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Robinson v. State of New Jersey Drug Court

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 6, 2019


          Albert Theodore Robinson, No. 41659 Plaintiff Pro Se

          Ashley L. Costello, Esq. Office of the Attorney General Counsel for Defendants


          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Albert Theodore Robinson filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of New Jersey Drug Court, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, and the Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb McRae. ECF No. 1 at 7. Plaintiff moved to voluntarily dismiss the claims against the Cumberland County Prosecutor and the Prosecutor's Office, and the Court granted a motion to dismiss as to the remaining defendants because they were not amenable to suit under § 1983. Plaintiff has since filed an Amended Complaint, which he brings against the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office, the Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb McRae, and assistant prosecutor Walter Schulz. ECF No. 18.

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, which is ripe for adjudication. ECF No. 21. Plaintiff has filed no opposition to the Motion. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion and dismiss the Amended Complaint, with leave to amend granted.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff Albert Theodore Robinson is presently housed in a treatment program at Hansen House, in Galloway, New Jersey, and was previously incarcerated at the Cumberland County Jail in Bridgeton, New Jersey.[1] According to the Amended Complaint, as a result of certain state criminal charges, Plaintiff entered into an agreement with Defendants Prosecutor Jennifer Webb McRae, Walter Schulz, and the Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office for a negotiated term of imprisonment, including an eight-year aggregated term comprised of 2 four-year consecutive sentences with an additional three-year flat concurrent sentence for a total eight-year sentence, and a jail credit agreement of 1, 095 days, 25 gap credits, both of which are to be subtracted from the four year sentences. ECF No. 18 at 1; 33-35; 42. Plaintiff's maximum expiration of sentence including projected work and good time credits was on or about June 1, 2012. Id.

         About a year after Plaintiff arrived at South Woods State Prison in April 2012, Plaintiff noticed on his account statement that his maximum expiration of sentence was extended to 2018, which prompted him to investigate the application of his jail credits with the classifications department for the commissioner of the State of New Jersey. Id. at 2. He received a certified response from that office informing him that the sentencing judge had removed jail credits as the Department of Corrections suggested that they were duplicate credits. Id.

         Plaintiff then filed an appeal to the New Jersey Superior Court's Appellate Division for “the unlawful conspired removal of jail credit which extended his sentence from 2012 to 2018.” Id. at 3. It appears this appeal was filed in 2012 and oral argument in the appeal was held on February 5, 2013. See id. at 42. The Appellate Division remanded for reconsideration of the jail credits and the concurrent application of the three-year sentence for Indictment No. 11-07-622. Id. at 3; 42 (remand order filed Feb. 8, 2013). Plaintiff alleges that on remand, the Defendants held a hearing without the notice or presence of Plaintiff, which caused him undue stress because they only applied “a partial of what the order commanded.” Id. at 3.

         As a result of receiving only partial relief, he filed a second appeal to the Appellate Division some time in 2013. Id. at 4. During the pendency of the appeal, it appears that Plaintiff's counsel negotiated with the attorney representing the New Jersey Attorney General's Office to agree to a remand for reconsideration and application of all jail credits for all indictments, which is reflected in the transcript of the appeal proceedings and the remand order, dated July 28, 2014. See Id. at 45-50. After the second remand, Plaintiff's jail credits were recalculated and correctly applied as intended in the plea agreement. With all credits applied to his sentence, he was released on December 15, 2014. Id. at 4.

         As for his claims for relief, Plaintiff alleges that the “Defendants deprived the Plaintiff of his constitutional rights while acting under color of state law, ” because the Plaintiff and Defendants had a verbal and written agreement that Defendants unlawfully withdrew, which caused Plaintiff harm. Id. Plaintiff requests monetary relief and explains that as a result of the Defendants' actions, he suffered cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, that he was wrongfully incarcerated in violation of his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and that he was falsely imprisoned and prosecuted maliciously. Id. at 5.

         II. Standard of Review

         In a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a pleading must set forth a claim for relief which contains a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; the complaint must provide the defendant with fair notice of the claim. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must accept as true all factual allegations. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (per curiam). The issue in a motion to dismiss is whether the plaintiff should be entitled to offer evidence to support the claim, not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (the Rule 8 pleading standard “‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary element.”); Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996).

         The onus is on the plaintiff to provide a well-drafted complaint that alleges factual support for its claims. “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (alteration in original and internal citations omitted). The court need not accept unsupported inferences, Cal. Pub. Employees Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004), nor legal conclusions cast as factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. Legal conclusions without factual support are not entitled to the ...

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