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WILLIAMS v. CANNON

February 25, 1974

LANEL WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOSEPH CANNON, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF THE STATEVILLE BRANCH OF THE ILLINOIS STATE PENITENTIARY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Austin, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION and JUDGMENT ORDER

This is a three-count action brought by Plaintiff Lanel Williams, an inmate at the Stateville Branch of the Illinois State Penitentiary, to rectify alleged civil rights violations. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1343. Count I asserts that the in-prison disciplinary hearing procedures employed at the Stateville Penitentiary violate the minimum due process standards mandated by recent Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit decisions. In Count II, Plaintiff maintains that he was unconstitutionally denied access to writing materials with which to communicate with his attorney and the Illinois and federal courts. Count III alleges that Defendants failed to provide Williams with underwear and that such failure was an infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. Finally, in a supplemental pleading, Plaintiff contends that he was further subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by Defendants' refusal to provide him with adequate space for physical exercise following a recent surgery. Damages are sought only in Count II; the other claims request injunctive and declaratory relief.

This matter comes before me now on Defendants' alternate motions to dismiss or for summary judgment and Plaintiff's cross-motion for partial summary judgment. Since Plaintiff is represented by counsel, the less stringent pleading standards of Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), are inapplicable here.

I. DUE PROCESS AND PRISON DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS

Plaintiff's claim presents serious questions concerning the minimum rights that must be accorded to inmates at in-prison disciplinary hearings. See United States ex rel. Miller v. Twomey, 479 F.2d 701 (7th Cir. 1973). See also Gagnon v. Scarpelli, 411 U.S. 778, 93 S.Ct. 1756, 36 L.Ed.2d 656 (1973); Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972). Specifically, this action seeks to clarify those aspects of the Miller decision that concern notice and other disciplinary procedures as well as the right to counsel at these proceedings.*fn* The parties have submitted the following undisputed facts on cross-motions for summary judgment.

A. Facts

Plaintiff was present at the Penitentiary's B-house during the disturbances that occurred there on September 6, 1973. As a result of his alleged participation in the "B-house riot," Williams was officially reported for various infractions of prison rules and regulations. In two separate reports dated September 7, 1973, he was charged with major involvement in the riot, unauthorized absence from his cell and work assignment, possession of a dangerous weapon, issuing orders to other inmates over the cell house public address system, assisting in the preparation of a prisoner grievance petition, and threatening the lives of hostages.

When he appeared before the Committee, Williams denied all the allegations. The Committee considered his denial and found against him, ordering him to fifteen days in isolation and referring him to the Institutional Assignment Committee (IAC) for indefinite administrative segregation.

Plaintiff was brought before the IAC on October 23, 1973, without advance notice of the exact time and date of the hearing. Again, Williams was not informed of the regulations alleged violated and he was not advised that he could be represented by counsel.

The IAC reviewed the evidence before it, including Williams' continued denial of wrongdoing, and found that his presence in the general prison population was a source of danger to the safety and security of the Stateville employees and inmates. As a result, Plaintiff was assigned to indefinite Administrative Segregation, where he is presently confined.

B. Issues

On these facts, Plaintiff claims that his due process guarantees under United States ex rel. Miller v. Twomey, supra, have been violated. See also Gagnon, supra; Morrissey, supra. First, Williams alleges that his version of the disputed facts could only be effectively and fairly presented by a trained advocate, particularly since any exculpating statement could be used against him in a criminal prosecution. Moreover, he contends that he was given inadequate and untimely notice of the hearings. ...


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