United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
John R. Griffin, Jr.
N.H. Department of Corrections and Ashlyn St. Germain
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge
the court is plaintiff John R. Griffin, Jr.'s complaint
(Doc. No. 1) asserting claims against the New Hampshire
Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and Ashlyn St.
Germain, Executive Assistant to the New Hampshire Adult
Parole Board (“APB”). Also pending is
Griffin's motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 6), filed
before defendants have appeared.
2016, Griffin's parole from an underlying state sentence
was revoked, and Griffin was incarcerated at the New
Hampshire State Prison (“NHSP”) after the
revocation. In November 2016, Griffin appeared before the APB
and was approved for reparole, subject to certain conditions.
Documents in the record indicate that in November 2016, the
APB authorized Griffin to be released on parole on the
conditions that he have an approved housing plan, and remain
free of disciplinary infractions for a period of time.
See St. Germain, Apr. 28, 2017 Response to Apr. 25,
2017 Inmate Request Slip (“IRS”) (Doc. No. 1, at
9); St. Germain, Apr. 7, 2017 Response to Apr. 4, 2017 IRS
(Doc. No. 1, at 17).
March 28, 2017, Griffin submitted an IRS to the APB,
requesting a parole rehearing in May 2017, six months after
the November 2016 hearing. See Griffin, Mar. 28,
2017 IRS (“March 28 IRS”) (Doc. No. 1, at 19).
Griffin asserted in the IRS that although he had been
paroled, subject to conditions, the condition that his
release be delayed until he had an “approved housing
plan” discriminated against him because of his
inability to pay for housing. Id. He further
asserted that the underlying June 2016 revocation of his
parole (which preceded the November 2016 conditional
re-parole decision), in his view, was obtained in violation
of his federal rights. St. Germain, on behalf of the APB
Office, responded that she wanted Griffin to tell her what
the goal of a new hearing would be, since he had already been
granted parole and “another hearing is not going to do
anything” for his lack of housing. St. Germain, Mar.
31, 2017 Response (“March 31 response”) to March
28 IRS (Doc. No. 1, at 19).
April 2017, Griffin submitted multiple requests for a new APB
hearing, stating that he intended to seek reconsideration of
the APB's June 2016 revocation of his parole, because he
believed the revocation was obtained in violation of his
federal rights, see Apr. 4, 2017 IRS (Doc. No. 1, at
17); that he was suing state officers for damages relating to
the June 2016 parole revocation, see Apr. 9, 2017
IRS (Doc. No. 1, at 11); and that he was entitled to a
six-month statutory review hearing before the APB,
see Apr. 25, 2017 IRS (Doc. No. 1, at 9). St.
Germain, on behalf of the APB, responded by stating that the
courts would evaluate his claims regarding the June 2016
revocation; and that the six-month statutory review procedure
under N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. (“RSA”) §
651-A:19, IV, was designed for inmates who remained subject
to an extended term of incarceration for a parole violation,
while he, in contrast, had already been approved for release
on parole, subject to conditions, in November 2016.
filed a complaint in this case asserting that the decision to
deny him a hearing violated his rights under RSA §
651-A:19, VI; and also violated his rights to due process
under the Fourteenth Amendment. Griffin further asserts that
he was denied a hearing in May 2017 in retaliation for his
exercise of First Amendment rights, in suing DOC parole
officers in a separate case. Citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Griffin seeks damages and an APB hearing. Griffin moved for
summary judgment on his claims, before this court completed
its preliminary review of his claims. See Doc. No.
magistrate judge in this court conducts a preliminary review
of prisoner complaints filed in forma pauperis. See
LR 4.3(d)(1). The magistrate judge may recommend to the
district judge that claims be dismissed if, among other
things, the court lacks jurisdiction, a defendant is immune
from the relief sought, or the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A(b)(1); LR 4.3(d)(1)(A).
In conducting its preliminary review, the court construes pro
se complaints liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam). The complaint must contain
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief.'” See Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).
names a state agency, the DOC, as a defendant to his claims
for injunctive relief. “A state's immunity under
the Eleventh Amendment applies whether a private
plaintiff's suit is for monetary damages or some other
type of relief.” New Hampshire v.
Ramsey, 366 F.3d 1, 14 (1st Cir. 2004). Griffin's
claims against the DOC for damages and injunctive relief
should be dismissed as barred by the Eleventh Amendment.