United States District Court, D. Oregon
Paul Julian Maney, SID No. 4598952, Oregon State Correctional Institution, 3405 Deer Park Drive S.E., Salem, OR 97310. Plaintiff pro se.
Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General and Andrew Hallman, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, 1162 Court Street N.E., Salem, OR 97301-4096. Of Attorneys for Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.
Plaintiff Paul Julian Maney ("Maney" or "Plaintiff") brought a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging the policies and practices of the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision ("Board"). In 2007 and 2010, the Board conducted a "Rehabilitation" hearing evaluating Maney's eligibility for parole. Maney had another hearing scheduled for October 2013, which, upon Maney's request, the Board agreed to defer until after the resolution of this litigation. Maney asserts that the policies and procedures of the Board, some of which have been amended by retroactively applicable statutes and regulations, deprive of him of his due process rights, deprive him of his equal protection rights, deprive him of his statutory right to counsel, violate the ex post facto prohibition in the United States Constitution, and deprive Maney of his constitutional right to informational privacy. Maney seeks a declaration that the manner in which the Rehabilitation hearings are conducted violate his constitutional rights and he seeks significant injunctive relief that would (1) require the Board to provide Maney with an attorney without a fee cap; (2) require the Board to provide Maney with an independent psychological examination; and (3) set forth numerous specific requirements on how the Board shall conduct Maney's next Rehabilitation hearing.
Defendants originally moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims on the grounds that the Court lacks jurisdiction under the Younger  and Rooker-Feldman  doctrines, claim preclusion bars Maney from asserting his claims, and his claims are barred by the statute of limitation. Dkt. 19. In his response to Defendants' motion to dismiss, Maney clarified that he is not asserting claims relating to his 2007 or 2010 Rehabilitation hearings, but that he is only asserting claims relating to the policies and procedures to be implemented in his currently-deferred Rehabilitation hearing. Defendants then abandoned their arguments based on Rooker-Feldman, the statute of limitations, and claim preclusion. Defendants maintain, however, that the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear Maney's claims because his claims are not ripe and because the Court must abstain from jurisdiction pursuant to the Younger doctrine. Because the Court finds that abstention under Younger is appropriate, Defendants' motion is granted.
A. The Court's Review of Pro Se Filings
A court must liberally construe the filings of a pro se plaintiff and afford the plaintiff the benefit of any reasonable doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). "A pro se litigant must be given leave to amend his or her complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.'" Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988) (quoting Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987), superseded on other grounds by statute as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir. 2000)). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), however, every complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." This standard "does not require detailed factual allegations, '" but does demand "more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
B. Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for Lack of Jurisdiction
The federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Gunn v. Minton, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1059, 1064 (2013) (citation omitted). As such, a court is to presume "that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted); see also Robinson v. United States, 586 F.3d 683, 685 (9th Cir. 2009); Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of "subject-matter jurisdiction, because it involves a court's power to hear a case, can never be forfeited or waived." United States v. Cotton, 535 U.S. 625, 630 (2002). An objection that a particular court lacks subject matter jurisdiction may be raised by any party, or by the court on its own initiative, at any time. Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp., 546 U.S. 500, 506 (2006); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). The Court must dismiss any case over which it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).
A Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction may be either "facial" or "factual." See Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039. A facial attack on subject matter jurisdiction is based on the assertion that the allegations contained in the complaint are insufficient to invoke federal jurisdiction. Id. "A jurisdictional challenge is factual where the challenger disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction.'" Pride v. Correa, 719 F.3d 1130, 1133 n.6 (9th 2013) (quoting Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039)). When a defendant factually challenges the plaintiff's assertion of jurisdiction, a court does not presume the truthfulness of the plaintiff's allegations and may consider evidence extrinsic to the complaint. See Terenkian v. Republic of Iraq, 694 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2012); Robinson, 586 F.3d at 685; Safe Air for Everyone, 373 F.3d at 1039. A factual challenge "can attack the substance of a complaint's jurisdictional allegations despite their formal sufficiency." Dreier v. United States, 106 F.3d 844, 847 (9th Cir. 1996) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
Maney was convicted of aggravated murder on November 6, 1981 and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for a minimum of 20 years. The Board is charged with making decisions about the rehabilitation and parole eligibility of inmates convicted of aggravated murder.
Pursuant to Or. Rev. Stat. § 163.105(2), after an inmate convicted of aggravated murder has served the minimum sentence, upon a petition by the prisoner the Board shall hold a Rehabilitation hearing. The sole issue at the hearing is "whether or not the prisoner is likely to be rehabilitated within a reasonable period of time." Or. Rev. Stat. § 163.105(2). At the hearing, the prisoner has burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the likelihood of rehabilitation within a reasonable time. Id. The prisoner has the right to an attorney, at board expense, and the right to subpoena evidence, both subject to Board rules and regulations. Id. The Board has established a regulation limiting the right to counsel paid for by the Board to a maximum of 10 hours and $1000. Or. Admin. R. XXX-XXX-XXXX(1)(b).
At the time of Maney's conviction, Or. Rev. Stat. § 163.105 required that Rehabilitation hearings be conducted in the manner prescribed for a contested case hearing under Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 183.310 to 183.500. At that time, a finding of rehabilitation required only a majority vote of the Board. In 1984, the Oregon legislature amended § 163.105 to require a unanimous vote of all Board members for a finding of rehabilitation. This amendment was not expressly made retroactive by the Oregon legislature. The statute was also amended in 1987, 1989, 1991, 1995 and 1999, none of which were expressly made retroactive by the Oregon legislature. In 2007, § 163.105 was amended. One amendment was to eliminate the requirement that Rehabilitation proceedings be conducted in the manner of contested case proceedings. The Oregon legislature established that the 2007 amendments shall apply to hearings conducted on or after the effective date of the 2007 Act. After the effective date of the 2007 amendment, the Board no longer conducts Rehabilitation hearings in the manner of a contested case hearing, regardless of the date of conviction.
In the Rehabilitation hearing, the inmate bears the burden of proving certain "rehabilitation criteria, " set forth in Or. Admin. R. XXX-XXX-XXXX. One such criterion is that the inmate does not have a mental or emotional conditionr that would predispose the inmate to the commission of a crime so as to render the inmate a danger to the community. Or. Admin. R. XXX-XXX-XXXX(8). Plaintiff is indigent and has continuously requested that the Board provide him with an independent psychologist during his Rehabilitation hearings. The Board has refused.
The Board has conducted four Rehabilitation hearings for Maney-in December 1997, October 2002, November 2007, and November 2010. After each hearing, the Board concluded that Maney did not satisfy his burden of proving the likelihood of rehabilitation within a reasonable time. As relevant here, Maney filed an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals, challenging the Board's 2007 decision and asserting that the Board violated Maney's due process rights by failing to provide him with an independent psychologist and by failing to disclose to Maney written evidence that was submitted for the hearing. Maney also asserted that there was not substantial evidence supporting the Board's conclusion regarding Maney's rehabilitation. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the Board without opinion and Maney filed a petition for review before the Oregon Supreme Court. This petition is currently pending.
Maney similarly filed an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals, challenging the Board's 2010 decision and asserting that the Board violated Maney's due process rights by failing to provide him with an independent psychologist and that there was not substantial evidence supporting the Board's conclusion. This appeal is currently pending.
In December 2012, Maney requested another Rehabilitation hearing and requested it be conducted in the manner of a contested case, that the attorney fee cap be waived, and that he be provided with an independent psychologist. On December ...