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Brunner v. Williamson

August 26, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

Case Management Order and Disposition of All Pending Matters

This case proceeds on the following claims:

1) The totality of conditions at the Jail violates or violated the plaintiff's 14th amendment due process rights;

2) The difference in treatment between the block in which the plaintiff is/was housed and the "honor's block" violates Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights; and,

3) The plaintiff's placement in a high risk cell amounted to punishment without due process in violation of his 14th amendment rights.

Motions for Discovery (d/e's 32. 35)

Motion # 32 is moot with regards to the plaintiff's medical records, which have been provided to him.

Remaining is the plaintiff's request for the housing records of all the blocks, showing the names and charges of the inmates/detainees and the block each is housed in. He seeks this information to show that there are inmates in the honors blocks with the same or similar charges as him (murder). that he is housed in the L block solely because he has been charged with murder, but. He maintains that, under the behavioral point system at the Jail, he should be in the honors block because he has had no major tickets. He argues that he has never received a major disciplinary ticket. He "feel[s he has] been deprived of privileges allowed to those whom should have the same security level as I do." He believes he should have a lower security classification, like other allegedly similarly situated inmates.

This claim is not before the court. The plaintiff's equal protection claim before the court is based the difference in walkman radio privileges between the L block and the honors' blocks. (Complaint #6):

I feel as tho [sic] the Jail is discriminaiting [sic] against me due to my classification of being on L-Black. There are 3 honor Blocks in this Jail and on these blocks the Jail allows walkman radios. Non-honor blacks get radios confiscaited [sic] during shakedowns & we are told we can't have them because we are considered maximum security when in fact All blocks on the 3rd floor are classified as max. security.

(Complaint p. 5)(underline in original). He maintained that many jail guards agreed that radios should be allowed. In his Complaint the plaintiff seeks a change in Jail policy that allows radios on all the blocks. (Complaint p. 6, Relief Requested)("I would like to see that at least radios be allowed in all Jail Blocks"). He did not challenge his placement on L block, but rather the reduced privileges on L block as compared to the honors block. To allow him to add this claim after discovery closed and after a dispositive motion was filed would work unfair prejudice on the defendants and unduly and unnecessarily prolong this case. The information he seeks in his motions is not relevant to the claim before the Court: the difference in radio privileges between L block and the honors' blocks.*fn2, *fn3 Accordingly, these motions will be denied.

Motion for Extension to Conduct Depositions (d/e 38)

The plaintiff asks that discovery be reopened because he has recently learned that he should be permitted to take depositions. He asks the court to allow him to take depositions and to schedule those depositions.

Granting a plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis does not mean that the plaintiff's entire costs of pursuing his or her suit are waived or subsidized. It means only that the plaintiff is not required to pay the filing fee up front and that the plaintiff does not have to pay for service on the defendants. Thus, the arrangement of and costs of depositions he wants to conduct would be his responsibility. In any event, an incarcerated plaintiff is necessarily limited to written discovery. Further, the plaintiff's attempts at discovery now are untimely. Accordingly, this motion will be denied.

Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 29)

Based on its review of the memorandum in support of summary judgment, its accompanying exhibits, and upon the plaintiff's response (d/e 32), the court finds the following facts undisputed. Most of the facts below are taken verbatim from the defendants' motion for summary judgment, to the extent not sufficiently disputed by the plaintiff.

1. The plaintiff was booked into the Sangamon County Jail on April 30, 2006. He remains incarcerated there as a pretrial detainee on four counts of first degree murder. (Brunner Dep., p. 5).

2. The plaintiff spent the first few days in the medical unit due to his condition and then he was transferred to a "high risk" cell. (Complaint #1). This was because when the plaintiff first came into the Jail, he was strung out on drugs, had been up for 14 days straight smoking crack, and was reported to have made some suicidal statements to the detective investigating his case. (Brunner Dep., p. 8). The plaintiff is not challenging this initial placement in the high risk cell. He is only challenging his second placement in the high risk cell (discussed below). (Brunner Dep., p. 8, 13).

3. Defendant Terry Durr is currently employed as the Jail Superintendent for the Sangamon County Sheriff's Department (SCSD). He has been employed by the SCSD since October 28, 1992. He has been employed as the Jail Superintendent since January 31, 2005. (Durr Aff., ¶1).

4. As the Jail Superintendent, Durr is responsible to the overall operations of the Jail and is familiar with the booking procedures, clothing policy, layout of the cells, sleeping arrangements, shower policy, exercise policy, housing issues, grievance procedure, allowable property, cell classification, inmate privileges and commissary privileges. Durr reports directly to the Chief Deputy and Sheriff Neil Williamson. (Durr Aff., ¶2).

5. Defendant William Strayer is an Assistant Jail Superintendent at the Jail and reports directly to Defendant Durr.

6. Durr and Strayer have reviewed and are familiar with the allegations in the Complaint. (Durr Aff., ¶3; Strayer Aff., ¶3).

7. When booked into the Jail inmates are not allowed to wear their own under garments, out of concern over the spread of disease. Inmates can purchase items, including soap, undergarments, clothing and hygiene materials from the commissary. (Durr Aff., ¶4; Strayer Aff., ¶4).

8. The plaintiff's commissary records show that he received funds in his trust fund account on May 16, 2006, seventeen days after he was booked into the Jail (counting the day of booking). The plaintiff purchased undergarments the next day, on May 17, 2006. (Brunner Affidavit p. 1 (d/e 32)). Funds have been added to the plaintiff's prison account regularly since May 2006, which he has used to purchase items at the commissary.

9. Upon arrival, inmates are issued a jail uniform. (Durr Aff., ¶5; Strayer Aff., ¶5).

10. The defendants aver that the Jail policy is to regularly clean uniforms and that all inmates are issued a clean uniform upon arrival into the Jail. (Durr Aff., ¶7; Strayer Aff., ¶7). The plaintiff alleged in his Complaint that sometimes the uniforms are stained with menstrual blood from female inmates. He does not appear to dispute, however, that the uniforms are cleaned before being issued, despite the fact that some of the cleaned uniforms may still have stains even after cleaning. He also does not dispute that if a uniform ...

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