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THOMSON v. JONES

October 4, 1985

JOHN THOMSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LIEUTENANT EARL JONES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

In accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 52(a), this Court finds the facts specially as set forth in the following Findings of Fact ("Findings") and states the following Conclusions of Law ("Conclusions"). To the extent if any the Findings as stated reflect legal conclusions, they shall be deemed Conclusions; to the extent if any the Conclusions as stated reflect factual findings, they shall be deemed Findings.

Findings of Fact

I. Stipulated Facts and Related Background

1. From April or May 1980 through June 2, 1982 Thomson was an inmate at Stateville in Joliet, Illinois. Since that time Thomson has been an inmate at Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac").

2. DeRobertis was Acting Warden at Stateville from July 1980 through March 26, 1981. On March 26, 1981 DeRobertis became Warden at Stateville, and he served in that capacity until November 19, 1983.

3. Since some time before January 22, 1981 Baskin has been, and he still is, a guard at Stateville. Baskin was on a medical leave of absence from Stateville between October 13, 1981 and November 1982 because of an automobile accident.

4. For some time before January 22, 1981 Jones was a guard at Stateville. Jones continued as a guard at Stateville until he resigned September 30, 1981.

5. For some time before January 22, 1981 Sheldon was a guard at Stateville. Sheldon continued as a guard at Stateville until June 8, 1981.

6. Security personnel at Stateville range upward from Correctional Officer or guard (the lowest level) successively through the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Unit Superintendent, Assistant Warden for Programs and Operations, and Warden.

7. For some time before January 22, 1981 Thomson resided in Stateville Cell House B-West. He was a maintenance ("cellhouse help") worker in B-West until that date. At that time Jones told Thomson he was fired from that job and charged Thomson in a resident disciplinary report ("ticket"), which was later dismissed by the Adjustment Committee (PX 10-11). Thomson was returned to cellhouse help work status January 24, the day before the episode that is the main focus of this action and is described in later Findings.

8. Thomson was seen by medical personnel at Stateville on January 25 and 26 and February 5, 1981 (after the January 25 episode to be described later).

9. Illinois Department of Corrections ("Department") Administrative Regulation ("A.R.") 410 both (a) forbids prison personnel from using unnecessary force against an inmate and (b) provides that employees who improperly use force against an inmate shall be subjected to immediate disciplinary action. A.R. 803 forbids prison personnel from administering corporal punishment to an inmate. Both those A.R.s are designed for the protection of inmates.

10. A.R. 804 forbids inmates from violating institutional rules.

11. DeRobertis never discussed Thomson, his lawsuit or the facts alleged in Thomson's Complaint in this action with Jones, Baskin or Sheldon.

12. On October 19, 1981 Department's Internal Investigations Department coneluded Jones and Baskin had used excessive force toward Thomson on at least two separate occasions on January 25, 1981.

13. No disciplinary action was instituted against Jones as a result of his use of excessive force against Thomson. No disciplinary action was imposed on Baskin for his use of excessive force against Thomson or on Sheldon for his alleged harassment of Thomson.

14. All tickets prepared on January 25, 1981 by Stateville employees as to Thomson were either dismissed or expunged.

15. Stateville's policy requires that all correctional officers be formally reviewed annually.

II. Thomson's Behavior and His Credibility

16. Thomson received 57 tickets (exclusive of the tickets referred to in Finding 14) between August 1980 and February 1983, for violations of various rules stated in A.R. 804. Except for the November 20, 1981 ticket referred to below (see DX 98 and 99), Thomson was found guilty by the institutional Adjustment Committee of each of the following charges:

DATE OF REPORT        REPORTING OFFICER          CHARGE
  1.  August 14, 1980      Off. Holt           cursing an officer
      (DX 12, 13)
  2.  October 16, 1980     Off. Choate         hitting another resident in
      (DX 14, 15)                              the eye
  3.  January 12, 1981     Off. Holt           disrespect to staff and disobeying
      (DX 16, 17)                              an order
      (1:30 p.m.)
  4.  January 12, 1981     Off. Rosen          disobeying an order
      (DX 18, 19)
      (7:36 p.m.)
  5.  February 23, 1981    Off. Thomas         refusal of transfer to Cellhouse C
      (DX 20, 21)
  6.  February 26, 1981    Off. Sheldon         refusal of transfer to Cellhouse C
      (DX 22, 28)
  7.  March 4, 1981        Off. Sheldon         refusal of transfer to Cellhouse C
      (DX 24, 25)
  8.  March 7, 1981        Off. Rabideau        refusal of authorized transfer
      (DX 26, 27)
  9.  March 8, 1981        Off. DeMeulemeister  refusal to be locked up
      (DX 28, 29)
      (7:05 p.m.)
  10. March 8, 1981        Off. DeMeulemeister  running away from officer
      (DX 30, 31, 32, 33)  Off. Sweet           in the cellhouse
      (7:55 p.m.)
      two reports
  11. March 9, 1981       Off. Bush            running between emergency
      (DX 34, 35)                              room and hospital gate
  12. March 27, 1981      Off. Comp            eating in the dining room
      (DX 36, 37)                              at an unauthorized time,
                                               failing to lock up
  13. April 1, 1981       Off. Sheldon         refusal of transfer to Cellhouse C
      (DX 38, 39)
  14. April 4, 1981       Off. Sheldon         refusal of transfer to Cellhouse C
      (DX 40, 41)
  15. April 5, 1981       Off. Bak             cursing, exposing his penis
      (DX 42, 43)                              to correctional officer
  16. April 12, 1981       Off. Farmer         cursing, running on gallery
      (DX 44, ...

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