Jersey Constitution and the Sex Offender and Parole Acts
(N.J.S.A. 2A:164-3, et. seq. and N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.45). The
defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to
This is a companion case to one filed by Title 2C inmates in
Groves v. Fauver, Civil Action No. 91-796 (Honorable William G.
Bassler), which raised the same issues except for that about
work or commutation credits and was settled after motion
practice. In Groves all of the claims were dismissed by the
settlement agreement except the claim that Title 2A inmates are
entitled to work or commutation credits similar to those
afforded to Title 2C inmates. Two of the plaintiffs in the
present case, Manigold and Williams, are presently confined in
the ADTC while the remaining two, Prevard and Gunn, have been
released on parole after the initiation of this suit. Plaintiff
Gunn has withdrawn from this lawsuit.
The Court reviews a motion for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) under the same standard as a
motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See
Constitution Bank v. DiMarco, 815 F. Supp. 154, 157 (E.D.Pa.
1993). On a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court is required to
accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and to view
them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See
Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384
(3d Cir. 1994). Under Rule 12(c), judgement will only be
granted if it is clearly established that no material issue of
fact remains to be resolved and that the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See, Jablonski v. Pan American
World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289, 290-91 (3d Cir. 1988). The
question is whether the plaintiff can prove any set of facts
consistent with his allegations that will entitle him to
relief, not whether he will ultimately prevail. See Hishon v.
King and Spaulding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d
While a court will accept well-pleaded allegations as true
for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept legal or
unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping
legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations.
See Miree v. DeKalb County, Ga., 433 U.S. 25, 27, 97 S.Ct.
2490, 53 L.Ed.2d 557 (1977); Washington Legal Found. v.
Massachusetts Bar Found., 993 F.2d 962, 971 (1st Cir. 1993).
Moreover, the claimant must set forth sufficient information to
outline the elements of his claims or permit inferences to be
drawn that these elements exist. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2);
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80
The plaintiffs have submitted a brief in opposition to "the
defendant's motion for summary judgment" and responded to the
defendant's motion as if it were a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P.
56. However, the defendant has moved for judgment on the
pleadings pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c); the Court will treat
these opposing actions as 12(b)(6) motions.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution
provides that "no state shall . . . deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." The Equal
Protection clause mandates that all persons similarly situated
be treated the same. See City of Cleburne, Texas v. Cleburne
Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 105 S.Ct. 3249, 87 L.Ed.2d 313
(1985). However, the constitutional principles of equal
protection do not require that all persons be treated
identically. See Trantino v. Dept. of Corrections, 168 N.J. Super. 220,
226, 402 A.2d 947 (App. Div. 1979). They require
only that any differences in treatment be justified by an
appropriate state interest, and the State need only show a
rational basis for a
classification where the classification is not suspect.
Id. State laws are generally entitled to a presumption of
validity against attack under the Equal Protection Clause. See
Parham v. Hughes, 441 U.S. 347, 99 S.Ct. 1742, 60 L.Ed.2d 269
To bring a successful claim for violation of equal
protection, the plaintiff must show that the allegedly
offensive categorization invidiously discriminates against the
disfavored group. See Kranson v. Valley Crest Nursing Home,
755 F.2d 46, 52 (3d Cir., 1985); Price v. Cohen, 715 F.2d 87, 91-92
(3d Cir. 1983), cert. denied 465 U.S. 1032, 104 S.Ct. 1300, 79
L.Ed.2d 700 (1984). In the absence of invidious discrimination,
a court is not free under the Equal Protection Clause to
substitute its judgment for the will of the people of a State
as expressed in laws passed by their popularly elected
legislature. See Parham v. Hughes, 441 U.S. 347, 351, 99 S.Ct.
1742, 1745, 60 L.Ed.2d 269, 274 (1979); Lockport v. Citizens
for Community Action, 430 U.S. 259, 272, 97 S.Ct. 1047, 51
L.Ed.2d 313 (1977).
The Supreme Court has formulated a standard of review for
prisoners' constitutional claims. See Turner v. Safley,
482 U.S. 78, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987). "[W]hen a prison
regulation impinges on an inmate's constitutional rights, the
regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to a legitimate
penological interest." Id. at 89, 107 S.Ct. 2254. In other
words, such a regulation will stand so long as it passes a
"rational basis" test.
For parole consideration, repetitive and compulsive sex
offenders sentenced to ADTC are treated differently from other
New Jersey Department of Corrections ("NJDOC") inmates. They
must pass two boards of review to be eligible for parole: the
Special Classification Review Board ("SCRB") and the State
Parole Board ("SPB"). Once the SCRB determines that an inmate
is eligible for parole consideration, that person goes before
the SPB, which makes a final decision whether to grant parole.
1. Work and Commutation Credits
The plaintiffs contend that the defendants improperly
withheld work and commutation credits from them as Title 2A
inmates. The defendants counter by saying that this contention
fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted because
they are in compliance with state law N.J.S.A. 2A164-10, which
is constitutional. N.J.S.A. 2A:164-10 directs that "[n]o
statute relating to remission of sentence by way of commutation
time for good behavior and for work performed shall apply to
any such person committed pursuant to section 2A:164-6 of this
title." This type of statute has been found to be
constitutional and not in violation of the equal protection
clause. Compare State v. Wingler,