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Collier v. Williams

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 14, 2014

GREGORY COLLIER, No. M31061, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNSELOR WILLIAMS, RANDY STEVENSON, and WARDEN STEPHEN DUNCAN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Gregory Collier, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on the failure of prison officials to carry out an Illinois Department of Corrections' directive that expunged a disciplinary conviction from his record, which should have resulted in the restoration of 90 days of good time credit and a transfer back to a less secure, less punitive prison.

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.

Discussion

The Complaint

According to the complaint, Plaintiff's 2013 disciplinary conviction was expunged by the Department of Corrections on or about August 18, 2014. Plaintiff then informed Counselor Williams about the expunged charge and restoration of good time credit, and requested a transfer out of Lawrence to a less secure, less punitive facility. Williams told Plaintiff that he could not be transferred until he had been at Lawrence for a full year.

Plaintiff then wrote to Counselor Williams' supervisor, Clinical Service Supervisor Randy Stevenson, alleging that he was not being afforded due process, and pointing out that he should be able to seek a transfer every six months. Stevenson did not reply to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff then filed an emergency grievance with Warden Duncan, but the grievance was deemed not to qualify as an emergency.

In the complaint, filed October 21, 2014, Plaintiff contends that the Defendants Williams, Stevenson and Duncan subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment; denied him the equal protection of the law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; subjected him to emotional distress; acted negligently; and denied him due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment and injunctive relief in the form of re-classification to "A" grade, restoration of 90 days of good time credit, and a transfer to a level 3 or 4 prison.

The complaint, which does not happen to include a copy of the Department of Corrections edict expunging Plaintiff's disciplinary conviction, straddles the line between the realm of civil rights covered by Section 1983, and habeas corpus, which covers the shortening of a sentence (such as good time credits), or a quantum change in the level of custody. See Graham v. Broglin, 922 F.2d 379, 380-81 (7th Cir. 1991). It is even possible that what Plaintiff is seeking is a remedy in the form of an order of mandamus from state court. See McTee v. Cowan, 250 F.3d 506, 508 n. 2 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing 735 ILCS 5/14-102; and People ex rel. Braver v. Washington, 724 N.E.2d 68, 70 n. 1 (Ill.App. 1st Dist. 1999)). In ...


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