United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Edmond Duffin, an inmate currently housed at Stateville
Correctional Center (“Stateville”), filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims
that his due process rights were violated in connection with
disciplinary proceedings stemming from an April 22, 2014
disciplinary ticket that resulted in Plaintiff spending a
year in disciplinary segregation.
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Amended Complaint (Doc. 13) 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.
claims stem from an April 22, 2014 disciplinary report
charging Plaintiff with the offense of 205: Security Threat
Activity. The report claimed that Plaintiff maintained a
leadership position in the Gangster Disciples, a Security
Threat Group (“STG”), at Menard. According to the
Amended Complaint, the report was too generic to provide
meaningful notice regarding the alleged charge. More
specifically, the report did not provide any information
regarding how Plaintiff was personally involved in any STG
activity. Initially, Plaintiff was found not guilty of the
charge. In an apparent effort to provide additional
information, the report was rewritten and a second hearing
was held. This time, Plaintiff was adjudicated guilty,
allegedly at the direction of Butler. Among other things,
Plaintiff was disciplined with 1-year in segregation.
October 2014, a member of the Administrative Review Board
recommended that the revised report be remanded and rewritten
to provide additional information regarding Plaintiff's
personal involvement in STG activity. Accordingly, the
disciplinary report was rewritten a second time, and
Plaintiff attended his third hearing on the matter. Once
again, Plaintiff was disciplined with 1 year in segregation.
Upon completing his term in segregation, Plaintiff was
immediately placed in administrative segregation based on his
alleged involvement in STG activity. Plaintiff remained in
administrative segregation for 531 days.
contends the original and revised notices he received prior
to being disciplined with segregation were too vague and
generic to comport with due process requirements. He also
claims that the Adjustment Committee's findings relied
entirely on the inadequate disciplinary reports and were not
supported by any evidence, also violating Plaintiff's
right to due process. Plaintiff raises similar claims with
respect to his subsequent placement in administrative
Disciplinary Report and Related Disciplinary Action
April 22, 2014, Plaintiff was served with an inmate
disciplinary report (“Original IDR”) charging him
with the offense of 205: Security Threat Activity. (Doc. 13,
p. 6; Doc. 13-1, pp. 2-4). The Original IDR provided, in
relevant part, as follows:
On the above date and approximate time, Menard CC
Intelligence Unit concluded an investigation based on
intelligence received concerning current Gangster Disciples
STG leadership at Menard Correctional Center. The
investigation was concluded on April 22, 2014, resulting in
this disciplinary report being issued to offender EDMOND
DUFFIN R23746 (known Gangster Disciples affiliate). During
the investigation two confidential sources (names being
withheld for the safety and security of the institution and
deemed reliable due to the consistency of their statements)
identified offender DUFFIN as the current Gangster Disciples
Director of Unilateral Force of Operations (UFO) at Menard
(Doc. 13-1, p. 3). On April 29, 2014, Plaintiff was brought
before the Adjustment Committee for a hearing. (Doc. 13, p.
The Adjustment Committee was comprised of three correctional
officers: (1) Jason Hart; (2) Rebecca Cowan, and (3) Robert
Hughes. (Doc. 13, p. 7). The Adjustment Committee found
Plaintiff not guilty and released him from segregation.
Butler, who was the Chief Administrative Officer
(“CAO”) of Menard at that time, issued an order
directing the issuing officer to rewrite the Original IDR.
Id. Plaintiff was returned to segregation
and, on May 6, 2014, Plaintiff was served with the revised
IDR (“Revised IDR”). Id.
Revised IDR added the following pertinent information:
Throughout the duration of the investigation on offender
DUFFIN, numerous incidents have occurred at Menard CC
involving Gangster Disciples affiliates. These incidents
include multiple fights/assaults isolated to GD affiliates.
Also, numerous weapons have been discovered in the possession
of multiple GD affiliates. These incidents have been
identified as STG related incidents by Menard CC Intelligence
(Doc. 13-1, p. 11). On May 8, 2014, Plaintiff was brought
before the Adjustment Committee for a hearing on the Revised
IDR. (Doc. 13, p. 7; Doc. 13-1, pp. 13-16). The Adjustment
Committee was comprised of two correctional officers: (1)
Minh Scott and (2) Cowan. (Doc. 1, p. 7). At the hearing,
Scott and Cowan told Plaintiff Butler directed them to enter
a finding of guilty and impose a one-year term of
segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 7; Doc. 13-1, p. 16). Plaintiff
pleaded not guilty. (Doc. 13-1, p. 14). The Adjustment
Committee found Plaintiff guilty. (Doc. 13-1, pp. 14-16).
Plaintiff was ordered to segregation for 1 year, demoted to
“C” grade for 1 year, placed on commissary
restriction for 1 year, and subjected to restricted contact
visits for 6 months. (Doc. 13-1, pp. 15-16). A disciplinary
transfer was also imposed. (Doc. 13-1, p. 16). The basis for
the Adjustment Committee's decision is a verbatim copy of
the information provided in the Revised IDR. (Doc. 13-1, p.
30, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to Pontiac Correctional
Center Segregation Unit. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff filed a
grievance and, on October 21, 2014, Administrative Review
Board member Leslie McCarthy recommended that the Revised IDR
be remanded back to the issuing officer at Menard “to
provide additional information as to how [Plaintiff] was
identified as an active participant in STG activity.”
(Doc. 13, p. 8; Doc. 13-1, p. 18). The letter addressing
Plaintiff's grievance further stated that “[u]pon
rewrite, Menard is to forward the rewritten report to
[Plaintiff's] current facility (PON), for it to be
reserved, and reheard within established timeframes.”
(Doc. 13-1, p. 18). The recommendation was approved by S.A.
Godinez (the director of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) at that time). (Doc. 13, p.
January 20, 2015, Plaintiff was served with another revised
IDR, dated January 15, 2015 (“Second Revised
IDR”). (Doc. 13, p. 9; Doc. 13-1, pp. 30-33). The
Second Revised IDR added the following language:
Based on both confidential sources, offender DUFFIN held the
Menard Institutional position of the Director of the
Unilateral Force Operations. This position must be appointed
by the Gangster Disciples and the appointee (DUFFIN) must
accept the position. By offender DUFFIN accepting th[sic]
position of Director of UFO's, DUFFIN, committed to
upholding the laws, rules, and responsibilities designated to
the Director of UFO's per the Staff Title Duties. This
act is an overt and conscious decision to participate in
Gangster Disciples Security Threat Group Activity at Menard
CC. Also, DUFFIN is subsequently assuming responsibility for
the actions of Gangster Disciples affiliates as it pertains
to Gangster Disciples nation business.
(Doc. 13-1, p. 32). On January 23, 2015, Plaintiff was
brought before the Adjustment Committee for a third time.
(Doc. 13, p. 9). This time, the Adjustment Committee was
comprised of two new correctional officers: (1) Chad Brown
and (2) Aberardo Salinas. Id. Plaintiff pleaded not
guilty. (Doc. 13-1, pp. 35-37). The Adjustment Committee,
apparently relying on the Second Revised IDR as the only
evidence, found Plaintiff guilty and imposed the same
disciplinary action as the prior committee (1 year of
segregation, disciplinary transfer, 1 year commissary
restriction, 6 months restricted contact visits, and 1 year
demotion to “C” grade). Id.
April 25, 2015, Plaintiff completed serving a year in
disciplinary segregation. (Doc. 13, p. 11). Three days later,
on April 28, 2015, Plaintiff received a decision from the
Administrative Review Board ...