The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, District Judge
Plaintiff, Thedell Doss, a former inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, and Judy Ann McCarroll Doss, an inmate in the Federal Prison Camp in Greenville, Illinois, bring this action for alleged violations of their constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). 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 Chambers, Gilkey, Pottios, Meadors, Quintana, Veltri, Nelson, and Revell for discrimination against Plaintiffs in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
COUNT 2: Against Defendants Chambers, Gilkey, Pottios, Meadors, Quintana, Veltri, Nelson, and Revell for violations of due process.
COUNT 3: Against Defendants Chambers, Gilkey, Pottios, Meadors, Quintana, Veltri, Nelson and Revell for violations of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
Plaintiffs are married, and at the time the incidents described in the complaint began to occur, both were incarcerated in Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities: Thedell Doss at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, and Judy Ann McCarroll Doss at the Federal Prison Camp also in Greenville, Illinois. In May 2002, Defendant Chambers informed the Plaintiffs that they would no longer be allowed to correspond with each other. This decision was based on Defendant Gilkey's determination that Plaintiffs' marriage certificate, a document showing an Islamic marriage, was not valid in the state of Illinois. Plaintiffs submit evidence that Defendants also believed that the document might have been forged, although this charge may have later been cleared. Plaintiffs filed a number of grievances on the matter, and at some point in this process it was determined that Plaintiffs' Islamic marriage certificate was considered valid in the state of Illinois. Defendants Pottios, Meadors, Chambers and Quintana, however, had destroyed the only copy of that certificate. Plaintiffs determined that the only way to remedy the absence of the certificate was to undergo a second Islamic marriage, which the chaplain at Greenville arranged. The Plaintiffs were married by an Islamic Imam on September 8, 2002. Plaintiffs include the marriage certificate as an exhibit to the complaint.
Plaintiffs' correspondence privileges were not immediately restored, however, because it was determined that Plaintiff Judy Ann McCarroll Doss had been married previously, and never legally divorced. Plaintiffs grieved the issue to Defendant Veltri,*fn1 but she continued to deny correspondence, partly on the advice of Defendants Nelson and Pottios. On appeal, Defendant Veltri's decision was affirmed. After that determination, it appears that Plaintiff Judy Ann McCarroll Doss was legally divorced from her first husband, and correspondence privileges were restored in July 2005.
In November, 2005, correspondence was again restricted by Defendant Nelson because of an objection to the content of one of the letters in which Thedell Doss encouraged his wife to find "other Muslim sisters to write, to assist and support other Muslim brothers with their faith." Neither Plaintiff was charged with ...