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Ford v. Conway

July 1, 2009

VICTOR CLARKE FORD, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES CONWAY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties have consented to have the undersigned conduct any and all further proceedings in this case, including entry of final judgment. Dkt. #45.

Plaintiff, a former inmate at the Attica Correctional Facility, filed this pro se action on or about November 20, 2003 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. Dkt. #1. Plaintiff's remaining claim against defendants James Conway, Richard A. Savage and Glenn S. Goord alleges that he was illegally detained beyond his maximum release date of May 14, 2003 in violation of his rights pursuant to the United States Constitution.*fn1 Currently before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment.

Dkt. #49. For the following reasons, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a former inmate at the Attica Correctional Facility ("Attica") filed this pro se action on or about November 20, 2003 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York against defendants James Conway, T.G. Eagen, Richard A. Savage, Glenn S. Goord and K. Bellamy. Dkt. #1. Plaintiff alleges that while he was incarcerated at Attica, defendants, inter alia, denied him reasonable accommodation for a disability, disregarded a "proscribed [sic] order" requiring "no shower chair," violated his right to equal protection, and "detain[ed plaintiff] beyond [his] court assigned maximum release date." Dkt. #1. Thereafter, because the acts about which plaintiff complains in his complaint allegedly occurred at Attica, located within the Western District of New York, this action was transferred from the Northern District of New York to the Western District of New York. Dkt. #4.

Following the transfer to the Western District of New York, United States District Judge Michael A. Telesca issued an Order dismissing several of plaintiff's claims unless plaintiff filed an amended complaint by April 1, 2004. Specifically, District Judge Telesca's Order dismissed: (1) plaintiff's "reasonable accommodation claim (Complaint, First and Second Causes of Action, ¶¶ 5-6), which this Court construes as a claim under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132;" (2) plaintiff's equal protection claim in relation to his delayed application for SSI benefits (Complaint, Third Cause of Action); and (3) plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims based on defendants' alleged failure to provide adequate medical care and failure to rectify deficiencies (Complaint, First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Causes of Action, ¶¶ 5-8). Dkt. #7. Notwithstanding District Judge Telesca's Order giving plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended complaint by April 1, 2004, plaintiff failed to file an amended complaint. Accordingly, consistent with District Judge Telesca's prior Order (Dkt. #7), United States District Judge William M. Skretny issued an Order dated June 8, 2004 dismissing with prejudice plaintiff's First through Fifth Causes of Action and terminating defendants T.G. Eagen and K. Bellamy as parties. Dkt. #14.

Plaintiff's only remaining cause of action states in its entirety:

[d]efendants Conway, Savage, and Goord further acted in such an [sic] deliberate and evil manner, by illegally detaining me beyond my court assigned maximum release date of May 14, 2003, and thereby not only violated plaintiff's civil rights, but the Constitution of the United States and the New York State Constitution's Article 1 Section 6.

Dkt. #1, ¶ 9. In the introductory paragraphs to the complaint, plaintiff alleges that he was "previously incarcerated legally" at Attica from August 15, 2002 to May 14, 2003. Id. at ¶ 4. From May 14, 2003 until June 6, 2003, however, plaintiff alleges that his incarceration at Attica was "illegal." Id.

In support of their motion for summary judgment, defendants submit the affidavit of Richard de Simone, Associate Counsel in charge of New York's Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") Office of Sentencing Review. Dkt. #57. In his affidavit, Mr. de Simone calculates the maximum expiration date of plaintiff's original sentence and thereafter, re-calculates the maximum expiration date of plaintiff's sentence following, inter alia, his return to DOCS as a conditional release violator. On November 7, 1985, plaintiff was sentenced by the Oneida County Court to a term of six (6) years to eighteen (18) years for Sodomy 1st and two terms of two (2) years to six (6) years for Sexual Abuse 1st (hereinafter referred to as "the 1985 sentences"). Dkt. #58, ¶ 6. The three terms were ordered to run concurrent. Id. The 1985 sentences commenced when plaintiff was transferred to DOCS on December 24, 1985 pursuant to N.Y. Penal Law § 70.30(1). Id. at ¶ 7. At that time, pursuant to N.Y. Correction Law § 600-a and N.Y. Penal Law § 70.30(3), the eighteen (18) year maximum term was credited with 218 days of jail time "certified to the 1985 sentences by the Oneida County Sheriff's Department." Id. The certification from the Oneida County Sheriff's Department did not, however, specify the dates included in the 218 day period. Id.

