United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
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,  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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
on the allegations in the Amended Complaint, the Court finds
it convenient to divide the pro se action into the
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
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