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Releford v. Washington Department of Corrections

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

April 17, 2014

TERRANCE L. RELEFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JAMES P. DONOHUE, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY CONCLUSION

Plaintiff Terrance Releford is a state prisoner who brings this action under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 to allege violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by Washington Department of Corrections ("DOC") Community Corrections Officer ("CCO") Wendy Schroeder. Plaintiff seeks release from custody, damages, and an order directing CCO Schroeder to undergo additional training. Defendant Schroeder now moves for summary judgment.[1] Plaintiff has filed a response in opposition to defendant's summary judgment motion, and defendant has filed a reply brief in support of her motion. The Court, having reviewed defendant's summary judgment motion, and the balance of the record, concludes that defendant's motion should be granted, and plaintiff's complaint and this action should be dismissed with prejudice.

FACTS

Plaintiff was sentenced on January 26, 2007 for unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree. (Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 2.) Plaintiff's sentence was imposed under the Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative ("DOSA"), RCW 9.94A.660. ( See id. ) DOSA sentences can be either prison-based or treatment-based. RCW 9.94A.660(3). Plaintiff received a prison-based DOSA sentence and, thus, he served a portion of his sentence in prison before being released to serve the community custody portion of his sentence. ( See Dkt. 5 at 7.) Plaintiff was released from prison on November 11, 2011 to begin serving the community custody portion of his sentence. (Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 2.) CCO Schroeder assumed supervision of plaintiff on October 9, 2012. ( Id. )

DOC policy mandates that all DOSA offenders submit to weekly drug testing for a three month period following their release from prison. DOC Policy 420.380(IV)(C)(3). If results are negative during that testing period, DOSA offenders are then subject to testing in accordance with standard community custody guidelines, or in accordance with specific conditions of their sentence or offender supervision plan. ( Id. ) CCOs are tasked with ensuring that DOSA offenders comply with the drug testing requirements set forth in DOC Policy 420.380. See DOC Policy 670.655(IV)(C).

At the time of the two drug testing incidents at issue in this case, December 12, 2012 and May 3, 2013, plaintiff was subject to monthly on-site drug testing. (Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 2.) Prior to those incidents, plaintiff had violated his DOSA conditions on numerous occasions by using drugs. ( See Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 2-3.) Though plaintiff's DOSA sentence could have been revoked based upon those previous violations, and plaintiff could have been returned to custody, plaintiff was allowed to remain on community supervision. ( See id. )

Under RCW 9.94A.631, the current version of which took effect on June 1, 2012, a CCO is permitted to arrest an offender, without a warrant, if the offender violates any condition or requirement of his sentence. Testing positive for a prohibited substance constitutes a violation of an offender's DOSA sentence. ( See Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 3.) Drug testing in the community is conducted using an instant on-site test. ( See id., Ex. 1, Attach. A at 4 (DOC 420.380(IV)(A)).) The on-site drug test used by DOC detects several different substances including cocaine. ( See id., Ex. 1, Attach. A at 6 (DOC 420.380(VI)(A)).)

DOC policy does not mandate that a positive urinalysis result obtained through an instant on-site test be confirmed by a lab, though additional laboratory testing may be approved by a Community Corrections Supervisor ("CCS"). ( See id., Ex. 1, Attach. A at 4 (DOC 420.380(IV)(A)).) An offender who tests positive for a prohibited substance in an instant on-site drug test, but denies use of such a substance, may be allowed to provide a new specimen for testing. ( See id., Ex. 1, Attach. A at 8-9 (DOC 420.380(VIII)(B)(2)).) However, DOC policy does not mandate that an offender be afforded an opportunity to submit a second sample for testing. Id.

On December 12, 2012, plaintiff submitted to on-site urinalysis at the DOC field office in Federal Way, Washington and tested positive for cocaine use. ( See Dkt. 5 at 5 and Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 3.) The positive result was witnessed by CCO Schroeder, CCS Misi-Namese Liulamaga, and CCO Wayne Derouin. ( See Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 3 and Exs. 2 and 3.) Plaintiff denied use but was not permitted the opportunity to submit a second sample because he was very agitated at that time leading to concerns for officer safety. ( Id., Ex. 1 at 4 and Ex. 2 at 2.)

CCS Liulamaga approved plaintiff's arrest and placement in total confinement in accordance with RCW 9.94A.631 and DOC 420.380. ( Id., Ex. 2 at 2.) CCS Liulamaga also approved a request by CCO Schroeder to send the urine sample obtained from plaintiff on December 12, 2012 to Sterling Laboratories for further testing. (Dkt. 14, Ex. 2 at 2.)

Because the December 12, 2012 violation would have been plaintiff's seventh violation during the term of his community custody, the DOC was authorized to hold plaintiff in total confinement pending a sanction hearing. See RCW 9.94A.737(2)(b) and (4)(b). On December 14, 2012, CCO Schroeder received laboratory results from Sterling Laboratories showing that plaintiff's sample tested negative for cocaine under their testing parameters and plaintiff was released from confinement. (Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 4.)

On February 19, 2013 and April 24, 2013, plaintiff was found to have again violated the conditions of his community custody by using cocaine, but was again permitted to remain on community supervision. ( See id. )

On May 3, 2013, plaintiff submitted to on-site urinalysis at the DOC field office in Federal Way and tested positive for cocaine use. ( Id. ) The positive result was witnessed by CCO Schroeder and CCO Berisford Morse. ( See id., Ex. 1 at 4 and Ex. 4.) CCS Liulamaga once again approved plaintiff's arrest and placement in total confinement. ( Id., Ex. 1 at 4 and Ex. 2 at 2.) Plaintiff denied use but his behavior again gave rise to concerns for officer safety and, thus, plaintiff was not permitted the opportunity to submit a second sample. ( See id. ) Once again, however, CCO Schroeder requested, and received from CCS Liulamaga, approval to send the sample to Sterling Laboratories for further testing. (Dkt. 14, Ex. 1 at 4 and Ex. 2 at 2.) On May 5, 2013, CCO Schroeder ...


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