The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID HERNDON, District Judge
Plaintiff, currently an inmate in the Stateville Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff previously was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and he has tendered
his initial partial filing fee as ordered.
At the outset, the Court will address three pending motions.
First is Plaintiff's motion for a status hearing (Doc. 8), but a
hearing is not yet warranted in this action. Therefore, this
motion is DENIED.
Second is Plaintiff's motion for default judgment (Doc. 10).
However, as Defendants have not yet been served in this action, a default judgment is not
warranted, and this motion is also DENIED.
Third is Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel (Doc.
9). There are five factors which a district court should consider
in ruling on a request to appoint counsel. Those factors are (1)
whether the merits of the claim are colorable; (2) the ability of
the indigent to investigate crucial facts; (3) whether the nature
of the evidence indicates that the truth will more likely be
exposed where both sides are represented by counsel; (4)
capability of the indigent to present the case; and (5) the
complexity of the legal issues raised by the Complaint. See
Merritt v. Faulkner, 697 F.2d 761 (7th Cir. 1983), cert.
denied, 464 U.S. 986 (1983); McKeever v. Israel, 689 F.2d 1315
(7th Cir. 1982); Maclin v. Freake, 650 F.2d 885 (7th
Cir. 1981); Wilson v. Duckworth, 716 F.2d 415 (7th Cir.
When deciding whether to appoint counsel, the Court must first
determine if a pro se litigant has made reasonable efforts to
secure counsel before resorting to the courts. Jackson v. County
of McLean, 953 F.2d 1070, 1072 (7th Cir. 1992). Plaintiff
makes no showing that he has attempted to retain counsel.
Therefore, the Court finds that appointment of counsel is not
warranted, and the motion for appointment of counsel is DENIED.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the amended complaint (Doc. 7) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(a) Screening. The court shall review, before
docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. On review, the court
shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319
, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the
amended complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it
appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of
this action are frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.
In this action, Plaintiff claims that he has been subjected to
religious persecution by I.D.O.C. employees at Menard, at the
direction of Defendants Snyder, Maue, Spiller and Walls.
Plaintiff states that he is a practitioner of the Rastafarian
faith.*fn1 As part of his religious observance, Plaintiff
wears his hair in dreadlocks. According to a Department
memorandum from Defendant Maue dated September 1, 2000 (attached
as an exhibit to the amended complaint), "at no time will
Disciplinary Segregation status inmates be permitted outside
their cells without the removal of their hair braids or
dreadlocks." For reasons apparently irrelevant to this action,
Plaintiff was confined to the disciplinary segregation unit at
Menard, beginning in early 2002. Because he refused to remove, or
undo, his dreadlocks in compliance with Department policy, he
received a series of disciplinary tickets from Jines, Conway, Hoskin, Sizemore, Colvis, Jaenke,
Campbell, Frazier, Hood and Spiller.*fn2 Ironically, each of
these tickets resulted in more time spent in disciplinary
segregation, perhaps creating an unending cycle.
It is well-established that "a prisoner is entitled to practice
his religion insofar as doing so does not unduly burden the
administration of the prison." Hunafa v. Murphy, 907 F.2d 46,
47 (7th Cir. 1990); see Al-Alamin v. Gramley, 926 F.2d 680,
686 and nn. 3-5 (7th Cir. 1991) (collecting cases). On the
other hand, a prison regulation that impinges on an inmate's
First Amendment rights is nevertheless valid "if it is reasonably
related to legitimate penological interests." O'Lone v. Estate
of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 349 (1987) (quoting Turner v.
Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987)). Such interests include inmate
security and the proper allocation of limited prison resources.
See id. at 348, 352-53; Turner, 482 U.S. at 90; Al-Alamin,
926 F.2d at 686.
Plaintiff argues that the policy is question is not reasonably
related to security issues, as there are other, less restrictive
ways in which an inmate with dreadlocks can be searched for
contraband. At this point in the litigation, the Court cannot
make a determination as to the validity of Plaintiff's argument.
Therefore, at this time, the Court is unable to dismiss the
claims against Snyder, Maue, Spiller, Walls, Jines, Conway,
Hoskin, Sizemore, Colvis, Jaenke, Campbell, and Frazier. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
On the other hand, Plaintiff lists Minh T. Scott, Kay A.
Surman, Andrew Wilson, Robert A. Bigas, Mavis Gross and Donna
Ebers as defendants in the caption of his amended complaint, but
the statement of claim does not include any allegations against
these defendants. "A plaintiff cannot state a claim against a
defendant by including the defendant's name in the caption."
Collins v. Kibort,143 ...