United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. HERNDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Darryl Haslett, an inmate currently incarcerated at Pontiac
Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), filed this
pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
constitutional violations that allegedly occurred at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff, who is a Muslim,
asserts that Pinckneyville's chaplain interfered with his
ability to practice his religious beliefs by preventing
Plaintiff from participating in the Ramadan fasts in 2015 and
2016. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff names
Chaplain Arnold (a chaplain allegedly employed by IDOC) and
seeks monetary damages.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which
(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.
was transferred to Pinckneyville in February of 2015. (Doc.
1, p. 5). After attending orientation, Plaintiff wrote a
letter to Arnold asking to be approved for Jummah service as
well as Ramadan, which is mandatory for “every able
bodied Muslim.” Id. Plaintiff apparently wrote
several letters before finally receiving a response from
Arnold on June 16, 2015. Id. Arnold's letter
indicated that, as of June 15, 2015, Plaintiff had been added
to the Jummah service list. Id. However,
Plaintiff's request to participate in Ramadan was denied.
Id. Arnold claimed that the Plaintiff's Ramadan
request was untimely (all requests were to have been filed on
or before May 4, 2015 and Arnold claimed Plaintiff missed the
sign-up deadline). Arnold indicated that the deadline had
been posted on the chalkboard in the Jummah service room.
Id. However, because Plaintiff was not approved for
Jummah service, he never would have seen the deadline
postings.Ultimately, Plaintiff was not permitted to
participate in Ramadan in 2015. Id. Plaintiff's
grievances regarding this issue were denied. Id.
2016, Plaintiff completed a timely request to participate in
Ramadan and personally delivered the request to Arnold. (Doc.
1, p. 6). Ramadan began on June 6, 2016. Id. On June
6, 2016, Plaintiff was informed that he was not on the list
to participate in Ramadan. Id. Plaintiff wrote a
letter to Arnold explaining that he had submitted a timely
request and had personally delivered it to Arnold. (Doc. 1,
pp. 6, 18). Arnold never responded. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff
complained to an officer and a counselor, but both indicated
that nothing could be done without Arnold's approval.
(Doc. 1, pp. 6, 29). Plaintiff also contends that, at some
point, Arnold “lied” to him, indicating that
Arnold had no authority to place Plaintiff on the approval
list. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff wrote another letter to
Arnold on June 9, 2016, but heard nothing. (Doc. 1, pp. 6,
alleges he attempted to file a grievance in early July. (Doc.
1, p. 6). However, the grievance was apparently lost by his
counselor. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 22-25). Plaintiff also submitted a
grievance on July 22, 2016 and September 9, 2016. (Doc. 1,
pp. 6, 20-21, 26-27). The grievances were eventually denied
as being untimely. (Doc. 1, p. 28). Plaintiff attempted to
fast, as required by Ramadan, on his own, but was unable to
complete the process. As a result, Plaintiff fell off his
path of righteousness, began swearing, fighting, and
gambling, and eventually was placed in disciplinary
Review Under § 1915(A)
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into a single
count. The parties and the Court will use this designation in
all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by
a judicial officer of this Court. ...