Chapter 5.2.2 Private Right of Action under an Interstate Compact

Private Right of Action under an Interstate Compact

In a compact similar in purpose and scope to the Revised ICJ, a court has held that an interstate compact does not create a federally enforceable right under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for those subject to its provisions absent a clear and unambiguous intent by Congress to establish a federal cause of action. Doe v. Pa. Bd. of Prob. and Parole, 513 F.3d 95 (3rd Cir. 2008). Consequently, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was not available to redress a probationer’s alleged violations of the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS). See also M.F. v. N.Y. Exec.Dept. Div. of Parole, 640 F3d491 (2d Cir 2011; Orville Lines v. Wargo, 271 F. Supp. 2d 649 (W.D. Pa. 2003).   Where there is no indication from the text and structure of a statute that Congress intended to create new individual rights, there is no basis for a private suit, whether under § 1983 or under an implied right of action.  Unlike the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, which confers certain rights on incarcerated persons, both the ICAOS and the Revised ICJ speak only to the obligations of the party states and not the rights of individuals.  The language of the Revised ICJ does not clearly and unambiguously create a federal right of action.

A similar analysis would apply in the context of potential victims of juveniles or status offenders who relocated under the provisions of the Revised ICJ.  In cases arising under the adult offender compact, at least one federal court and one state court have held that there is no private right of action by victims of offenders.  See Hodgson v. Miss. Dep’t of Corr., 963 F. Supp. 776 (E.D. Wis. 1997) (no private right of action was created under the Uniform Act for Out-of-State Parolee Supervision for the wrongful death of a victim of a Mississippi parolee who allegedly was improperly allowed to relocate to Wisconsin under the compact.)  More recently the same analysis was applied in Doe v. Miss. Dep’t of Corr., 859 So.2d 350 (2003) (plaintiff had no claim under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act for damages sustained as the result of a rape committed by an Illinois parolee transferred under the compact whom she alleged was improperly accepted under the compact and negligently supervised by Mississippi parole officers).  See also Connell v. Miss. Dep’t of Corr., 841 So.2d 1127 (2003).  Given the similarities in scope, purpose and effect between the Revised ICJ and the ICAOS (and their predecessor compacts), it is unlikely that a state could be held liable for the actions of an offender transferred under the Revised ICJ who then harms another person.