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Roberts v. Hobbs

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

April 30, 2015

BRUNSON ROBERTS, ADC #127841, Plaintiff,
v.
RAY HOBBS, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction, et al., Defendants.

RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

J. THOMAS RAY, Magistrate Judge.

The following Recommended Disposition ("Recommendation") has been sent to United States Chief District Judge Brian S. Miller. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be specific and include the factual or legal basis for disagreeing with the Recommendation. An objection to a factual finding must specifically identify the finding of fact believed to be wrong and describe the evidence that supports that belief.

An original and one copy of the objections must be received in the office of the United States District Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Miller can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing all of the evidence in the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Brunson Roberts, is a prisoner in the Varner Super Max Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction ("ADC"). He has filed this pro se ยง 1983 action alleging that Defendants Ray Hobbs, Marvin Evans, Larry May, Shelli Maroney, Hazel Jackson, Charlotte Sumner, and Miriam Lester retaliated against him and racially discriminated against him by purposefully miscalculating his transfer eligibility date ("TE date").[1] Doc. 21.

The parties have filed Cross Motions for Summary Judgment and supporting briefs. Docs. 47, 48, 49, 66 through 73, 77, 78, & 82. For the following reasons, the Court recommends that: (1) Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted; (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied; and (3) the case be dismissed, with prejuduice.[2]

II. Undisputed Facts

In 2002, Plaintiff was convicted in the Pulaski County Circuit Court of possessing cocaine, failing to appear in court, violating probation, and possessing drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Doc. 48, at Ex. 1. As a habitual offender, he was sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison: (1) a 23 year combined sentence on the cocaine, failing to appear, and probation convictions; and (2) a 10 year consecutive sentence on the methamphetamine conviction. Id.

On March 6, 2003, Plaintiff arrived at the ADC. Doc. 48 at Ex. 1. At that time, he had not yet earned any good time credits.[3] Thus, his release or "discharge" date was August 3, 2035, which was calculated based on the assumption that Plaintiff would serve his entire 33 year sentence, minus the time he has already served in jail prior to his arrival at the ADC. Id.

By June 15, 2005, Plaintiff had achieved class 1 status and earned a considerable amount of good time credits.[4] Doc. 71 at Ex. 3. Consequently, his projected TE date had changed to May 30, 2014. Id. Importantly, the ADC document containing that information specifically advised Plaintiff that the May 30, 2014 TE date was " only a projection and includes all good time credit which can be earned based on your current status, " and that "[i]f all protected good time is not earned, the release date will change."[5] Id. (emphasis added).

Plaintiff, however, did not maintain class 1 status. Instead, by November 18, 2014, he had received at least sixty-nine disciplinary convictions. Doc. 48 at Ex. 1. As punishment, Plaintiff lost most of the good time credits he had previously earned, and his class was demoted numerous times resulting in the temporary suspension or reduction of his ability to earn future good time credits. Id. As a result, by November 18, 2014, Plaintiff's projected TE date had changed from May 30, 2014 to April 2, 2017. Doc. 48 at Ex. 5; Doc. 71 at Ex. 3.

Thereafter, Plaintiff improved his behavior. As a reward, prison officials restored some of his previously revoked good time credits and they gradually increased his class. Doc. 48 at Ex. 1. By March 5, 2015, which is the last TE calculation in the record, Plaintiff had achieved class 1 status. Doc. 78 at 2. Thus, on March 5, 2015, Plaintiff's projected TE date, assuming he does not receive any more disciplinary convictions and maintains a class 1 status, is August 17, 2016. Id.

III. ...


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