United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
complaint filed by Ronald Devone Balcom, an indigent state
inmate currently incarcerated at the Houston County Jail on a
parole revocation. In the instant complaint, Balcom complains
that the defendants violated his constitutional rights in
deciding to revoke his parole based on new misdemeanor
charges and by ordering that he serve an additional six (6)
months on the sentence underlying his parole. Doc. 1 at
In support of his claim for relief, Balcom maintains that
“the two misdemeanor offenses are defined as
technical violations with the maximum punishment of 45 days
in confinement.” Doc. 1 at 2. Balcom names Lynn Head, a
member of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Ken
Brown and Greg Lee, parole officers in Houston County,
Alabama, as defendants in this case. Balcom seeks declaratory
relief and monetary damages for the alleged violations of his
thorough review of the complaint, the undersigned concludes
that this case is due to be dismissed prior to service of
process in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and (iii).
Official Capacity Claims.
as Balcom requests monetary damages from the defendants in
their official capacities, they are entitled to absolute
immunity. Official capacity lawsuits are “in all
respects other than name, . . . treated as a suit against the
entity.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166
(1985). As the Eleventh Circuit has held,
the Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from
entertaining suits by private parties against States and
their agencies [or employees]. There are two exceptions to
this prohibition: where the state has waived its immunity or
where Congress has abrogated that immunity. A State's
consent to suit must be unequivocally expressed in the text
of [a] relevant statute. Waiver may not be implied. Likewise,
Congress' intent to abrogate the States' immunity
from suit must be obvious from a clear legislative statement.
Selensky v. Alabama, 619 Fed.Appx. 846, 848-49 (11th
Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
Thus, a state official may not be sued in his official
capacity unless the state has waived its Eleventh Amendment
immunity, see Pennhurst State School &
Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984), or
Congress has abrogated the State's immunity, see
Seminole Tribe v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 59 (1996).
Neither waiver nor abrogation applies here. The Alabama
Constitution states that “the State of Alabama shall
never be made a defendant in any court of law or
equity.” Ala. Const. Art. I, § 14. The Supreme
Court has recognized that this prohibits Alabama from waiving
its immunity from suit.
Selensky, 619 Fed.Appx. at 849 (citing Alabama
v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978) (holding consent is
prohibited by the Alabama Constitution). “Alabama has
not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity in § 1983
cases, nor has Congress abated it.” Holmes v.
Hale, 701 Fed.Appx. 751, 753 (11th Cir. 2017) (citing
Carr v. City of Florence, Ala., 916 F.2d 1521, 1525
(11th Cir.1990)). In light of the foregoing, the defendants
are entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh
Amendment for claims seeking monetary damages from them in
their official capacities. Selensky, 619 Fed.Appx.
at 849; Harbert Int'l, Inc. v. James, 157 F.3d
1271, 1277 (11th Cir. 1998) (holding that state officials
sued in their official capacities are protected under the
Eleventh Amendment from suit for damages); Edwards v.
Wallace Community College, 49 F.3d 1517, 1524
(11th Cir. 1995) (holding that damages are unavailable from
state official sued in his official capacity).
Individual Capacity Claims.
extent Balcom seeks monetary damages from the defendants in
their individual capacities for actions relative to the
parole revocation process, he is likewise entitled to no
relief. The Eleventh Circuit has long recognized that parole
board officials are entitled to quasi-judicial immunity from
suits requesting damages based upon decisions to grant, deny
or revoke parole. Fuller v. Georgia State Board of
Pardons and Parole, 851 F.2d 1307 (11th Cir. 1988);
Cruz v. Skelton,502 F.2d 1101, 1101-02 (5th Cir.
1974). All of the actions about which Balcom complains arose
during proceedings resulting in the revocation of parole.
Under these circumstances, the actions of parole officials
are inextricably intertwined with their decision-making
authority and they are therefore immune from ...