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John Barnett v. Sandra Goings et al

September 16, 2011

JOHN BARNETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SANDRA GOINGS ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Friday, 16 September, 2011 05:51:15 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff John Barnett, proceeding pro se and currently incarcerated in Western Illinois Correctional Center, alleges that he is being discriminated against because of his 14-year-old sex offense conviction. The case is before the Court for a merit review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

LEGAL STANDARD

The Court is required by § 1915A to review a Complaint filed by a prisoner against a governmental entity or officer and, through such process, to identify cognizable claims, dismissing any claim that is "frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted . . . ". A hearing is held if necessary to assist the Court in this review, but, in this case, the Court concludes that no hearing is necessary. The Complaint and its attachments are clear enough on their own for this Court to perform its merit review of Plaintiff's Complaint.

The review standard under § 1915A is the same as the notice pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Zimmerman v. Tribble, 226 F.3d 568, 571 (7th Cir. 2000). To state a claim, the allegations must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations must give enough detail to give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted). The factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id., quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56. However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).

ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff appears to allege that he is being discriminated against because of his conviction on a sex offense 14 years ago. The discrimination allegedly arises from the refusal to find him a "host site" when he is scheduled for parole,*fn1 and the denial of his requests for a prison job. He contends that his conviction is not properly considered in these decisions.

An exhibit to the Complaint sets forth the reasons why Plaintiff will not be offered a host site:

There is no place for a sex offender to parole if you are homeless. Currently there are no halfway house beds available anywhere in the state that IDOC will approve for a registered sex offender. In order to be released on your out date, you must provide the address of family or friends that can be approved by IDOC. If you do not provide a site that can be approved, you will be violated at the door. (d/e 1-1, p. 4)(emphasis in original).

It thus appears that, if Plaintiff does not find an acceptable host site on his own, Plaintiff will not be paroled. He appears to contend that the refusal of IDOC to find a host site for him because he is a registered sex offender amounts to irrational discrimination against him.

Plaintiff also alleges that he has been denied prison jobs and work camps because of his sex offense. He argues this is also discrimination and violates prison policy and a state law that purportedly prohibits a ...


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