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Jeremy M. Wright v. Jackie Miller

July 7, 2011


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



This matter comes before the Court for review of Plaintiff Jeremy Wright's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10), filed in accordance with this Court's previous order (Doc. 7). Plaintiff seeks relief for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Preliminary review of the First Amended Complaint must be conducted 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.

This Court dismissed Plaintiff's original complaint (Doc. 1) because he sought relief against several defendants not residing in this district, and because he had not yet exhausted the grievance process on his claims arising from his confinement in the Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff has now received a final ruling from the Administrative Review Board denying his request to be returned to Protective Custody (Doc. 10, p. 10). In his complaint, Plaintiff seeks an injunction to permanently return him to protective custody while he serves out his 100 year sentence for murder, and transferring him back to Pontiac Correctional Center.

Factual Allegations

This summary of the facts is drawn from the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10). Plaintiff had been in protective custody in the Illinois Department of Corrections on account of gang-related threats for over ten years (March 30, 1999, to November 11, 2009), until he was placed in segregation for impeding an investigation and sexual misconduct with a male inmate. Plaintiff was told he must request protective custody status again upon his release from segregation. He made such a request on June 11, 2010, but was denied protective custody on August 2, 2010, while at Pontiac Correctional Center. Plaintiff was returned to general population.

On February 9, 2011, Plaintiff was transferred to Menard Correctional Center. On February 13, 2011, while in the yard, he was approached by three inmates belonging to the Latin Kings, the gang to which Plaintiff had formerly belonged. Plaintiff had been threatened by Latin Kings (LK) before because he left the gang, is bisexual and burned off his teardrop tattoo. One of the inmates who accosted Plaintiff on February 13, 2011, told him, "[He]'d better not come out of [his] cell anymore or [he]'d know what [he] had coming" (Doc. 10, p. 5). Plaintiff did not know the name of the inmate who issued the threat, but knew one of the three as "Encino-man." Plaintiff stayed in his cell and requested protective custody, but nothing was done.

On February 14, Plaintiff wrote an emergency grievance, and was taken to Internal Affairs two days later to discuss his request. Plaintiff was interviewed by Officer Nehring (who is not a defendant) regarding his protective custody (PC) request, but was told the request would likely be denied because he could not identify the person who issued the threat, even though Officer Nehring stated that he believed that homosexual LK's are in danger. Officer Nehring denied Plaintiff's request to be allowed to identify the LK member using a photo lineup. Plaintiff also spoke to Defendant Hendricks and a psychiatrist about his PC request, explaining that he needed PC because the LK's had threatened him because of his homosexual lifestyle and renunciation of his LK membership. Defendant Hendricks stated that "the Kings were no sissys [sic] and would stab [Plaintiff's] ass up for being gay" (Doc. 10, p. 6). Nevertheless, Defendant Hendricks denied Plaintiff's PC request on February 16, 2011.

Defendant Menard Warden concurred with the denial of PC and placed Plaintiff int "kickout" status. Plaintiff filed a grievance over the PC denial. Defendant Jackie Miller, the Administrative Review Board (ARB) Chair, held a hearing on the grievance on May 10, 2011. Defendant Miller informed Plaintiff that he must provide names, specific threats and staff confirmation before she would approve him for PC status. Plaintiff did not know the name of the inmate who threatened him, and had been unable to move around the gallery to determine what cell the inmate was in. Plaintiff had submitted a FOIA request seeking a copy of the Internal Affairs report on their investigation of the incident, which Plaintiff had signed, but he had not received a copy. Plaintiff told Defendant Miller that if he were kicked out of PC, he feared it would take another two to three weeks before he might get back into PC and he could be beat up or stabbed in the meantime. Defendant Miller told Plaintiff, "at least you can sign back in and hopefully [you won't] be assaulted before [you can] do so" (Doc. 10, p. 7). Defendant Miller denied Plaintiff's PC request on May 13, 2011. Defendant Godinez (the Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections) also approved the order removing Plaintiff from PC.

Plaintiff was returned to general population on May 26, 2011, and within an hour, an inmate named Leon Blanchard started spreading the word that Plaintiff was "a faggot, stool pigeon ex-LK" (Doc. 10, p. 7). Plaintiff made another ...

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