United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
Johnnie Bankston, an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that
occurred at Shawnee Correctional Center. On September 8,
2016, Plaintiff notified the Court that he is currently at
Pontiac on a writ, but he expects to be returned to Shawnee
(which is consistent with the information on the website for
the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”)
that shows he is still at Shawnee). Bankston requests
injunctive relief and damages based on the refusal to allow
him to practice his chosen religion.
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
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). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable
person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209
F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
originally filed this action on November 16, 2015. (Doc. 1).
The Court undertook to screen the Complaint on December 15,
2015, but because Bankston failed to sign it, the Court
instead directed him to file a signed amended complaint.
(Doc. 6). Bankston then requested an extension of time in
which to file the amended complaint. (Doc. 9). The Court
granted that motion, and on January 28, 2016, Bankston filed
the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 12).
is a member of the Nation of Gods and Earths. (Doc. 12, p.
2). On March 30, 2015, he met with Chaplain Williams to
discuss organizing services for his religion. (Doc. 12, p.
2). Bankston's beliefs require a Parliament to be held
once a month, along with weekly civilization classes. (Doc.
12, p. 2). Bankston also requested permission to use the
emblem of the church. (Doc. 12, p. 2). Bankston alleges that
Williams agreed and told Bankston that services would be held
on April 4, 2015. (Doc. 12, p. 2). Yet Bankston was not
issued a call pass when that date arrived. (Doc. 12, p. 2).
Bankston filed a grievance on this issue on May 16, 2015.
(Doc. 12, p. 2). He then asked Williams about the missed
service in person. (Doc. 12, p. 2). Williams told Bankston
that he had been out of town on April 4, 2015, but that he
would call services for the members the next week. (Doc. 12,
p. 2). No service was held, and Bankston wrote another
grievance on June 20. (Doc. 12, p. 3).
September 17, 2015, Bankston received a memorandum from the
Chaplain regarding his request. (Doc. 12, p. 3). Bankston
spoke to the Chaplain in person again on October 14, 2015, at
which time Williams told Bankston that services would not be
held unless Bankston could stay out of segregation. (Doc. 12,
p. 3). Bankston also alleges that certain institutions within
the IDOC, including Shawnee, have put the Nation of Gods and
Earths on the security threat group list, in violation the
constitutional rights of its members.
on the allegations of the First Amended Complaint, the Court
finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into
three counts. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a ...