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Reed v. Dye

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 8, 2019

DERRONDAS REED, #K90424, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. DYE, C/O HUGHEY, LT. BROOKMAN, WARDEN LASHBROOK, AMY BURLE, JOHN DOE, JOHN BALDWIN, JASON HART, and LARISSA WANDRO, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Derrondas Reed, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Western Illinois Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged constitutional deprivations resulting from a false and retaliatory disciplinary ticket he received at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). In the Amended Complaint, [1] Plaintiff asserts claims against the defendants under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 22). He seeks declaratory and monetary relief. Id. at pp. 20-21.

         The Amended Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out non- meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se Amended Complaint are liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Amended Complaint (Doc. 22): On May 9, 2018, Menard officials found 27.2 grams of tobacco in a gutter near Menard's North Lowers Cell House. (Doc. 22, p. 8). The following day, Inmate Christopher Harris admitted that the tobacco belonged to him. Id. Harris stated that he was transferring it to Derrondas Reed. Id. Although Harris later recanted this statement in an affidavit, Reed and his cellmate, Terrance Johnson, became the target of an investigation into tobacco trafficking at the prison. Id. at pp. 4, 8. At the time, both men were widely regarded as model inmates and assigned lucrative jobs as cellhouse porters/janitors. Id. Their status changed on May 10, 2018, however, when Reed and Johnson were strip-searched, handcuffed, and placed on investigative status by internal affairs officers. Id. at pp. 4-8. Officer Bridges interviewed each about the other's involvement in a tobacco trafficking operation. Id. Reed and Johnson denied knowledge of the other's involvement in this activity. Id.

         Officers Hughey and Dye then interviewed Reed on May 21, 2018. Id. When he denied involvement in tobacco trafficking, the officers accused him of lying about his status as the “tobacco guy” at Menard. Id. They threatened Reed with criminal charges if he did not disclose the name(s) of the staff member(s) or inmate(s) who supplied him with tobacco. Id. at p. 5. Reed was denied a lawyer during this interview and was not read his Miranda rights. The officers also interviewed Johnson about Reed's involvement in tobacco trafficking. Id. at pp. 5-6.

         Officers Hughey and Dye conducted another round of interviews on May 24, 2018 - this time with disciplinary reports in hand. Id. at p. 7. They warned Reed and Johnson that this interview was their final opportunity to avoid punishment. Id. When both inmates again denied knowledge or involvement in a tobacco trafficking operation, they were issued tickets citing violations of IDOC Rule #103 (bribery and extortion), IDOC Rule #110 (impeding or interfering with an investigation), and IDOC Rule #203 (drugs and drug paraphernalia (tobacco)). Id. at pp. 7-8. The tickets were supported by the testimony of confidential informants and false admissions of state and federal law violations by Reed and Johnson. Id.

         At an Adjustment Committed hearing before Lieutenant Brookman and Jason Hart on June 5, 2018, Reed and Johnson offered exonerating evidence that included the affidavit of Inmate Harris. Id. at p. 9. Both inmates were nevertheless found guilty of all three rule violations and punished with four months of segregation, demotion to C-grade status, commissary restriction, and property restriction and six months of contact visit restrictions. Id. at pp. 9-10.

         Reed filed a grievance challenging the disciplinary investigation, report, and punishment, but Grievance Officer Wandro and Warden Lashbrook denied it. Id. He appealed the decision to the Administrative Review Board (ARB), and the ARB dismissed the Rule #110 violation only. Id. at p. 11. As a result of the disciplinary action, Reed lost his job and significant personal property. Id. at p. 10.

         Based on the allegations in the Amended Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into the following Counts:

Count 1:First Amendment retaliation claim against Dye, Hughey, and Internal Affairs Supervisor John Doe for drafting a false disciplinary report and persuading another inmate to submit a fabricated statement against Plaintiff when he did not provide information in the tobacco trafficking investigation.
Count 2:Fifth Amendment claim against Dye, Hughey, and Internal Affairs Supervisor John Doe for drafting a false disciplinary report and persuading another inmate to submit a fabricated statement against Plaintiff in an attempt to compel him to give self-incriminating information during the tobacco trafficking investigation.
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claim against Dye, Hughey, and Internal Affairs Supervisor John Doe for filing a false disciplinary report.
Count 4:Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claim against Brookman, Hart, and Lashbrook for disregarding constitutionally required procedures while ...

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