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Stainback v. Lambert

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


July 10, 2007

CHARLIE STAINBACK, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
GREGORY S. LAMBERT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Big Muddy River Correctional Center, 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; this action is legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

This action involves two different disciplinary tickets. The first ticket, written April 29, 2005, charged Plaintiff with refusing a housing assignment. He was found guilty and punished with the following: two months reduction to C-grade, seven days in segregation, one month of yard restriction, and the revocation of one month of good conduct credit. The second ticket, written May 5, 2005, contained similar charges. Again, he was found guilty; his punishment was similar, although his time in segregation was increased to one month. Plaintiff filed grievances over both tickets, but those grievances were unsuccessful. Plaintiff now challenges both tickets, claiming that he was denied his constitutional rights with respect to these proceedings, and that he was subjected to discrimination from his race.

The instant case is a challenge to disciplinary proceedings that resulted in the loss of good time credit as well as time in disciplinary segregation. The proper method for challenging the revocation of good time credit is habeas corpus, but only after Plaintiff has exhausted his remedies through the Illinois state courts. See, e.g., Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 480-81 (1994). The Illinois courts have recognized mandamus as an appropriate remedy to compel prison officials to award sentence credit to a prisoner. Taylor v. Franzen, 417 N.E.2d 242, 247, aff'd on reh'g, 420 N.E.2d 1203 (Ill.App. 1981). See also United States ex rel. Isaac v. Franzen, 531 F. Supp. 1086, 1091-94 (N.D. Ill. 1982). The State of Illinois must first be afforded an opportunity, in a mandamus action pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/14-101 et seq., to consider the merits of Plaintiff's claim. Plaintiff must exhaust his state court remedies before bringing his claims to federal court.

In summary, Plaintiff's complaint does not survive review under § 1915A. Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED with prejudice. Plaintiff is advised that the dismissal of this action will count as one of his three allotted "strikes" under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

G. Patrick Murphy Chief United States District Judge

20070710

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