As explained in the de Simone affidavit, the maximum expiration date of the 1985 sentences was initially calculated as follows (years-months-days):

18-00-00 controlling maximum term of concurrent 1985 sentences - 00-07-08 credit of 218 days of jail time 17-04-22 time to serve on maximum term 1985-12-24 date 1985 sentences commenced upon transfer to DOCS 2003-05-15 initial maximum expiration date Dkt. #57, ¶ 4 and Exhibit B thereto; Dkt. #58, ¶ 8. Thereafter, on September 27, 1996, the maximum expiration date of the 1985 sentences was recalculated pursuant to an undated, amended jail time certificate issued by the Oneida County Sheriff's Department. Id. at ¶ 9. The certificate increased plaintiff's jail time credit from 218 days to 219 days for the period May 19, 1985 and December 23, 1985 and plaintiff's maximum expiration date was re-calculated as follows.

18-00-00 controlling maximum time of concurrent 1985 sentences - 00-07-09 credit of 219 days of jail time 17-04-21 time to serve on maximum term 1985-12-24 date 1985 sentences commenced upon transfer to DOCS 2003-05-14 adjusted maximum expiration date Dkt. #57, ¶ 5 and Exhibits C & D thereto; Dkt. #58, ¶ 9.

On May 17, 1999, plaintiff was conditionally released to supervision by the New York State Division of Parole ("Parole"). Thereafter, Parole declared plaintiff delinquent as of July 5, 2000. Dkt. #57, ¶ 6; Dkt. #58, ¶ 10. Accordingly, the 1985 sentences were interrupted during the period between the July 5, 2000 delinquency date and the September 27, 2000 date on which plaintiff was returned to DOCS as a conditional release violator. Dkt. #57, ¶ 6 and Exhibits A & E thereto; Dkt. #58, ¶ 10; see also N.Y. Penal Law § 70.40(3)(b). Upon plaintiff's return to DOCS as a conditional release violator on September 27, 2000, the 1985 sentences were thereafter credited with fifty-three (53) days of parole jail time for the period between August 5, 2000 (the date on which plaintiff was arrested) and September 26, 2000. Dkt. #57, ¶ 7; Dkt. #58, ¶ 11. Accordingly, on October 2, 2000, the July 5, 2000 delinquency date and the 53 days parole jail time credit resulted in the following re-calculation of the plaintiff's maximum expiration date:

2003-05-14 adjusted maximum expiration date - 2000-07-05 declared delinquent by Parole 02-10-09 delinquent time owed to maximum term - 00-01-23 53 days of parole jail time 02-08-16 net delinquent time owed to maximum term 2000-09-27 date returned to DOCS as a conditional release violator 2003-06-13 adjusted maximum expiration date Dkt. # 57, ¶ 7 and Exhibit F thereto; Dkt. #58, ¶ 11. Thereafter, DOCS updated the calculation of plaintiff's maximum expiration date to reflect that Parole had adjusted his delinquency date from July 5, 2000 to July 11, 2000. Dkt. # 57, ¶ 8 and Exhibit G thereto; Dkt. #58, ¶ 12. Below is the updated calculation:

2003-05-14 adjusted maximum expiration date - 2000-07-11 declared delinquent by Parole (adjusted) 02-10-03 delinquent time owed to maximum term - 00-01-23 53 days of parole jail time 02-08-10 net delinquent time owed to maximum term 2000-09-27 date returned to DOCS as a conditional release violator 2003-06-07 adjusted maximum expiration date Id. Because plaintiff's maximum expiration date of June 7, 2003 was a Saturday, ...


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