The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Carlos Vega ("Vega"), an inmate confined at Stateville
Correctional Center ("Stateville") in Joliet, Illinois, has
sued several defendants in their official capacities as
officers of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC").
Vega claims defendants, acting under color of state law,
violated his rights under the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments.*fn1 Accordingly he sues under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
("Section 1983") for declaratory and injunctive relief as well
as compensatory and punitive damages.
Though his complaint is in two counts, Vega actually asserts
three kinds of injury:
1. Allegedly as a result of defendants' conduct
in connection with three separate disciplinary
proceedings, Vega was found guilty and punished
on at least some of the charges brought despite
the insufficiency of the evidence adduced against
him to establish guilt. That assertedly violated
his due process right to be found guilty only on
the basis of sufficient evidence.*fn2
2. Other alleged facts suggest the disciplinary
proceedings were initiated in retaliation against
Vega for his efforts as a law clerk on behalf of
inmates prosecuting claims before administrative
bodies and the courts. Such claimed
discriminatory treatment invokes the Equal
3. Vega's punishment, and the maintenance of
records falsely showing he had violated
institutional rules, under the circumstances
described in the two preceding paragraphs are
said to violate his Eighth Amendment guaranty
against cruel and unusual punishment.
Defendants have now moved for summary judgment under
Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56. For the reasons stated in this
memorandum opinion and order, their motion is granted.
Vega complains of three separate incidents within the space
of five months (one on May 17, one on August 4 and one on
September 11, 1983*fn3), each resulting in disciplinary
proceedings against him. When those incidents occurred Vega
worked in the Stateville law library as a law clerk (a
position he continues to hold). In that capacity he has
assisted Stateville inmates in prosecuting claims before
administrative agencies and the courts. Vega Aff. ¶ 2.
On May 17 Vega was ordered by defendant Officer Victor Stone
("Stone") to stand for the morning count. Established
procedure, until recently not vigorously enforced by
Stateville officials, requires "all inmates . . . to get out
of bed and stand near the front of the cell until the gallery
is counted." Pl. Ex. A. Even though neither of Vega's
cellmates was standing at the time, Vega says he alone was
ordered to his feet.*fn4 After Vega had refused two orders to
stand, Stone ordered him to surrender his identification card.
Again Vega refused. After further orders and refusals, Vega
I am tired of this fucking bullshit, that is the
way fucking riots start, you fucking people with
your fucking bullshit.
At that point Vega surrendered his identification card. See
Pl. Exs. B, D.
As a result of the confrontation Stone issued an Inmate
Disciplinary Report ("IDR") charging Vega with several
violations, including intimidation or threats, insolence and
disobedience of a direct order. Pl. Ex. B. When he appeared
before the Adjustment Committee ("AC") on the charges, Vega
admitted both his refusal to stand and his quoted statement.
Instead he argued his conduct had not risen to the level of
intimidation or threats as defined in the disciplinary
On August 4 defendant Officer Roger Davis ("Davis")
discovered a pair of boxing gloves and a piece of metal
measuring 16" X 1/8" X 1" in Vega's cell. Davis issued an IDR
charging Vega with possession of dangerous contraband and
unauthorized property. Pl.Ex. G. Before the AC Vega admitted
the gloves and metal had been found in his cell, but he denied
ownership of the gloves and the fashioning of the metal into
a weapon (as Davis testified). Pl.Ex. H. Moreover Vega says
although he asked the members of the AC to examine the piece
of metal themselves, they refused to do so. Rather it found
him guilty on the basis of his admission the objects had been
found in his cell, coupled with Davis' report. Vega Aff. ¶ 9,
Pl.Ex. H. It ordered Vega (1) transferred to segregation and
(2) demoted to "C" grade (both for 180 days) and also (3)
deprived of 180 days of statutory good conduct credit. Pl.Ex.
H. Upon reviewing Davis' report and examining the piece of
metal, defendant Stateville Warden*fn5 Richard DeRobertis
("DeRobertis") reduced the penalty imposed by the AC to 15 days
of segregation and demotion to "C" grade for 30 days. Pl.Ex. I.
Finally, on September 11 defendant Officer James Carver
("Carver") ordered Vega to lock up. Vega (who later claimed he
did not hear the order) failed to respond. Once Vega had
returned to his cell, Carver ordered him to surrender his
identification card, whereupon Vega told Carver (as
paraphrased by Carver) "he was not giving me anything and that
I had better get out of his face." Pl.Ex. J. Carver issued an
IDR charging Vega with various violations, including
intimidation or threats, insolence and disobedience of a direct
order. Pl.Ex. J. Based on Carver's statement and Vega's
admission that a confrontation had occurred, the AC found Vega
guilty of all charges except that of intimidation or threats
and ordered him transferred to segregation for a period of 15
days. Pl.Ex. K.
Bases for Summary Judgment
Defendants' motion focuses primarily on Vega's claim of
guilty findings — at least on certain charges in the IDRs —
based on insufficient evidence. As Def.Mem. 1-2 puts it:
Simply stated, plaintiff's basic claims [sic] is
that on three ocassions [sic] he was punished by
the Defendants without ...