United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANDREW R. MORECRAFT, Plaintiff,
JOHN BALDWIN, NICHOLAS LAMB, DEEDEE BROOKHART, and DAVID VAUGHN Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge.
Andrew R. Morecraft, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff seeks declarative relief, injunctive relief, and
damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
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.
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.
has been incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center since
July 2016. (Doc. 1, p. 5). He practices the Asatru religion,
also known as Odinism. Id. Plaintiff has practiced
his faith for nearly 6 years and credits it with giving him
perspective and self-control. Id. He denies being a
member of any gang. Id.
practitioners use runes made from small pieces of engraved
wood, altar cloths with faith symbols, and wear medallions.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). It is also traditional to feast after
religious ceremonies and to honor the High Feast days.
Id. Plaintiff believes that there are approximately
30 other Asatru practitioners at Lawrence. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
alleges that Lawrence officials have denied requests for
weekly group worship sessions for Asatru practitioners,
outdoor group worship sessions with accompanying ritual
items, ritual feasting, possession of personal medallions for
religious purposes, and celebration of the Asatru holy days.
(Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). Specifically, he alleges that Defendant
Vaughn has ignored his requests for services multiple times.
(Doc. 1-1, p. 4). Plaintiff's exhibits also show that he
wrote to Defendant Brookhart multiple times about his
request. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 38-41). Plaintiff further alleges
that his religious items were taken during a shakedown on
November 25, 2017 and that he was issued a disciplinary
report for possessing the items. (Doc. 1, p. 8) (Doc. 1-1, p.
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 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 following claims survive
Count 1 - Baldwin, Lamb, Vaughn and
Brookhart substantially burdened Plaintiff's practice of
the Asatru religion when they denied him access to group
worship services ...