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Perrault v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

January 11, 2016

RONALD PERRAULT, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF WISCONSIN, DEBRA K. HALEY, PAULETTE SANDERS, SHERI HICKS, CHERYL ROSE, ELLEN PERRY, JEAN KRAINTZ, M. OLSON, C. VAN BUREN, KURT LINJER, JOHN AND JANE DOES, FOND DU LAC MUNICIPALITY, ALLEN BUECHEL, MARY KARST, ROMONA GEIB and MARY WOLFE, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

BARBARA B. CRABB District Judge

Pro se plaintiff Ronald Perrault, a prisoner at Fox Lake Correctional Institution, has filed an amended complaint against various state officials, including Department of Corrections employees and public officials in Fond du Lac County. He contends that defendants violated his constitutional rights and subjected him to false imprisonment when they failed to notice that his sentence was unlawful and correct it so that it conformed to Wisconsin state law. After reviewing plaintiff’s amended complaint as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I conclude that his allegations fail to state a claim that defendants violated his constitutional rights. Accordingly, I will dismiss plaintiff’s § 1983 claims with prejudice. I decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s state law claim for false imprisonment.

Plaintiff’s complaint contains the following allegations, which for screening purposes I must accept as true and read them in the light most favorable to him. Perez v. Fenoglio, 792 F.3d 768, 774 (7th Cir. 2015).

ALLEGATIONS OF FACT

On July 18, 2005, plaintiff was found guilty of three counts of Failure to Support a Child, Wis.Stat. § 948.22(2). On September 26, 2005, Fond du Lac County Circuit Court Judge Richard Nuss sentenced plaintiff on each of the three counts to concurrent sentences of five years’ confinement followed by five years of extended supervision. After taking into account the 225 days of sentencing credit plaintiff had earned under Wis.Stat. § 973.155, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections calculated plaintiff’s sentence as terminating on February 12, 2015. None of the defendants noticed that the judge had imposed a five-year term of extended supervision rather than the maximum penalty of three years.

After completing the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ Earned Release Program, plaintiff was released from prison on October 16, 2008. Although plaintiff’s release date was almost a year and a half earlier than originally anticipated, his early release did not affect the length of his sentence. As set forth in Judge Nuss’s order, plaintiff was to serve five years of extended supervision. This term would not expire until February 12, 2015.

On March 14, 2014, plaintiff’s supervised release status was revoked for a non-criminal violation of the conditions of his release and plaintiff was returned to the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Plaintiff was sent first to Dodge Correctional Institution, but was transferred later to Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Center.

In connection with plaintiff’s transfer to Chippewa Valley Correctional, the prison registrar, Shannone Manz (who is not a named defendant), identified what appeared to be an error in Judge Nuss’s 2005 sentence. Specifically, she noticed that each of the three counts for which plaintiff was sentenced was a Class E felony committed before February 1, 2013. Under Wis.Stat. § 939.50(3)(e) and § 973.01(2)(b)5, the maximum punishment for each count was five years’ confinement followed by three years of extended supervision. Manz wrote to Judge Nuss, saying that plaintiff’s sentence appeared to impose a longer period of supervised release than the law allowed and asking for clarification.

Judge Nuss responded to Manz’s letter on July 2, 2014, acknowledging the potential error. He instructed the Fond du Lac County District Attorney to review the sentence and stated that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections should have noticed the potential error at the time it revoked plaintiff’s supervision. Plaintiff filed a post conviction motion in the Circuit Court for Chippewa County on July 9, 2014. The Fond du Lac public defender’s office also moved to vacate the March 2014 revocation order on the ground that plaintiff should not have been required to abide by the terms of his supervised release after February 12, 2013.

On August 4, 2014, Judge Nuss issued an order amending his judgment and reducing the length of plaintiff’s sentence from 10 years to eight years to take into account the three-year maximum for supervised release under Wis.Stat. 939.50(3)(e). Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections granted the Fond du Lac Public Defender’s Office’s motion to vacate. Plaintiff was released from Chippewa Valley Correctional on November 5, 2014. However, he was handed over immediately to Waukesha County, Wisconsin, officials to serve a sentence imposed in a separate criminal matter.

OPINION

Plaintiff contends that defendants violated his constitutionally protected rights under the Fourth, Eighth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. I conclude that none of plaintiff’s allegations against any of the defendants states a claim upon which relief may be granted.

A. Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment Claim

1. Wisconsin Department of ...


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