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Reed v. Garnett

December 8, 2006

JAMES ROBERT REED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JASON C. GARNETT, BARRY W. PEARSON, THOMAS SIMMONS, PAMELA MORAN, STEPHEN DEMPSEY, ANTHONY MCALLISTER, KENNETH D. BROWN, NEIL C. BANTICAN, ALAN M. UCHTMAN,JEFFREY D. BROSHEARS, JASON P. VASQUEZ, ROGER E. WALKER, BRIAN K. FAIRCHILD, AND SHERRY BENTON, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, a former inmate in various institutions in the Illinois Department of Corrections, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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; portions of this action are legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(f) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint and other pleadings into numbered counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: Against Defendants all defendants for violations of due process during disciplinary hearings.

COUNT 2: Against Defendants Garnett, Pearson, Simmons, Dempsey, McAllister,

Moran, Brown, and Bantican for violating the First Amendment in confiscating Plaintiff's religious materials.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff states that on March 25, 2005, during a shakedown of his cell at Lawrence Correctional Center, Defendant Pearson confiscated a number of Plaintiff's papers and publications. Plaintiff was placed in segregation on an investigatory status and was later issued a disciplinary report charging him with unauthorized gang activity for possession of white supremacist publications that were considered security threat group materials. The adjustment committee held a hearing on March 29, 2005, and found Plaintiff guilty of the charges. Plaintiff was disciplined with six months segregation, six months demotion to c-grade, a disciplinary transfer, a six-month restriction on contact visits and audio/visual privileges, and a three-month restriction of yard time. After this hearing, Plaintiff continued to receive in the mail materials from the same organizations who published the materials that were confiscated. Plaintiff states that all of these materials were reviewed in the mail room and he was allowed to have them, even after he had been disciplined for possession of similar materials. Plaintiff believes that defendants intentionally allowed these materials to pass through the mail room so that they could later discipline Plaintiff for possessing the materials. On April 29, 2005, Plaintiff was written another disciplinary report for possession of additional security threat group materials. Shortly after, Plaintiff was transferred to Menard Correctional Center. The adjustment committee hearing on the April 2005 charges was held there on May 13, 2005. Plaintiff was found guilty of unauthorized gang activity and was disciplined with six months segregation, six months demotion to c-grade, revocation of three months good conduct credit, a six-month restriction on contact visits and commissary, and three months lost yard time. Plaintiff grieved his dissatisfaction with the procedures used in the hearing, and on June 22, 2005, the Administrative Review Board remanded the second disciplinary proceeding back to the Menard adjustment committee so that additional witness statements could be made part of the record. On remand, additional witnesses were interviewed and a second hearing held. However, according to the adjustment committee's final summary, the disciplinary measures taken against Plaintiff were not changed, and he was still subjected to six months segregation, six-month demotion to c-grade, revocation of three months of good conduct credit, six-month restriction on contact visits and commissary, and three months lost yard time. Despite the report submitted with the complaint, Plaintiff states that he has not yet been found guilty of the charges in the April 29 disciplinary report.

Plaintiff argues that Defendants Garnett, Pearson, Simmons, Dempsey, McAllister, Moran, Brown, and Bantican of Lawrence Correctional Center, in confiscating his Christian Identity, National Socialist, and white supremacist materials, and in providing an unfair hearing denied him his constitutional guarantees of free speech, freedom of religion, due process, and equal protection. Plaintiff further argues that Defendants Alan Uchtman, Jason Vasquez, and Jeffrey Broshears at Menard Correctional Center violated his due process and equal protection guarantees during the adjustment committee hearings on the April 29 disciplinary report. Finally, ...


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