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Carcione v. Jones

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 7, 2017

KYLE J. CARCIONE, Plaintiff,


          Phil Gilbert United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at the Jackson County Jail, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arose while he was detained at the Franklin County Jail. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his rights in numerous ways, including denying him access to a grievance procedure, placing him in segregation without due process, and failing to transport him to court appearances. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Under § 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss any portion of the complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that “no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit.” 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. 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, 678 (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 Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th Cir. 2011); Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Applying these standards, the Court finds that one of Plaintiff's claims survives threshold review under § 1915A.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff states that he has been in custody since October 14, 2015, during which time he spent at least 10 months in the Franklin County Jail. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The Complaint indicates that Plaintiff is being held as a pretrial detainee on charges pending in Jackson County. He names Franklin County Jail Administrator Chet Shaffer and Sheriff Donald Jones as Defendants.

         According to Plaintiff, Shaffer has impeded and denied his access to the jail's grievance process on many occasions. Shaffer is the person who answers grievances, and he has refused to give Plaintiff copies or allow him to appeal his grievances outside the facility. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Shaffer has interfered in all of Plaintiff's medical treatment by confiscating Plaintiff's medical requests and “making his own diagnosis, ” which has prolonged the process of obtaining treatment or an examination by a doctor. Id.

         Shaffer has placed Plaintiff in segregation multiple times, without giving Plaintiff a disciplinary report or holding a hearing.

         Shaffer and Jones have failed to place detainee rights or rights of the accused in the jail.

         Jones and Shaffer allow unsanitary conditions to persist in the jail, including black mold in the showers, and rust on the eating tables.

         Shaffer and Lt. Skobel (who is not a Defendant) have interfered with Plaintiff's legal mail/material. They have also confiscated and/or destroyed items, including personal pictures, in Plaintiff's incoming personal mail, without documenting what items were confiscated.

         Shaffer deactivated Plaintiff's telephone PIN account for approximately 7 months, preventing Plaintiff from calling family, civil attorneys, and his criminal attorney. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Over the 8-10 months prior to the filing of this action, Plaintiff has been issued multiple writs of habeas corpus by the Jackson County State's Attorney, ordering him to appear in court in Jackson County. However, Jones and Shaffer have repeatedly failed to honor the writs and refused to bring Plaintiff to court on multiple occasions. The most recent of these incidents was on May 26, 2017. Plaintiff alleges that their refusal to transport him has prolonged his detention and impeded his right to a fair legal process. Id.

         Plaintiff has been refused legal material, despite his multiple requests and filing of grievances.

         Plaintiff's final complaint is that cameras are set up in his cell, violating his personal privacy.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the violations of his rights. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice.

Count 1: Shaffer has denied Plaintiff access to a grievance process in the jail;
Count 2: Shaffer prevented and/or delayed Plaintiff's access to medical care;
Count 3: Shaffer punished Plaintiff with segregation without due process;
Count 4: Shaffer and Jones subjected Plaintiff to unsanitary conditions in ...

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