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Jimmy E. Smith, Jr v. Sangamon County Sheriff's Department

March 28, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge:


Tuesday, 29 March, 2011 08:23:12 AM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 65) (Motion). Plaintiff Jimmy E. Smith, Jr., was beaten by another inmate while he was incarcerated in the Sangamon County, Illinois, Jail (Jail). He now asserts one claim, set forth in Count I of the Third Amended Complaint (d/e 35) (Complaint), that the policy of the Defendant Sangamon County Sheriff's Department (Department) violated his constitutional rights and caused the beating. Smith voluntarily dismisses Counts II through V of the Complaint. Plaintiff's Memorandum in Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 76), at 1. The parties consented, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), to have this matter proceed before this Court. Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, and Order of Reference entered April 26, 2010 (d/e 55). As set forth below, Smith fails to present evidence that the Department violated his rights. The Motion, therefore, is ALLOWED.


On February 28, 2005, Smith was placed in the custody of the Jail. He was charged with impersonating a police officer. A hold was also placed on him for violating the terms of his parole from an earlier conviction and sentence. At that time, Department Correction Officer James Kirby assessed Smith to determine his housing placement within the Jail. Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 68) (Defendants' Memorandum), attached Affidavit of John Kirby, ¶¶ 18, 22.

Kirby and Correction Officer Vincent Fox were the two classification officers at the Jail. Kirby followed the Department's classification policies to classify prisoners. Under the policy, a classification officer interviewed each prisoner and reviewed his criminal history. Kirby and Fox considered several factors to determine placement. A point value was assigned each factor in accordance with the policy, with a lower point total indicating a higher security risk. In addition, points could be subtracted from the point total for various factors, such as the commission of infractions within the Jail. Inmates that pose the most serious risks had point totals of zero.

Under the policy, these inmates were placed in either the high-risk unit or segregation. Inmates with point totals from one to eighteen were placed in maximum security cell blocks, and inmates with point totals of twenty or more were placed in medium or minimum security cell blocks. Kirby Affidavit, attached policy at SCSD0010.*fn1 The factors considered included the age and gender of the inmate, the severity of the current charge, the inmate's criminal history, and the inmate's history as an inmate within the Jail. Depending on all of these factors, inmates charged with violent crimes could be housed with offenders charged with non-violent crimes. Kirby Affidavit, ¶ 8.

In applying the classification policy to Smith, Kirby determined that Smith had a classification score of 8, which placed him in a maximum security cell block within the Jail. Factors that affected Smith's classification were his past problems in the Jail and his parole hold. Kirby Affidavit, ¶¶ 18-21; attached Classification Score Sheet SCSD0035.

On May 13, 2005, Jason Newell was arrested and charged with armed robbery and aggravated battery. Fox classified Newell. Fox determined that Newell had 10 points, placing him in maximum security. The factors that affected Newell's classification were his gang affiliation, the severity of the charges, and his criminal record. Newell had never been in the Jail before, so he had no institutional record. Defendants' Memorandum, attached Affidavit of Vincent Fox, ¶¶ 11-14; Kirby Affidavit attached Classification Score Sheet SCSD0063. Neither Kirby nor Fox was familiar with Newell since he had never been housed at the Jail before. Kirby Affidavit, ¶ 25; Fox Affidavit, ¶¶ 11, 18-19.

On May 22, 2005, Smith was moved into Cell Block D. Newell was already housed in that cell block. Smith was moved because he was charged with fighting. The report of the fight showed that Smith was punched by another inmate while Smith was sitting reading a Bible because Smith would not move his feet to allow the other inmate to clean the floor. There was no indication that Smith retaliated. Kirby Affidavit, attached Citation and Violation Report SCSD0050-SCSD0051.

On June 8, 2005, Newell attacked Smith and severely injured him. Kirby investigated the attack. On June 15, 2005, Kirby interviewed Newell and two witnesses, fellow inmate Phillip Fayemi and attorney Lance Jones. All of the witnesses, including Newell, testified that Newell and Fayemi got into an argument over the remote control to the television in the cell block. Newell eventually punched Fayemi. Fayemi and Jones stated that Newell punched Fayemi several times. During the fight, Smith went to the window to tell the guard. Newell then attacked Smith. Kirby Affidavit, attached Phillip Fayemi Interview Summary SCSD0007; Lance Jones Interview Summary SCSD0008; Jason Newell Interview Summary SCSD0009.

According to Jones, Newell had previously threatened to kill Smith if he "stitched" on Newell.*fn2 Fayemi stated that Newell had been picking on Smith every day. Fayemi further stated that Smith was known as a "stitch." According to Jones, Newell said to Smith after the attack, "I told ...

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