United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
ANASTACIO B. PALAFOX, #N-33550, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM A. SPILLER, KENT E. BROOKMAN, TERRANCE T. JACKSON, KIMBERLY S. BUTLER, JOHN DOE 1, and JOHN DOE 2, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Anastacio B. Palafox, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently housed at Western
Illinois Correctional Center, recently filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that, in
2015 when he was housed at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”), officials violated his Fourteenth
Amendment right to due process in a prison disciplinary
proceeding. In connection with these claims, Plaintiff sues
William A. Spiller (IDOC Gang Intelligence Officer for
Internal Affairs, Menard); Kent E. Brookman (Hearing
Committee Chair, Menard); Terrance T. Jackson (Hearing
Committee Member, Menard); Kimberly S. Butler (Warden,
Menard); John Doe 1 (Confidential Informant No. 1, Menard
Inmate); and John Doe 2 (Confidential Informant No. 2, Menard
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.
August 6, 2015, Plaintiff was placed in temporary confinement
at Menard's segregation unit and was issued an offender
disciplinary report (“ODR”). (Doc. 1, p. 4). The
ODR, which was written by Spiller, charged Plaintiff with
violating DR 504.205 (Gang or Unauthorized Organization
Activity/Security Threat Group (“SGT”) Activity).
Id. The charge was premised, in part, on information
provided by John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 (both Menard inmates)
regarding Plaintiff's alleged participation in a
10-minute meeting that occurred in the yard near the
telephones. Id. Plaintiff has attached the ODR as an
exhibit to his Complaint, and it provides as follows:
This disciplinary report is being issued to offender Palafox
upon the conclusion of an internal investigation that was
initiated on August 3, 2015 and concluded on today's
date. On August 3, 2015 the Intelligence Unit conducted video
surveillance on the West Yard while West Cell House 1, 3, 5
galleries and non-weapon violator/staff assaulters from 7
gallery attended yard. At the beginning of yard, it was
observed that fourteen offenders that included Latin Kings,
Latin Kings Allies, and two other offenders that had not been
previously identified as affiliated, grouped in a circle by
phone 7 having a meeting. The meeting lasted approximately
ten minutes with all offenders being positively identified.
Additionally during the investigation information was
obtained that the meeting on the yard was to discuss new
Latin King leadership in the west cell house. The information
was obtained from two confidential sources (names and numbers
being withheld for the safety and security of the
institution). The Latin King STG meeting was confirmed by
Intel Staff based on confidential sources and video evidence
obtained during the investigation conducted by IDOC staff:
Offender Palafox was identified by his stated ID card and
(Doc. 1, p. 10).
objects to the ODR because (1) it relied on confidential
informants who are not reliable and are often given
incentives for providing information; (2) it did not identify
Plaintiff's affiliation with the STG; (3) it did not
specifically allege Plaintiff's participation in the STG
leadership discussion; and (4) it was intentionally vague.
(Doc. 1, pp. 4-5). He also claims that the ODR “is part
of an orchestrated policy, practice or custom regularly
implemented against inmates, (usually in mass) that has been
abused by gang intel and its members for many years.”
(Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff speculates that the goal of the
alleged policy is “to identify and segregate inmates
who are STG participants.” Id. He also
speculates that disciplinary reports written by gang
intelligence officers are “rubber stamp[ed]” by
hearing committee members. Id.
disciplinary hearing was held on August 10, 2015. (Doc. 1,
pp. 5, 14). At the hearing, Plaintiff pled not guilty and
submitted a written statement in his defense. Id.
The Adjustment Committee, which was comprised of Brookman and
Jackson, found Plaintiff guilty and indicated that the
decision was based on the ODR, which was transcribed
virtually verbatim in the decision. Id. Plaintiff
was sanctioned with placement in segregation for one year,
demotion to “C” grade for one year, commissary
restriction for one year, yard restriction for one month, and
contact visit restriction for six months. Id. Butler
concurred with the Adjustment Committee's decision. (Doc.
1, p. 6).
claims that his due process rights were violated in the
• The record does not indicate whether the Adjustment
Committee considered ...