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Hudson v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division

March 3, 2017




         This matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner complaint of Charleston Hudson, who challenges the conditions of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. The plaintiff has brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a federal cause of action against “[e]very person” who under color of state authority causes the “deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants improperly revoked his post-release supervision on a cyberstalking charge. The defendants have moved [34] for summary judgment, and Hudson has responded. The matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the motion by the defendants for summary judgment will be granted, and judgment will be entered for the defendants.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the “materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) and (c)(1). “The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party to carry its burden.” Beck v. Texas State Bd. of Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)).

         After a proper motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Beck, 204 F.3d at 633; Allen v. Rapides Parish School Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000); Ragas v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998). Substantive law determines what is material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id., at 248. If the non-movant sets forth specific facts in support of allegations essential to his claim, a genuine issue is presented. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 327. “Where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Federal Savings and Loan, Inc. v. Krajl, 968 F.2d 500, 503 (5thCir. 1992).

         The facts are reviewed drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Allen, 204 F.3d at 621; PYCA Industries, Inc. v. Harrison County Waste Water Management Dist., 177 F.3d 351, 161 (5th Cir. 1999); Banc One Capital Partners Corp. v. Kneipper, 67 F.3d 1187, 1198 (5th Cir. 1995). However, this is so only when there is “an actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994); see Edwards v. Your Credit, Inc., 148 F.3d 427, 432 (5th Cir. 1998). In the absence of proof, the court does not “assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted).

         The very purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings and assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Advisory Committee Note to the 1963 Amendments to Rule 56. Indeed, “[t]he amendment is not intended to derogate from the solemnity of the pleadings. Rather, it recognizes that despite the best efforts of counsel to make his pleadings accurate, they may be overwhelmingly contradicted by the proof available to his adversary.” Id. The non-moving party (the plaintiff in this case), must come forward with proof to support each element of his claim. The plaintiff cannot meet this burden with “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. at 1356, “conclusory allegations, ” Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 871-73, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3180 (1990), “unsubstantiated assertions, ” Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92 (5th Cir. 1994), or by a mere “scintilla” of evidence, Davis v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 14 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 1994). It would undermine the purposes of summary judgment if a party could defeat such a motion simply by “replac[ing] conclusory allegations of the complaint or answer with conclusory allegations of an affidavit.”

         Undisputed Material Facts

         Charleston Hudson is in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) serving sentences for two counts of sexual battery.[1] He is currently housed at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. On November 22, 2010, in a single proceeding before the Circuit Court of Tippah County, Mississippi, Hudson pled guilty in Cause No. TK-2010-032 to Cyberstalking (Miss. Code Ann. § 97-45-15) and, in Cause No. TK-2010-100 to Jail Escape (Miss. Code Ann. § 97-9-49). In that same proceeding, the trial court sentenced Hudson to five years' imprisonment with none suspended on the cyberstalking charge, and five years' imprisonment with five years suspended on the jail escape charge. Docs. 7-3, 7-4. The court also sentenced Hudson to five years of supervised release on both charges (though, as discussed below, it was error to apply a period of post-release supervision to the cyberstalking sentence). Id. The net effect of the sentence was that Hudson would be incarcerated solely on the five-year cyberstalking charge - then, upon release, have five years' post-release supervision on the escape charge.

         Hudson was released from imprisonment for the cyberstalking conviction on February 25, 2013. His Mississippi Department of Corrections Discharge Certificate states that, as to the charges of cyberstalking and jail escape:

MDOC Number K9018 Name Hudson, Charleston has completed sentence service of 5 Year(s) in the Mississippi Department of Corrections and is hereby DISCHARGED ON February 25, 2013 due to Expiration of Sentence.

Doc. 1 at 49 (emphasis in original).

         On September 24, 2013, the trial court issued an order holding that Hudson had violated the terms of his post-release supervision in Cause No. CR2010-32 (cyberstalking). Eight days later, on October 2, 2013, the state court also revoked Hudson's probation on an escape charge in Cause No. 2010-100. The revocation order in Cause No. CR2010-32 (cyberstalking) was vacated on July 14, 2015. In that order, the trial court acknowledged that “the petitioner was erroneously revoked on CR2010-32 [cyberstalking].” Doc. 1 at 12.

         Under Mississippi's post-release supervision statute:

[T]he total number of years of incarceration plus the total number of years of post-release supervision shall not exceed the maximum sentence authorized to be imposed by law for the felony committed.

Miss. Code. Ann. § 47-7-34(1). The maximum sentence for cyberstalking under Miss. Code Ann. § 97-45-15 is five years, and in 2010 the court sentenced Hudson to five years' incarceration on that charge. However, as the sum of the terms of incarceration and supervised release on the single cyberstalking charge cannot exceed the maximum sentence (five years in this case), the court could not properly impose both a sentence of imprisonment of five years - and a period of supervised release on that same charge. Miss. Code Ann. § 47-7-34(1). Thus, when Hudson was released from incarceration on the cyberstalking charge, he had served that entire sentence.

         The Discharge Certificate also states that:

Hudson, Charleston is hereby remanded to the supervision of the Mississippi Probation and Parole Board to complete the suspended portion of his sentence under the jurisdiction of the court.

Doc. 1 at 49. Though less than clear, this part of the Discharge Certificate is also correct. Under the court's sentencing order, Hudson was under supervision (on the jail escape charge) from the moment he was released on the cyberstalking charge on February 25, 2013. The sentencing court had imposed a five-year period of supervised release on the jail escape charge, to be served after completion of the cyberstalking sentence:

The recommendation is on the cyberstalking charge that he be sentenced to serve a term of 5 years, and on the jail escape he be sentenced to serve a term of 5 years; that they run consecutive to each other for a total to 10 years, but the jail escape charge be suspended and he be placed on 5 years' post-release supervision. The net effect of it would be he's got a 10-year sentence, 5 years suspended with 5 years to serve and that 5 years to serve will be on the cyberstalking charge . . . .

Doc. 1 at 47-48.

         That is, ultimately, what occurred. Hudson's MDOC time sheet reflects that he has received credit for each day he spent in jail after the first revocation on September 24, 2013. Eight days passed between the erroneous revocation (September 24, 2013) and the proper one (October 2, 2013). According to Hudson's MDOC time sheet, he has been credited for those days, as the begin date on his current period of incarceration is September 24, 2013, rather than October 2, 2013. Finally, as of May 13, 2016, the trial court held that plaintiff has completed serving his sentence on the escape charge:

The Court hereby modifies the Order entered on October 2, 2013, that correctly revoked the probation of the Defendant in this case and suspends the balance of the time imposed in TK [20]10-100, that sentence now being suspended down to time served, it being the intention of the Court that the Defendant may now begin serving his consecutive ...

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