of Texas. Defendant Jolene R. Whitten is the Chief of the United States Probation Office in the Northern District of Texas. Defendant L. Cunningham is a supervising attorney at the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg. Defendant B.J. Hamilton is a case manager at USP Lewisburg. Defendant K.A. Metzger is a counselor at USP Lewisburg.
In 1997 or 1998, Mr. King prepared and signed the PSI used in Mr. Kates' sentencing in the Northern District of Texas. The PSI contains inaccurate information about Mr. Kates' prior convictions. As a result of those inaccuracies, Mr. Kates was classified as a habitual offender and his sentence was increased by 240 months. In March 2010, Mr. Kates learned about the Bureau of Prison's Program Statement 5800.11, which allows an inmate to review and challenge information in his PSI and central file. Mr. Kates then obtained the indictments in his two prior convictions which he believes prove the PSI is inaccurate. Mr. Kates then contacted his case manager, Carl Lafargue, about the errors in his PSI. Mr. Lafargue contacted Mr. King and Mr. Kates informed the other defendants of the discrepancies as well. Defendants have however refused to investigate Mr. Kates' claims or correct the error.
Mr. Kates then initiated this action. He alleges violations of the Privacy Act, Program Statement 5800.11, and various constitutional rights. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunctive order directing the PSI be corrected.Reviewing the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,the Magistrate Judge recommend its dismissal and Mr. Kates filed objections.
Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed, the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c)), provided the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the district court. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7. At the very least, the Court should review uncontested portions for clear error or manifest injustice. See, e.g., Cruz v. Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375, 376-77 (M.D. Pa. 1998).
The Court will adopt the Magistrate Judge's R&R. The United States Probation Offices and the Bureau of Prisons' ICRS are exempt from the Privacy Act, and the defendants fulfilled their obligations under 5800.11. Additionally, Mr. Kates has failed to state a claim for any constitutional violation under the standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
(a) Screening.--The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental ...