United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on the parties’ cross
motions for summary judgment (DE 33, 35, 42) pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The motions were fully
briefed and the issues raised are ripe for decision. For the
reasons that follow, the court grants defendant’s
motion for summary judgment, and denies plaintiff’s
OF THE CASE
a state inmate proceeding pro se, commenced this action by
filing correspondence addressed to the court on June 26,
2017. Plaintiff filed the operative complaint on July 13,
2017, asserting claims for violations of his civil rights
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges
defendant, the chairman of the North Carolina Parole
Commission, violated his rights under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by
failing to provide him with a meaningful opportunity to
obtain release on parole. As relief, plaintiff seeks a court
order either granting him parole or directing defendant to
review him for parole release under the procedures set forth
in the remedial plain entered in Hayden v Keller,
No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO (E.D. N.C. Nov. 2, 2017) (DE 83, 96).
24, 2018, the court entered case management order governing
discovery and pretrial dispositive motions practice, and also
appointed North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, Inc.
(“NCPLS”) to represent plaintiff for the
discovery phase of the case. The parties completed discovery
on or about October 24, 2018. On October 30, 2018, the court
granted NCPLS’s motion to withdraw from representing
November 15, 2018, plaintiff filed motion to appoint counsel.
Plaintiff’s motion also raised concerns about the
sufficiency of defendant’s discovery responses. On
November 20, 2018, the court entered order denying the motion
to appoint counsel, but giving plaintiff 14 days to file
motion to compel additional discovery responses. Plaintiff
filed response to the court’s order on November 26,
2018, stating that he did not intend to seek additional
discovery from defendant.
November 26, 2018, plaintiff filed the instant motion for
summary judgment, supported by a memorandum of law and
plaintiff’s declaration. On December 17, 2018,
defendant filed the instant motion for summary judgment and
incorporated opposition to plaintiff’s motion for
summary judgment. In support, defendant relies upon a
memorandum of law, statement of material facts, and the
following: 1) affidavit of Mary Stevens, administrator for
the North Carolina Parole Commission; 2) records from
plaintiff’s state criminal proceedings; 3) North
Carolina Parole Commission records concerning plaintiff; 4)
North Carolina Department of Public Safety
(“DPS”) proposed remedial plan, Hayden v.
Keller, No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO (DE 83); 5) November 2,
2017, order, Hayden v. Keller, No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO
(DE 96); and 6) March 19, 2018, order, Hayden v.
Keller, No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO (DE 113).
filed response in opposition to defendant’s motion for
summary judgment and his second instant motion for summary
judgment on January 18, 2019, supported by a memorandum of
law, statement of material facts, and appendix.
Plaintiff’s appendix included his parole review
records, and excerpts from the North Carolina Parole
Commission’s Standard Operations Manual. Defendant
filed response in opposition on February 6, 2019, supported
by opposition statement of material facts.
OF THE FACTS
undisputed facts and pertinent related litigation background
to plaintiff’s claims can be summarized as follows. In
February 1988, plaintiff was sentenced to life imprisonment
following state convictions for first degree rape, assault
with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and first
degree murder. (Stevens Aff. (DE 38-1) ¶ 4). Plaintiff
became eligible for parole on February 18, 2008.
(Id. ¶ 14). Plaintiff received his first parole
review in December 2007, and was reviewed again in March
2009, December 2011, December 2013, and December 2016.
(Id. ¶¶ 15-16). The North Carolina Parole
Commission denied parole release on each occasion.
(Id. ¶¶ 15-17). Plaintiff’s is
scheduled for another parole review in December 2019.
(Id. ¶ 16).
2010, while plaintiff’s parole reviews were ongoing, a
North Carolina inmate instituted Hayden v. Keller,
No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO, in this court. The Hayden
plaintiff alleged North Carolina’s parole review
procedures denied juveniles sentenced as adults to life
imprisonment with the possibility of parole a meaningful
opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity
and rehabilitation. Hayden v. Keller, 134 F.Supp.3d
1000, 1001 (E.D. N.C. 2015). On September 25, 2015, the
Hayden court granted in part the plaintiff’s
motion for summary judgment, finding that North
Carolina’s parole procedures, as applied to juvenile
offenders, violated the Eighth Amendment. Id. at
1011. The Hayden court also ordered the parties to
submit a proposed remedial plan that ensures juvenile
offenders convicted as adults in North Carolina are provided
a meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on
demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation. Id.
Hayden defendants appealed the September 25, 2015,
order, and the court granted the defendants’ motion to
stay implementation of the order pending appeal. Hayden
v. Keller, No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO (E.D. N.C. Nov. 13, 2015)
(DE 65). On August 1, 2016, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack
of jurisdiction. Hayden v. Butler, 667 Fed.Appx. 416
(4th Cir. 2016). On August 25, 2016, the Hayden
court lifted the stay, and directed the parties to file
proposed remedial plans within 60 days. Hayden v.
Keller, No. 5:10-CT-3123-BO (E.D. N.C. Aug. 25, 2016)
(DE 72). On November 2, 2017, the Hayden court
granted the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief,
adopted the defendants’ proposed remedial plan, and
directed defendants to implement the proposed plan within 90
days. Id. (Nov. 2, 2017) (DE 96). On March 19, 2018,
the Hayden court granted the parties’ joint
motion for extension of time to implement the remedial plan,
and ordered that the plan be implemented by July 28, 2018.
Id. (Mar. 19, 2018) (DE 113).