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Adkins v. Bradford County Probation & Parole

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 25, 2018

JEREMY KARL ADKINS and KEITH FITZWATER, Plaintiffs,
v.
BRADFORD COUNTY PROBATION AND PAROLE, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge

         I. BACKGROUND

         Jeremy Karl Adkins and Keith Fitzwater filed this pro se civil rights action regarding their confinement at the Bradford County Correctional Facility, West Burlington, Pennsylvania. Adkins has completed this Court's form application to proceed in forma pauperis and authorization to have funds deducted from his prison account. Despite being directed to do so by an Administrative Order issued by this Court and being granted ample time to comply with the Order, Fitzwater has not completed this Court's form application to proceed in forma pauperis and authorization to have funds deducted from his prison account. Accordingly, Fitzwater's claims and his motion to proceed in forma pauperis will be dismissed without prejudice and Adkins will be deemed the sole Plaintiff in this matter.

         On May 4, 2018, Adkins filed a proposed amended complaint. The amended complaint which lists Adkins as the sole Plaintiff will be accepted. See Doc. 14. Named as Defendants therein are the Bradford County, Pennsylvania Probation and Parole Office and two of its employees Supervisor Justin Popovich and Parole Officer Kylie Starkey. Also named as Defendants are President Judge Maureen T. Beirne of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County, the Bradford County Public Defender's Office, and Chief Public Defender Richard Wilson, Esquire.

         Adkins states that during April 2014 he was incarcerated in the State of Oklahoma while serving an Oklahoma state sentence. During that time period, Adkins asserts that he sought disposition of charges pending against him in Bradford County by filing a request pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD).

         According to the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff was transferred from Oklahoma state custody to Bradford County in November 2014 to await disposition of his Pennsylvania state charges. On December 22, 2014, Plaintiff admits that he entered guilty pleas in three different driving under the influence cases. Adkins was sentenced by President Judge Beirne on February 9, 2015 to an aggregate three (3) to eighteen (18) month sentence. He was also given credit for eighty-nine (89) days of time served. Plaintiff notes that the sentence was to run concurrently to his Oklahoma state sentence.

         Under the provisions of the IAD, Plaintiff was then transported back to Oklahoma where he remained confined until August 14, 2015. Following his release, Adkins allegedly contacted Bradford County parole officials and was told that his Bradford County sentence would be completed as of May 15, 2016. During an October 2017 traffic stop in Oklahoma, Plaintiff was taken into custody pursuant to a Bradford County warrant. Adkins waived extradition and upon his return to Pennsylvania discovered that he was charged with a parole violation. He has been incarcerated in Bradford County since October 5, 2017.

         Adkins alleges that the Bradford County Probation and Parole Office has implemented unlawful policies and procedures and has improperly calculated his sentence because every day spent released on parole was disregarded. The Amended Complaint acknowledges that Adkins was credited with service for the “actual days I have spent incarcerated in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma on the court ordered concurrent sentences.” Doc. 14 ¶ 16. Plaintiff adds that the other named Defendants have failed to correct the alleged improper actions of the Probation and Parole Office. Adkins seeks injunctive relief; specifically, he seeks his immediate release. If not granted release, Plaintiff seeks a recalculation of all time credit and an explanation by the Defendants as to the calculation method. The Amended Complaint also requests an award of compensatory and punitive damages.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Relief for Other Inmates

         Adkins seeks relief (in part) on behalf of other inmates presently confined in the Bradford County Prison. It is initially noted that Plaintiff has not sought class certification.

         Numerous federal courts have recognized that a pro se litigant such as Adkins lack the capacity to represent the interests of his fellow inmates. Cahn v. United States, 269 F.Supp.2d 537, 547 (D.N.J. 2003); Caputo v. Fauver, 800 F.Supp 168, 170 (D.N.J. 1992); Collinsgru v. Palmyra Board Of Education, 161 F.3d 225, 232 (3d Cir. 1998)(non-attorneys cannot litigate the rights of others); Osei-Afriye v. Medical College of Pa., 937 F.2d 876, 883 (3d Cir. 1991). It is plain error to permit a pro se inmate litigant to represent fellow inmates. Whalen v. Wiley, No. 06- 809, 2007 WL 433340 *2 (D.Col. Feb. 1, 2007).

         However, a pro se litigant such as Adkins may “continue individually to pursue his claims.” Id. Simply put, a pro se prisoner pursuing a civil rights claim in federal court “must allege a personal loss and seek to vindicate a deprivation of his own constitutional rights.” Id.; Nilsson v. Coughlin, 670 F.Supp. 1186, 1190 (S.D.N.Y. 1987).

         Accordingly, since a pro se litigant cannot represent and protect the interests of other prisoners fairly and adequately, this action will be deemed to be solely filed by Adkins and his requests for relief for other inmates will not be ...


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