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Van Pelt v. C/O Uraski

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 18, 2018

RONALD M. VAN PELT, #R00514, Plaintiff,
v.
C/O URASKI, MAJOR MALCOM, C/O SHURTZ, CHARLES HECK, and JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Court Judge

         Plaintiff Ronald Van Pelt, an inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that the defendants violated his due process and equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. 1). This 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 such relief.

         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 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. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to summarily dismiss this case.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in his Complaint (Doc. 1): on August 26, 2016, Defendant Uraski and an unknown corrections officer questioned Plaintiff about a confrontation between him and his cellmate. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff told them that he had a fight with his cellmate. Id. The corrections officers did not accept Plaintiff's account, and Uraski wrote Plaintiff a ticket charging him with 102 - Assaulting any person. Id. Plaintiff “was only guilty of 301 - Fighting, a much less serious infraction.” Id. “The story typed in the offense report is a fabrication by C/O Uraski, and a biased view of what actually occurred.” (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         On August 27, 2016, C/O Tyson Swarts, #9443, slid a copy of Plaintiff's offense sheet through the segregation door without asking Plaintiff whether he wanted to sign the ticket or call any witnesses. (Doc. 1, p. 8). The box indicating that Plaintiff did not want to sign or call any witnesses was already checked. Id. Plaintiff did not have the chance to mark otherwise although he had two witnesses he wanted to call that would have verified his account. Id.

         At Plaintiff's adjustment committee hearing on August 30, 2016, Defendant Heck did not allow Plaintiff to call witnesses. Id. Plaintiff explained to Heck that no assault took place and that the confrontation was “only a simply fight.” Id. Heck asked Plaintiff if he was fighting with his cellmate, to which Plaintiff replied: “Yeah, but I am not guilty of assaulting any person, I'm only guilty of fighting.” Id. Heck then told Plaintiff: “Fighting and Assaulting Any Person are the same thing, you are guilty, and you've pled guilty.” Id. Heck falsified Plaintiff's adjustment committee statement by denying him the right to present witnesses and not allowing him to enter a plea of not guilty. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Heck should have amended Plaintiff's charge before sentencing him to two months segregation and one month loss of good time. Id. On September 4, 2016, Defendant Lashbrook signed off on the Final Summary Report, despite knowing that Plaintiff's 102 - Assaulting Any Person offense was rightfully a 301 - Fighting offense. Id.

         Plaintiff requests monetary ...


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