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HAMILTON v. SCOTT

March 29, 1991

EDWARD HAMILTON, Plaintiff,
v.
DANIEL SCOTT, et al., Defendants


Milton I. Shadur, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR

MILTON I. SHADUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Edward Hamilton ("Hamilton") has sued former Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("Department") Michael Lane ("Lane"), Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville") Warden Michael O'Leary ("O'Leary") and three other Department officials -- Vern Scott ("Scott"), Samuel Ingram ("Ingram") and Abraham Flagg ("Flagg") -- under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 ("Section 1983"). Hamilton's Amended Complaint (the "Complaint") *fn1" seeks damages and a declaratory judgment based on alleged violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection in connection with the taking away of certain good time credits. *fn2"

 All defendants have moved for dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 12(b)(6), claiming that:

 
1. O'Leary and Lane cannot be liable for their actions in their roles as supervisors.
 
2. None of the defendants violated Hamilton's due process or equal protection rights in the process of taking away his good time credits. *fn3"

 Facts4

 On December 10, 1984 *fn5" Hamilton, a Stateville prisoner, was in his cell with his three cellmates when they were searched by two correctional officers performing a general shakedown of the prison. On that same day Correctional Officer Lescester Hardin ("Hardin") filed an Inmate Disciplinary Report ("Report") (P.Ex.A) *fn6" dealing with the results of that search. In the Report Hamilton was charged with a violation of Department Rules 504A-104 ("Dangerous Contraband") and 504A-404 ("Violation of Rules"). Under the Report's section entitled "Observation" Hardin stated (copied verbatim):

 
On the above date, location and appx. time this officer Lescester Hardin #585, was shaking down resident Hamilton #N23132 cell 227 in Unit "C" and located a pipe (steel) appx. 16 1/2 inches in length, a file appx. 7 1/2 inches in length a sharpened rod appx. 11" inches in length and three (3) shank appx. 9 1/2 inches, 11 1/2 inches and 15 inches in length. Resident Hamilton and officers Haywood and Martin were present.

 This notification was also part of the Report:

 
Please be advised that you have the right to appear before the Adjustment Committee and contest this rule violation charge by presenting a written or oral statement or explanation for your actions. You may present to the Committee relevant physical exhibits such as records or documents; you have a right to ask that witnesses be interviewed and, if necessary in the Committee's judgment, they may be called to testify during your hearing. In addition, you may ask the Committee to question the witness along lines you suggest. You must indicate in advance of the hearing the witnesses you wish to have interviewed and specify what they could testify to by filling out the appropriate space on this form, tearing it off, and returning it to the Committee. If you are illiterate or seriously handicapped, you may have the assistance of a staff counselor to help you prepare a defense. You may request a reasonable extension of time to prepare for your hearing. If you are found guilty of a serious rule violation, you may be placed in segregation and/or deprived of your current grade and statutory good time credit.

 Hamilton was given a copy of the Report. However, he refused to sign the Report and did not request that any witnesses be called for his hearing (P. Exs. A and C). He did protest to Hardin that the weapons did not belong to him or any of his cellmates, but Hardin responded, "Someone has to take the weight" (para. 17). Hardin also filed the same charges against Hamilton's three cellmates (para. 16).

 On December 17 a Stateville Adjustment Committee ("Committee") comprising Scott, Ingram and Flagg held separate disciplinary hearings for each of the four inmates based on information contained in the Report filed by Hardin (para. 19). In part the Adjustment Committee Summary ("Summary") of Hamilton's hearing (P. Ex. C) states that it considered the following evidence:

 
Violation report was read, Inmate states he has no knowledge of the contraband that was found.

 In that respect, Hamilton's own account of the proceedings (para. 21) reads: *fn7"

 
At his disciplinary hearing, Hamilton denied that he had anything to do with the Weapons, told the Adjustment Committee that the Weapons had been found not on him nor in Cell C-227 but in the Vent adjacent to the cell *fn8" and stated that correctional officers Haywood and Martin would testify the same about where the Weapons were found if they were called as witnesses. One of the members of the Adjustment Committee said: "I believe you, but we've got to give you the same as the others." No other witnesses were called. Hamilton asked that the Weapons be checked for fingerprints, but his request was ignored. Hamilton asked why the four inmates in Cell C-226 had not received tickets, but his question also was ignored.

 After describing the matter the Summary concluded:

 
Based upon available evidence, the Committee finds the inmate GUILTY of the offense charged . . .
 
* * * *
 
REASONS: Inmate denied guilt to the report. Also the Committee notes inmate is assigned to Cell C-227 and is responsible for whatever is found in the cell.

 Based on its decision the Committee imposed 60 days of segregation and 60 days of reduction in grade on all four inmates, and it also recommended 60 days of revocation of good time credit (para. 21).

 Immediately after the hearing, Hamilton and two of his cellmates went to see Stateville Superintendent Cobb to contest the punishment ordered by the Committee (para. 25). Cobb accepted the prisoner's statements that they had nothing to do with the weapons and agreed to have the punishment of 60 days of segregation reversed, but he refused to alter the other punishment (para. 25). Cobb then asked O'Leary to implement that modification (para. 26). On December 18 O'Leary approved only the 60 days of reduction in grade and the 60 days of revocation of good time credit, while disapproving the 60 days of segregation (para. 27). On February 22, 1985 the Administrative Review Board ("Board") modified that decision further -- it approved the revocation of 60 days good time credit for Hamilton but denied the 60 days of reduction in grade (para. 28). That decision was signed by an unknown person acting for Lane (P. Ex. D). *fn9" Both O'Leary and the Board relied on the Committee's reasoning when making their decisions (para. 29).

 Hamilton's Complaint has also added some facts not alleged to have been known to defendants. Here they are: Next to Hamilton's cell was Cell C-226, in which four members of a gang resided (para. 18). From their respective cells, the prisoners in Cell C-227 and C-226 had equal access to the vent out of which the weapons were retrieved (para. 12). *fn10" Inmates on other floors could also have had ...


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