The opinion of the court was delivered by: Will, District Judge.
The plaintiff, an inmate at the Illinois State Penitentiary,
Joliet, brings this action for declaratory, injunctive, and
monetary relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 1985(3). This
court's jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3). The
plaintiff's claims for relief are based upon the following
allegations set out in his complaint.
Beginning September 6, 1973, the plaintiff was confined to
his cell twenty-four hours daily for a period of 187 days
during which entire time he was allowed only three showers, no
outdoor exercise, no shaves, no haircuts and no access to the
prison's educational programs. This confinement followed a
riot on September 6 in which nine prison guards were tied,
blindfolded, and held as hostages in cell-house B by inmates.
During the incident, the hostages were locked in several cells
while the cell doors of over 300 inmates were unlocked and the
inmates freed, allowing them to wander around the prison
premises. On the evening of September 6, the hostages were
freed and the inmates restored to their respective cells.
Prison officials immediately instituted a general lock-up.
On December 2, 1973, plaintiff, Johnny Murphy, was released
from his cell for the first time since the initiation of the
lock-up to appear before the Disciplinary Committee consisting
of three prison officials. He was informed that he had been
identified as a member of the B-House revolt and that he had
been seen carrying weapons on that day. The plaintiff
requested and was denied the opportunity to question the
accusing officers and to call witnesses to testify on his
behalf. The Disciplinary Committee prescribed fifteen days of
isolation, already served beginning September 6, as punishment
for plaintiff's activities.
Murphy was transferred from the Disciplinary Committee to
the Assignment Committee where he was assigned to Segregation
without being afforded the opportunity to call witnesses and
to question his accusers. He remained in segregation for 100
days (December 2, 1973 to March 13, 1974).
Similar proceedings were held with respect to the other 300
inmates involved in the incident of September 6. These
resulted, plaintiff alleges, in the confinement to Segregation
of approximately fifty black and one white inmate.
Plaintiff appeared before the Merit Staff January 23, 1974,
where he was informed that he would be demoted and denied
statutory good time. He again requested and was denied the
opportunity to call witnesses and to question his accusers.
Plaintiff allegedly was not allowed outdoor exercises, was
confined to his cell twenty-four hours per day, and was
allowed only three showers during this period of confinement.
Additionally, he is allegedly currently suffering constant
drowsiness and headaches.
The defendants have moved for dismissal of due process
allegations and the equal protection claim for failure to
state a cause of action or for summary judgment if such claims
are considered on the merits, and for dismissal of the cruel
and unusual punishment allegation for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.
Plaintiff puts forth two due process claims resulting from
his confinement from September 6, 1973 to March 13, 1974. The
first is based on his twenty-four hour daily confinement from
September 6 to December 2 without advance notice and a
hearing; the second is founded upon the denial of an
opportunity to call witnesses and cross-examine his accusers
before the Disciplinary, Assignment, and Merit Committees.
It is well-settled that prisoners retain the protections of
the Due Process Clause. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 94
S.Ct. 2963, 41 L.Ed.2d 935, Decided June 26, 1974; Miller v.
Twomey, 479 F.2d 701 (7th Cir. 1973); Burns v. Swenson,
430 F.2d 771 (8th Cir. 1970). The nature of incarceration imposes
certain restrictions on the scope of due process protection,
however, and the Seventh Circuit has held that, with respect
to disciplinary proceedings, the Constitution requires only
advance written notice of the proceeding, a dignified hearing
in which the accused may be heard, an opportunity to request
that other witnesses be called or interviewed, and an
impartial decision-maker. Miller v. Twomey, supra, 479 F.2d at
The plaintiff's challenge to his daily twenty-four hour
confinement between September 6 and December 2 without advance
notice and a hearing could prevail under a literal
interpretation of the Miller holding. As reflected in the
following language, that decision stands for the broad
proposition that an accommodation must be reached between
institutional needs and objectives and the constitutional due
Nevertheless, it does not inevitably follow that
procedural safeguards must apply wherever an
inmate is removed from the general population.
Before such a conclusion is justified in any
given set of circumstances, there must be an
identification of the precise nature of the
government interest as well as the private
interest affected. . . . A good faith
determination that immediate action is necessary
to forestall a riot outweighs the interest in
accurate determination of individual culpability
before taking precautionary steps. Miller v.
Twomey, supra, at 717.
The confinement of the plaintiff and the other inmates who
were out of their cells during the incident of September 6,
was the institution's response to circumstances that
threatened the security of the prison complex. The
accommodation proposed in Miller v. Twomey, supra, might, in