United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
August 2, 2012
REGINALD M. POTTS , JR. (#2007-0085153)
DANIEL MORECI, ET AL.
Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge JOAN H. LEFKOW than Assigned Judge
DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:
The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [#4] is granted. The court authorizes and orders Cook County Jail officials to deduct $17.00 from the plaintiff's account, and to continue making monthly deductions in accordance with this order. The clerk shall send a copy of this order to the Supervisor of Inmate Trust Fund Accounts, Cook County Dept. of Corrections Administrative Office, Division V, 2700 S. California, Chicago, Illinois 60608. The clerk is directed to issue summonses for all service on the defendants by the U.S. Marshal. The clerk is also directed to send the plaintiff a magistrate judge consent form and filing instructions along with a copy of this order.
O [For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
The plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, jail officials, have violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by infringing on his attorney/client privilege and by retaliating against him. More specifically, the plaintiff alleges that correctional officials are using a hand-held device to videotape and audiotape the plaintiff's consultations with his attorneys, and that at least one of the officers is motivated by retaliatory animus due to the plaintiff's prior litigation.
The plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), the plaintiff is assessed an initial partial filing fee of $17.00. The supervisor of inmate trust accounts at the Cook County Jail is authorized and ordered to collect, when funds exist, the partial filing fee from the plaintiff's trust fund account and pay it directly to the Clerk of Court. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the trust fund officer at the plaintiff's place of confinement is directed to collect monthly payments from the plaintiff's trust fund account in an amount equal to 20% of the preceding month's income credited to the account. Monthly payments collected from the plaintiff's trust fund account shall be forwarded to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the full $350 filing fee is paid. All payments shall be sent to the Clerk, United States District Court, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois 60604, attn: Cashier's Desk, 20th Floor, and shall clearly identify the plaintiff's name and the case number assigned to this action. The Cook County inmate trust account office shall notify transferee authorities of any outstanding balance in the event the plaintiff is transferred from the jail to another correctional facility.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court is required to conduct a prompt initial review of prisoner complaints against governmental entities or employees. Here, accepting the plaintiff's factual allegations as true, the court finds that the complaint states colorable causes of action under the Civil Rights Act. The opportunity to communicate privately with an attorney is an important part of the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of meaningful access to courts. Dreher v. Sielaff, 636 F.2d 1141, 1143 (7th Cir. 1980); but see Martin v. Tyson, 845 F.2d 1451, 1458 (7th Cir. 1988) (no constitutional violation was found where jail made a non-monitored telephone line available for legal calls); Bryant v. Goforth, No. 09 C 0999, 2010 WL 2367440, *1 (S.D. Ill. Jun. 14, 2010) (no constitutional violation where prison guard took notes of plaintiff's telephone conversation with attorney until asked by attorney not to do so) (citations omitted). Furthermore, it is well established that prison officials violate the Constitution when they retaliate against a prisoner for filing lawsuits. Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821 (1977); Walker v. Thompson, 288 F.3d 1005, 1009 (7th Cir. 2002). While a more fully developed record may belie the plaintiff's claims or establish justification for this unusual practice, the defendants must respond to the allegations in the complaint.
The clerk shall issue summonses for service of the complaint on the defendants. The United States Marshals Service is appointed to serve the defendants. Any service forms necessary for the plaintiff to complete will be sent by the Marshal as appropriate to serve the defendants with process. The U.S. Marshal is directed to make all reasonable efforts to serve the defendants. With respect to any former jail employee who can no longer be found at the work address provided by the plaintiff, the Cook County Department of Corrections shall furnish the Marshal with the defendant's last-known address. The information shall be used only for purposes of effectuating service [or for proof of service, should a dispute arise] and any documentation of the address shall be retained only by the Marshal. Address information shall not be maintained in the court file, nor disclosed by the Marshal. The Marshal is authorized to mail a request for waiver of service to the defendants in the manner prescribed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d)(2) before attempting personal service.
The plaintiff is instructed to file all future papers concerning this action with the Clerk of Court in care of the Prisoner Correspondent. The plaintiff is once again reminded that he must provide the court with the original plus a complete judge's copy, including any exhibits, of every document filed. In addition, the plaintiff must send an exact copy of any court filing to the defendants [or to defense counsel, once an attorney has entered an appearance on behalf of the defendants]. Every document filed with the court must include a certificate of service stating to whom exact copies were mailed and the date of mailing. Any paper that is sent directly to the judge or that otherwise fails to comply with these instructions may be disregarded by the court or returned to the plaintiff.
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