United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
December 2, 2005.
TERRY RAY McDOWELL, Plaintiff,
JEFF HEFFREN, et.al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: HAROLD BAKER, Senior District Judge
MERIT REVIEW AND CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
This cause is before the court for merit review of the
plaintiff's complaint. The court is required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
to "screen" the plaintiff's complaint, and through such process
to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the
entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it
"(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The
pro se plaintiff participated in the merit review by video
The plaintiff, Terry Ray McDowell, has filed his lawsuit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that his constitutional
rights were violated at the Illinois River Correctional Center.
The plaintiff has named ten defendants including Correctional
Officers Jeff Heffren and C. Whitlock; Adjustment Committee
Members Bruce Fisher and Charlotte Gordon; Bakery Instructor Jody
Reed; Assistant Wardens Jerry Bohler and Richard Birkey; Bakery
Superintendent John Dudek, Grievance Officer Julie Bohler and
Illinois Department of Corrections Director Roger Walker.
The court reviewed the plaintiffs complaint and identified the
following claims with the plaintiff:
1) FIRST AMENDMENT, EQUAL PROTECTION. The plaintiff says the
defendants violated his right to the free exercise of his
religion when Defendant Heffren wrote a disciplinary ticket
against the plaintiff for performing a religious prayer on March
8, 2004 while working in the bakery. The plaintiff says he had
been allowed to perform the prayer numerous times before the
ticket was issued. The plaintiff says the disciplinary ticket
also violated his equal protection rights because members of
other religious groups are allowed to pray.
2) DUE PROCESS. The plaintiff states that Defendants Gordon and
Fisher violated his due process rights during the hearing on the
3) FIRST AMENDMENT. The plaintiff says defendant Heffren
retaliated for the plaintiff's grievances concerning the prayer
disciplinary ticket by writing a false disciplinary ticket on May
17, 2004. 4) FIRST AMENDMENT, EQUAL PROTECTION. The plaintiff says
Defendant Whitlock took a religious audio tape away form him
because it had metal screws in it. The plaintiff says Christian
inmates were allowed similar tapes.
5) CONSPIRACY. The plaintiff says the defendants conspired to
deprive him of his constitutional rights in violation of § 1983,
§ 1985 and § 1986.
The plaintiff says Defendants Walker, Jerry and Judy Bohler,
Dudek, Birkey and Reed are named because they upheld the actions
of the other defendants without intervening, and engaged in the
The plaintiff does not state whether he is suing the defendants
in their individual or official capacities. The court finds that
the plaintiff has stated claims against the defendants in their
individual capacities only.
The court notes that the complaint identifys the plaintiff as
"Terry Ray X aka Terry McDowell" (Comp, p. 1). The plaintiff was
asked what name he is recognized by at the Illinois Department of
Corrections. The plaintiff stated Terry Ray McDowell. The clerk
of the court will be instructed to change the docket to this name
to insure that any court filings reach the plaintiff.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1) The clerk of the court is directed to change the
docket to reflect that the plaintiff's name is Terry
Ray McDowell and all mailings are sent to him with
this name within the Illinois Department of
2) The court finds that the plaintiff has adequate
alleged the following claims against the defendants
in their individual capacities:
a) Defendants violated plaintiff's First Amendment
and Equal Protection rights when the plaintiff
received a disciplinary ticket for performing a
b) Defendants Gordon and Fisher violated the
plaintiff's due process rights during a hearing on
the disciplinary ticket for performing a religious
d) Defendants violated the plaintiffs First Amendment
and Equal Protection rights when they took away a
religious audio tape.
e) The defendants conspired to deprive the plaintiff
of his constitutional rights in violation of § 1983,
§ 1985 and § 1986.
3) This case shall proceed solely on the federal
claims identified in paragraph (2) above. Any claims
not set forth in paragraph (2) above shall not be
included in the case, except in the court's
discretion on motion by a party for good cause shown,
or by leave of court pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 15. 4) A copy of this order shall be served with the
Complaint and Scheduling Order.
5) The clerk of the court shall provide copies of
this order to the U.S. Marshals Office for service
upon the defendants when the plaintiff pays the
initial partial filing fee and a scheduling order is
6) A prepayment order has been entered. See
November 16, 2005 Prepayment Order. The plaintiff
must pay an initial partial filing fee of $7.66 on or
before December 14, 2005 or his case will be
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