United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JOHN J. CASTELLANO, Plaintiff
REBECCA MAHIN and WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS DIVISION OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS, Defendants.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
John J. Castellano, who is incarcerated at Racine
Correctional Institution, proceeds in this matter pro
se. He filed a lengthy complaint alleging that the
defendants violated his constitutional rights. (Docket #1).
The Court ordered Plaintiff to supply an amended complaint in
compliance with, inter alia, Rule 8 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docket #11 at 7). Plaintiff did so
on June 7, 2017, submitting a succinct three-page amended
complaint. (Docket #12).
noted in its May 30, 2017 screening order on the initial
complaint, the Court is required to screen complaints brought
by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or
an officer or employee of a governmental entity. See
(Docket #11 at 1); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must
dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has
raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious,
" that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The same
standards cited in the original screening order apply here.
(Docket #11 at 1-3).
amended complaint alleges that Defendant Rebecca Mahin
("Mahin") was his parole agent from June 18, 2013
to January 17, 2014. (Docket #12 at 1). Plaintiff claims that
in enforcing various parole rules against him, Mahin violated
his constitutional rights. Id. at 1-3. These include
an alleged violation of Plaintiff's First Amendment
rights "by intimidating him writing: '[Y]ou
SHALL place your initials at the end of each
specific rule to show you have read the rule.'"
Id. at 1. In the same vein, Plaintiff claims his
First Amendment rights were violated when Mahin sought to
revoke Plaintiff's parole for his refusal to sign the
parole rules. Id. at 2. Plaintiff contends that
other of his constitutional rights were violated when Mahin
enforced his parole rules on computer access (First
Amendment), employment (First Amendment), GPS monitoring
(Fourth Amendment), and incarcerating him for parole
violations, thereby interfering with his medications (Eighth
Amendment). Id. Finally, Plaintiff maintains that
Mahin violated his Equal Protection rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment by seeking revocation of his parole.
Id. at 2-3.
Plaintiff's claims are the proper subject of a petition
for a writ of habeas corpus. The Seventh Circuit holds that
conditions of probation are a form of custody. Drollinger
v. Milligan, 552 F.2d 1220, 1225 (7th Cir. 1977). A
challenge to those conditions is an attack on the fact and/or
duration of the plaintiff's confinement, which "is
the traditional function of the writ of habeas corpus."
Id. Now that Plaintiff's parole has been revoked
and he is incarcerated, any potential habeas relief has been
rendered moot. Further, the plaintiff may not proceed on a
claim "for having been recommitted based on the
violation of release conditions that he contends are
unconstitutional ... A successful damages claim would
vitiate the basis for his commitment, and Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 . . . (1994), bars civil damages
actions where a 'judgment in favor of the plaintiff would
necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or
sentence.'" Henderson v. Bryant,
606 F.App'x 301, 304 (7th Cir. 2015). To the extent
Plaintiff was revoked on any of the complained-of conditions,
Heck bars any claim.
similar factual scenario, Henderson identified one
type of claim that could survive screening:
Henderson appears to seek damages for having had to endure
for three months the restrictive conditions of release (or
abusive actions of the defendants) that did not lead to his
recommitment but which he contends to have been
unconstitutional. Because a successful damages action
challenging those conditions or actions would not imply the
invalidity of his current confinement, Heck does not
bar a § 1983 claim challenging them. But these claims
face a different hurdle: insofar as they seek damages from
the defendants for enforcing release conditions that a court
specifically ordered, the defendants may be protected by
absolute quasi-judicial immunity, which would bar any
recovery. But for two reasons it is too soon to treat these
claims as blocked by absolute immunity. First, Henderson
contends that, by barring all contact with family members and
entering and searching his home at night while he slept, the
defendants enforced the court's order in an
unconstitutional manner; a claim that a defendant enforced a
court order in an unconstitutional manner is not necessarily
barred by quasi-judicial immunity. Second, the defendants
have not yet been served and so have not yet advanced any
defenses, which the district court should ordinarily consider
in the first instance. Henderson may thus proceed on this one
aspect of his case.
Id. at 304-05 (citations omitted).
complaint and related exhibits do not clearly explain the
full extent of the conditions to which Plaintiff was subject,
the criminal case or other action in which those conditions
were imposed, and a complete list of the reasons for his
latest parole revocation. Without these facts, the Court
cannot conclude that all of Plaintiff's claims are
invalid. However, upon appearance by Mahin, the remainder may
be dismissed pursuant to applicable affirmative defenses,
such as immunity or the Heck doctrine, if the facts
show that Plaintiff's current confinement is pursuant to
a violation of the conditions. Id. Still, those
considerations must wait until Mahin has had an opportunity
to respond to Plaintiff's amended complaint.
the court finds that Plaintiff may proceed on the following
claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b): Mahin's
imposition of conditions of probation beyond those permitted
by the applicable criminal judgment(s) or other valid orders
imposing the same, or the imposition of existing conditions
in an unconstitutional manner, in violation of
Plaintiff's rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff is not permitted to proceed
on a claim for injunctive relief related to enforcement of
the parole supervision rules; a claim for past wrongs is moot
because he is now in prison, and a claim for future wrongs is
premature because no parole rules have yet been imposed.
Id. at 304.
IT IS ORDERED that the Defendant Wisconsin Department of
Corrections Division of Community Corrections be and the same
is hereby DISMISSED from this action;
FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to an informal service
agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Justice and
this court, copies of plaintiff's amended complaint and
this order are being electronically sent today to the
Wisconsin Department of Justice for service on the state
FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to the informal service
agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Justice and
this court, the defendant shall file a responsive pleading to
the amended complaint ...