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Jones v. Walker

February 28, 2006

BRIAN JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER E. WALKER, JR., SHERRY HILE, JASON GARNETT, LT. HODGES, LT. CAINE, C/O JENKINS, MAIL ROOM OFFICER JOHN DOE, JOYCE HOSKINSON, PAMELA MORAN, JANIS JOKISCH, J. MENSING, LT. WAITZ, MAJOR HARRIS AND SHARON MCCORKLE, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, currently an inmate in the Menard 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. In this action, Plaintiff sets forth twelve separate claims, as summarized here for clarity.

COUNT 1: Against Defendants Garnett and Walker for unjustified cell searches and destruction of his property, in violation of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

COUNT 2: Against Defendants Garnett, Walker and Hile for tampering with his mail, in violation of his rights under the First Amendment.

COUNT 3: Against Defendants Garnett, Hodges, Walker and Hile for unfairly placing him in administrative segregation, in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

COUNT 4: Against Defendant Caine for harassment, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 5: Against Defendants Garnett, Walker and Hile for racial segregation, in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

COUNT 6: Against Defendants Doe and Hoskinson for interfering with his legal mail, in violation of his rights under the First Amendment.

COUNT 7: Against Defendants Garnett, Moran, Walker and Hile for improperly addressing his grievances, in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

COUNT 8: Against Defendant McCorkle for interfering with his access to the courts, in violation of his rights under the First Amendment.

COUNT 9: Against Defendant Jokisch for violating his rights under FOIA and the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 10: Against Defendants Mensing, Waitz, Harris and Garnett for excessive force and wrongful placement in segregation, in violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

COUNT 11: Against Defendants Garnett, Walker and Hile for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

COUNT 12: Against Defendants Garnett, Walker, Hile and Harris for placing him in controlled segregation, in violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(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 governmental entity.

(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 complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

COUNT 1

Plaintiff's first claim involves daily "cell compliance checks" at Lawrence Correctional Center, which he claims are actually cell shake-downs in which his property is damaged or confiscated. Due to these regular searches, Plaintiff has had to throw out over $300 worth of food which was contaminated or destroyed, and he has spent close to $100 on laundry detergent to wash his clothes that were dirtied by officers' muddy boots and shoes.

The only constitutional right that might be implicated by these facts is Plaintiff's right, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to be free from deprivations of his property by state actors without due process of law. To state a claim under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Plaintiff must establish a deprivation of liberty or property without due process of law; if the state provides an adequate remedy, Plaintiff has no civil rights claim. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 530-36 (1984) (availability of damages remedy in state claims court is an adequate, post-deprivation remedy). The Seventh Circuit has found that Illinois provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy in an action for damages in the Illinois Court of Claims. Murdock v. Washington, 193 F.3d 510, 513 (7th Cir. 1999); Stewart v. McGinnis, 5 F.3d 1031, 1036 (7th Cir. 1993); 705 ILCS 505/8 (1995). Accordingly, Plaintiff has no claim under Section 1983, and Count 1 is dismissed from this action with prejudice.

COUNT 2

Plaintiff's next claim is that Defendants Garnett, Walker and Hile allow prison staff to open and screen all inmates' incoming and outgoing mail, and that often the prison staff tampers with or destroys grievances contained in that outgoing mail.

Inmates have a First Amendment right both to send and receive mail, Rowe v. Shake, 196 F.3d 778, 782 (7th Cir. 1999), but that right does not preclude prison officials from examining mail to ensure that it does not contain contraband, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. ...


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