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Richard Hood, #B-08072 v. Lt. Mcclelland

July 10, 2012

RICHARD HOOD, #B-08072, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LT. MCCLELLAND, LT. MITCHELL, C/O WATKINS, WARDEN JOHNSON, AND SHERRY BENTON, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Richard Hood, an inmate at Tamms Correctional Center ("Tamms"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a 27 year sentence for aggravated battery. 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, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Conversely, a complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

Plaintiff's complaint names Lt. McClelland, Lt. Mitchell, Correctional Officer Watkins, Warden Johnson, and Sherry Benton, who Plaintiff claims each violated his constitutional rights.

On September 9, 2009, Defendant McClelland "wrote [Plaintiff] up for excess property" (Doc. 1, p. 5). Defendant McClelland and another officer had searched Plaintiff's cell and found thirty-six religious books and magazines and two pairs of ear buds, one of which was broken (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff claims he intended on giving his excess property to his fiancee and alleges the guards and property officer knew of this intention (Doc. 1, p. 5). However, because "the property officer was running behind," the guards would not write him up for excess property when they searched his cell every few days (Doc. 1, p. 5).

Following the September 9, 2009, "write-up," Defendants Mitchell and Watkins presided over a disciplinary hearing where Plaintiff was classified as C-grade. Furthermore, because Plaintiff was found guilty, he was subsequently disapproved for lost good time restoration for over one year. At the hearing, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Mitchell would not allow him to call witnesses. Immediately following this hearing, Plaintiff wrote a grievance, which was subsequently signed by Defendant Johnson. Plaintiff claims ...


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