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Haywood v. Hathaway

May 24, 2010

SEYON R. HAYWOOD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JODY HATHAWAY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Seyon Haywood, formerly an inmate in the Shawnee Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

THE COMPLAINT

On January 9, 2009, Haywood states that he was assaulted by his auto mechanics teacher, Rick Odum. According to Haywood, Odum pushed him hard with both hands, almost knocking him down. Haywood reported this incident to Defendant Collier, who placed Haywood in administrative segregation. Ten days later, Haywood received a disciplinary ticket from Collier charging him with providing false information regarding the incident with Odum. Apparently the other inmates in the class did not corroborate Haywood's version of events, nor did Odum. At the hearing, Defendants Rockwell and Russell found him guilty; Haywood was punished with two months in segregation, two months reduction to C-grade, and the loss of one month of good conduct credit. Haywood filed an emergency grievance with the warden, Defendant Hathaway, who did not respond.

During his sixty days in segregation, Haywood was subjected to extremely cold conditions in his cell. He states that in mid-January, the prison was hit with an ice storm that left them without power for four days. He alleges that Hathaway refused to turn on heat generators or cover the windows with plastic, nor would he provide Haywood extra blankets. Haywood states that there was ice on the inside of his room due to the extreme cold, and most of his meals were nearly frozen.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING

Haywood alleges that he was subjected to disciplinary proceedings by Collier, Rockwell, Russell and Hathaway out of retaliation for Haywood's report that Odum had assaulted him. In essence, he alleges that but for their retaliatory motives, he would not have received a ticket, nor been found guilty by the Adjustment Committee and punished with two months in segregation, two months reduction to C-grade, and the loss of one month of good conduct credit.

In the instant case Haywood is challenging the underlying motivation for his punishment, as well as the validity of the charges. Proof of such a claim could invalidate the disciplinary proceeding, which in turn would invalidate his punishment of the revocation of good time credit. The proper method for challenging the revocation of good time credit is habeas corpus, but only after Haywood has exhausted his remedies through the Illinois state courts. See, e.g., Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 480-81 (1994); Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 117 S.Ct. 1584 (1997); Clayton-EL v. Fisher, 96 F.3d 236, 242 (7th Cir. 1996). The Illinois courts have recognized mandamus as an appropriate remedy to compel prison officials to award sentence credit to a prisoner. Taylor v. Franzen, 93 Ill.App.3d 758, 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 Haywood's claim.

Accordingly, Haywood's claims regarding this disciplinary proceeding (Counts 1-4) will be dismissed without prejudice to his pursuing his claims through the appropriate venues.

CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT

As summarized above, Haywood alleges that he was subjected to extremely cold conditions while in segregation in January 2009.

Prisoners have an Eighth Amendment right to adequate shelter, including a right to protection from cold. See Dixon v. Godinez, 114 F.3d 640, 642 (7th Cir. 1997). To assess whether cold cell temperatures constitute cruel and unusual punishment, courts must consider factors including "the severity of the cold; its duration; whether the prisoner has alternative means to protect himself from the cold; the adequacy of such alternatives; as well as whether he must endure other uncomfortable conditions as well as cold." Id. at 644; see also Palmer v. Johnson, 193 F.3d 346 (5th Cir. 1999) (finding that exposure to extreme cold for 17 hours could constitute Eighth Amendment violation); Henderson v. DeRobertis, 940 F.2d 1055, 1058 (7th Cir. 1991) (finding that deprivation of blankets for four days in extreme cold could constitute Eighth Amendment violation). The cold need not present an imminent threat to the inmate's health to implicate the Eighth Amendment. See Dixon, 114 F.3d at 642.

Based on these standards, the Court is unable to dismiss this claim (Count 5) against ...


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