United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Tyler Division
ANTHONY L. PIERCE, #1813502
BRAD LIVINGSTON, ET AL.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
CLARK, UNITED SLATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Anthony L. Pierce, an inmate confined at the Michael Unit of
the Texas prison system, proceeding pro se, filed
the above-styled and numbered civil rights lawsuit pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint was referred to
United States Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell, who issued
a Report and Recommendation (Dkt. #22) concluding that the
lawsuit should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1). Mr. Pierce has filed objections (Dkt. #23).
present lawsuit is just one of many complaints recently
received by the court focusing on the Thirteenth Amendment.
Mr. Pierce complains that inmates are force to work without
compensation. He argues that making inmates work without
compensation amounts to slavery, in violation of the
Thirteenth Amendment. Section 1 of the Thirteenth Amendment
states the following:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place
subject to their jurisdiction.
Fifth Circuit has repeatedly rejected lawsuits based on the
Thirteenth Amendment where inmates complained they were not
paid or compensated for their work product. Ali v.
Johnson, 259 F.3d 317, 318 (5th Cir. 2001)
(“[I]nmates sentenced to incarceration cannot state a
viable Thirteenth Amendment claim if the prison system
requires them to work.”); Wendt v. Lynaugh,
841 F.2d 619, 620 (5th Cir. 1988); Walker v. Director
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 177 F. App'x
426 (5th Cir. 2006). The Court observed that the Thirteenth
Amendment specifically excepts “punishment for crime
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
Wendt, 841 F.2d at 620.
Pierce's objections primarily focus on Magistrate Judge
Mitchell's discussion about whether he has an expectancy
of release and a protected liberty interest in good time/work
time. “'[N]either habeas nor civil rights relief
can be had absent the allegation by a plaintiff that he or
she has been deprived of some right secured to him or her by
the United States Constitution or the laws of the United
States.'” Hillard v. Bd. of Pardons and
Paroles, 759 F.2d 1190, 1192 (5th Cir. 1985) (citation
omitted). “There is no constitutional or inherent right
of a convicted person to be conditionally released before the
expiration of a valid sentence.” Greenholtz v.
Inmates of Neb. Penal & Correctional Complex, 442
U.S. 1, 7, 99 S.Ct. 2100, 2014 (1979). Under the
Constitution, a prison system is entitled to incarcerate an
inmate the entire length of his sentence. A State may,
however, establish a parole system. Id. An inmate
may have a due process right in good time and an expectancy
of early release depending upon the wording of a state
statute. Id. at 11-12, 99 S.Ct. at 2106. Texas law,
however, does not create an entitlement to release on parole.
Williams v. Briscoe, 641 F.2d 274, 277 (5th Cir.),
cert. denied, 454 U.S. 854, 102 S.Ct. 299 (1981).
Mr. Pierce does not have a protected liberty interest in
parole. His argument in his objections that he has an
entitlement to parole is contrary to clearly established
Fifth Circuit law.
comparison, Texas' mandatory supervision law may create
some “expectancy of release” depending upon the
circumstances surrounding an inmate's conviction, thereby
providing a protected liberty interest. Boss v.
Quarterman, 552 F.3d 425, 427 (5th Cir. 2008). Thus, the
initial question for the Court's consideration is whether
Mr. Pierce is eligible for release on mandatory supervision.
As was noted in the Report and Recommendation, Mr. Pierce is
in custody pursuant to a conviction for capital murder. He
acknowledges that he has a life sentence. He is ineligible
for release on mandatory supervision because of his life
sentence. Arnold v. Cockrell, 306 F.3d 277, 279 (5th
Cir. 2002). Because he is not eligible for release on
mandatory supervision, Mr. Pierce does not have a protected
liberty interest in good conduct time or work time associated
with mandatory supervision. Bagby v. Karriker, 539
F. App'x 468, 469 (5th Cir. 2013). Under the
circumstances of his conviction, Mr. Pierce does not have a
basis for a lawsuit regarding a protected liberty interest in
release from prison or good time or work time.
Pierce also alleges in his complaint and objections that his
rights under the Ex Post Facto Clause have been violated. In
particular, the Parole Board's retrospective use of new
laws to increase the time between reviews for parole
(set-offs) allegedly violate the Ex Post Facto Clause. The
Fifth Circuit has rejected such arguments. Olstad v.
Collier, 326 F. App'x 261, 263-64 (5th Cir. 2009).
Plaintiff's ex post facto claims, along with his
objections, are frivolous.
Pierce also refers to Subsection Three of his original
complaint, which renews his complaint about inmates not being
paid wages for labor/services. He notes that Texas recognizes
the need to pay prisoners for some types of labor/services
associated with the Federal Prison Programs Act and codified
in Tex. Gov't Code § 497.004. Magistrate Judge
Mitchell correctly observed, however, that the statute merely
provides for the possibility of inmates being paid, but it
did not create an entitlement to being paid. Mr. Pierce
attempts to link good time/work time as a substitute for
actual payment, but he does not have a constitutionally
protected interest in being paid wages or receiving good time
or work time. He does not have a basis for a meritorious
lawsuit in federal court due to the lack of a
constitutionally protected interest. The lawsuit is
Report of the Magistrate Judge, which contains her proposed
findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition of
such action, has been presented for consideration, and having
made a de novo review of the objections raised by
Mr. Pierce to the Report, the court is of the opinion that
the findings and conclusions of the Magistrate Judge are
correct, and Mr. Pierce's objections are without merit.
Therefore, the court adopts the findings and conclusions of
the Magistrate Judge as the findings and conclusions of the
court. It is accordingly
that the complaint is DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). All motions ...