United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
JULIUS L. IVY, Plaintiff,
CATHY A. JESS, JOHN PAQUIN, MARK HEISE, K. BUSKE, BRUCE SIEDSCHLAG, R. BARTEL, and MS. RYAN, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge.
plaintiff Julius L. Ivy, an inmate incarcerated at the Fox
Lake Correctional Institution, brings this civil complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that various prison
officials are unconstitutionally depriving him of
opportunities to participate in programs that could earn him
early release. Ivy has paid the initial partial filing fee
for this action as ordered by the court.
next step is for me to screen the complaint and dismiss any
portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money
damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money
damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In screening any pro se
litigant's complaint, the court must read the allegations
of the complaint generously. Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). After reviewing the complaint with
this principle in mind, I conclude that Ivy has failed to
state a claim against defendants. But I will give Ivy an
opportunity to file an amended complaint that more clearly
explains the basis for his claims and the individual
defendants' roles in the events underlying this suit.
the following facts from Ivy's complaint. Dkt. 1.
Julius L. Ivy is a prisoner at the Fox Lake Correctional
Institution. Ivy wishes to participate in the Challenge
Incarceration Program or Earned Release Program, two early
release programs that can reduce the period of incarceration
for certain prisoners. The Program Review Committee has
blocked Ivy from participating in these programs because of
his sentence structure. By this, I take Ivy to mean the
length of his term of incarceration.
purports to bring Fourth and Fourteenth amendment claims
against defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to
include “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Ivy's complaint does not comply with Rule 8 in two ways:
First, Ivy's complaint fails to allege sufficient facts
to state a claim against any defendant because he does not
explain how any of the named defendants were personally
involved in the events underlying this suit. Second, as
discussed in greater detail below, it is not clear how the
decision to keep Ivy out of the early release programs would
violate Ivy's rights or any federal law. I will give Ivy
an opportunity to amend his complaint to allege facts that do
state a claim. If he chooses to amend his complaint, he must
file an entirely new complaint that replaces his original
complaint. Before amending his complaint, he should carefully
read the explanation below, which outlines the problems in
his complaint. He should draft his amended complaint as if he
were telling a story to people who know nothing about his
situation. He should explain the specific actions each
defendant took that he believes violated his rights. Ivy need
not cite specific laws; he need only describe what each named
defendant did and how it violated his rights.
interpret Ivy's complaint as attempting to bring a
Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim against
defendants for barring him from participating in programs
that could earn him early release from prison. The purpose of
the equal protection clause “is to secure every person
within the State's jurisdiction against intentional and
arbitrary discrimination.” Village of Willowbrook
v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564 (2000) (per curiam) (quoting
Sioux City Bridge Co. v. Dakota County, 260 U.S.
441, 445 (1923)). To state a claim under the equal protection
clause, a plaintiff must allege that he “has been
intentionally treated differently from others similarly
situated and that there is no rational basis for the
difference in treatment.” Id. The problem for
Ivy is that he does not explain how defendants'
determination that he is ineligible for early release
programs is intentional and arbitrary discrimination. The
state may rationally consider the length of a prisoner's
sentence, a measure of how serious the state considers his
crime to be, when determining eligibility for participation
in programs that may allow an opportunity for early release
from prison. Ivy has not stated a claim for relief under the
equal protection clause.
also contends that defendants' actions violate the Fourth
Amendment, which concerns searches and seizures. But Ivy does
not provide any explanation of how the Fourth Amendment could
apply to his claims and I can think of none, so I will deny
him leave to proceed on a claim under this theory.
Ivy also contends that defendants' actions violate
Wisconsin state law. A complaint under state law only does
not establish federal jurisdiction unless Ivy can establish
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Diversity
jurisdiction exists when: (1) the amount in controversy
exceeds $75, 000; and (2) the parties are citizens of
different states. Ivy does not allege that he and defendants
are citizens of different states. This court may exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims that are
“so related” to a plaintiff's federal law
claims that they “form part of the same case or
controversy.” 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). But Ivy has not
yet stated a claim for relief under federal law, so for now
at least I must deny him leave to proceed on any potential
state law claims.
Plaintiff Julius L. Ivy's Fourth Amendment claim is
DISMISSED for failure to state a claim ...