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Collins-Bey v. Hulick

May 20, 2010

GREGORY COLLINS-BEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONALD A. HULICK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

GILBERT, District Judge

Plaintiff Gregory Collins-Bey, an inmate in the Menard 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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). 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 subject to summary dismissal.

THE COMPLAINT

In January 2008, Collins-Bey was scheduled to testify in federal court as a witness in a civil rights lawsuit filed by another inmate, Jason Williams.*fn1 The basis of that lawsuit was a policy at Menard that required inmates to "take down" their dreadlocks in order to move about the prison. According to Williams's complaint, he had been restricted to his cell in segregation due to his refusal to remove his dreadlocks, and he had lost significant good conduct credit related to his persistent refusal to remove his dreadlocks. Collins-Bey, an inmate at Menard, had worn dreadlocks for many years without incident. However, upon receipt of the court notice to bring Collins-Bey to court on January 29, 2008, Defendants Hulick and Spiller began an effort to coerce Collins-Bey to cut his hair.

Their first effort was in early January 2008, after Collins-Bey requested a furlough to attend his mother's funeral. Hulick and Spiller told him that if he cut his hair, he would be granted that furlough. Collins-Bey explained to them that he had an agreement with the I.D.O.C. that he could wear his hair in dreadlocks, but they persisted. Collins-Bey refused to cut his hair unless and until he had been to the funeral, but Defendants would not agree; they insisted that he cut his hair before going to the funeral. As a result, he did not attend the funeral. Moreover, he received a disciplinary ticket for disobeying a direct order, and he was taken to segregation. At some point thereafter, but before his court appearance, Defendant Spiller directed the tactical team to restrain Collins-Bey while his hair was forcibly cut.

LEGAL CLAIMS

Retaliation

Collins-Bey first alleges that Defendants actions, described above, were motivated by retaliation for his intent to testify in court against the I.D.O.C. Thus, he asserts that his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech were violated. He seeks monetary damages, an ...


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