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Wireman v. Commonwealth of Kentucky

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

May 4, 2015



JOSEPH M. HOOD, Senior District Judge.

Shelton Wireman is an inmate confined in the Clark County Detention Center in Winchester, Kentucky. Proceeding pro se, Wireman has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the following named defendants: Commonwealth of Kentucky, Clark County, Kentucky, and Clark County Detention Center. [R. 1] Wireman's complaint concerns his underlying conviction in Clark Circuit Court and the treatment he has allegedly received from other inmates in the Clark County Detention Center.

Because Wireman is asserting claims against the government and is an inmate proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court is required to conduct a preliminary review of his complaint. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) (2)(B), 1915A. Since Wireman is not represented by an attorney, the Court liberally construes his claims and accepts his factual allegations as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). As explained below, the Court determines that, at this juncture, Wireman's complaint fails to state a claim for relief which can be granted by this Court. Wireman must first request the relief he seeks from the state court. Wireman's complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.


On July 11, 2014, Wireman was convicted in Clark Circuit Court for possession or viewing of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, a violation of Kentucky Revised Statute ("K.R.S.") § 531.335. The indictment charged that this offense was committed on August 2, 2013. See Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Wireman Shelton, No. 13-CR-00095 (Clark Cir. Ct. 2013). Wireman received a five-year sentence of imprisonment. Wireman had an initial parole hearing on September 15, 2014, barely more than two months after his conviction on July 11, 2014. Parole was deferred for twelve months. His next parole eligibility date is September 1, 2015.[1]


Wireman's complaint is a mixed bag. Wireman first states that due to the nature of his conviction, he has been harassed and is still being harassed and subjected to name-calling, such as "baby raper" and "child molester, " inter alia, by inmates at the jail. [R. 1, Page ID# 2] He also states that he has been subjected to various other forms of harassment by inmates and that they have ostracized him, all because of the nature of his conviction. Wireman appears to claim that by reason of the treatment he has received from jail inmates, he has been the victim of a hate crime, in violation of K.R.S. § 532.031, and he appears to seek a declaratory judgment that these unnamed inmates have also violated Kentucky's harassment statute, K.R.S. 525.070.

Second, Wireman claims that he received ineffective assistance of counsel with respect to his underlying criminal conviction in that his counsel failed to interview witnesses and verify his alibi.

Third, Wireman states that he was unjustly denied parole and that an agreement should be reached that would also include his release from confinement. [R. 1, Page ID# 6].

Fourth, Wireman requests that this Court consider reducing his charge to a Class "A" misdemeanor or overturning his conviction. [R. 1, Page ID# 6]

Wireman seeks unspecified compensatory damages for the mental duress he has endured.


A. Treatment from and/or harassment by unnamed jail inmates

Giving a liberal interpretation to Wireman's statements that he has been called various derogatory names by other jail inmates, these statements might be broadly considered to encompass a constitutional claim of "cruel and unusual punishment, " in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In its prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment, " the Eighth Amendment imposes duties on prison officials to provide humane conditions of confinement. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). Even so, verbal abuse, harassment, arbitrariness, and racist comments, made by prison officials, without more, do not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 955 (6th Cir. 1987) (per curiam), and "[t]he use of racially derogatory language, while unprofessional and deplorable, does not violate the Constitution." DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 612 (7th Cir. 2000); see also see also Wingo v. Tenn. Dep't of Corr., 499 F.Appx. 453, 455 (6th Cir. 2012) ("Verbal harassment or idle threats by a state actor do not create a constitutional violation and are insufficient to support a section 1983 claim for relief."); Johnson v. Unknown Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539, 546 (6th Cir. 2004) (holding "harassment and verbal ...

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