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HARRIS v. MACDONALD

December 29, 1982

SANFORD NORMAN HARRIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEAL D. MACDONALD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Sanford Norman Harris ("Harris"), a prisoner at Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"), brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") and habeas corpus (28 U.S.C. § 2254) action against Stateville Warden Richard DeRobertis ("DeRobertis"), Sheridan Correctional Center ("Sheridan") Warden Neal MacDonald ("MacDonald"),*fn1 Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") Director Michael Lane ("Lane") and three other state officials who were members of the Sheridan Adjustment Committee (the "Committee") that presided over Harris' disciplinary hearing. Harris asserts defendants committed both substantive and procedural constitutional infractions in first disciplining him and then transferring him from medium security prison Sheridan to maximum security facility Stateville.

Three motions are now pending:

    1. defendants' motion to dismiss Harris' Third
  (and current) Amended Complaint (the
  "Complaint"); and
    2 and 3. cross-motions for summary judgment
  brought in connection with the Second Amended
  Complaint.

For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, both defendants' motions are granted in part and Harris' is denied in its entirety.

Facts*fn2

On October 17, 1980 William Hiser, the head of Sheridan's Internal Affairs unit, summoned Harris into his office for questioning by an Illinois Department of Law Enforcement ("IDLE") investigator as to Harris' alleged delivery of illegal drugs to another inmate. Harris denied the allegations.

Convinced of Harris' complicity in the drug transaction, on December 9, 1980 prison officials served a disciplinary "ticket" on Harris charging him with violations of several sections of Administrative Regulation ("A.R.") 804. Next day the Committee*fn3 called Harris in to consider the charges. On his motion it granted a 20-day continuance to December 30. However, on the continued hearing date the Committee refused to allow Harris to make either an oral or written presentation of his defense. After Harris left the hearing two other inmates testified. One of the two, inmate Wembley, executed two affidavits that same day claiming he had testified as to Harris' innocence. At no point did the Committee ever disclose to Harris the existence of such exculpatory evidence.

After the hearing the Committee found Harris guilty of violating four sections of A.R. 804. Three of the violations involved drug use, possession or delivery, while the fourth was for "[d]isobeying . . . any prison rule." A.R. 804.II.A.1(1). Harris was penalized with 30 days' segregation, the loss of 30 days' good time, demotion to "C" grade (from which grade Harris could not earn good time) for 90 days and transfer from Sheridan to Stateville.

Though the pleadings and supporting affidavits are somewhat unclear, it appears Harris received "segregation status" immediately after the Committee's December 30 decision. Because Sheridan lacks separate segregation facilities, segregation is typically accomplished by locking the prisoner in his own cell and thus depriving him of general population privileges (principally his access to various institutional facilities). Anderson Aff. ¶ 3. Apparently Harris was so kept in his own cell until January 12, 1981, when Sheridan officials moved him to another cell (C.L. # 3).*fn4

On January 29, 1981 — his scheduled "out-date" — Harris was taken off segregation status and his cell was unlocked.*fn5 Though he remained in the same cell for another five days, his living conditions did not materially diverge from those of his fellow prisoners in the general population. Each cell at Sheridan (including C.L. # 3) at that time was "substantially the same in terms of size, condition, and fixtures" and had "substantially the same access to institutional facilities available to prisoners in the general population." Anderson Aff. ¶¶ 4, 5.

On February 3 Sheridan authorities returned Harris to his old cell. His stay was short-lived however, for he was transferred to Stateville on February 8. Though the parties dispute this issue, for present purposes it will be assumed Harris was not accorded any pre-transfer hearing.

On February 27 Sheridan's Inquiry Board rejected Harris' grievance. But on May 13 Lane informed Harris:

    1. His December 9 disciplinary ticket would be
  "expunged" from his record because he had not
  been given 24 hours to prepare his ...

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