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Johnson v. Dye

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 8, 2019

TERRANCE JOHNSON, #R15112, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. DYE, C/O HUGHEY, LT. BROOKMAN, WARDEN LASHBROOK, JOHN DOE, JOHN BALDWIN, JASON HART, SHERRY BENTON, and LARISSA WANDRO, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Terrance Johnson, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges deprivations of his constitutional rights arising from the issuance of an Inmate Disciplinary Report and a guilty verdict by the Adjustment Committee resulting in disciplinary segregation. He requests a declaratory judgment and money damages.

         Plaintiff's 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 Complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations in the Complaint (Doc. 1): On May 10, 2018, Internal Affairs conducted a shakedown of Plaintiff's cell and he and his cellmate, Reed, were questioned separately regarding an investigation into tobacco trafficking. Plaintiff was questioned on whether he ever saw Reed with any tobacco and was taken to segregation and placed under investigation. Id. at pp. 3-4.

         On May 21, 2018, Lieutenant Dye and Corrections Officer Hughey interviewed Plaintiff about tobacco that was found in the North Lower Cell House. Hughey told Plaintiff that if he told Hughey what he knew about Reed's involvement with selling tobacco or the name of the staff member supplying the tobacco, he would be released from segregation. Id. at p. 5. After Plaintiff repeated that he did not know anything about the tobacco, Dye told him that if he “couldn't help [them], we can't help you.” Id. at pp. 5-6.

         A few days later, following another interview with Hughey and Dye in which Plaintiff again stated that he did not know anything regarding Reed's involvement with trafficking tobacco, Plaintiff received a disciplinary report. The charged violations in the report were supported by unknown confidential informants, insufficient facts, and a false statement that Plaintiff had admitted to violating state and federal law. Id. at p. 7.

         On the day of the disciplinary hearing, Plaintiff submitted a written statement from another inmate named Harris to the Adjustment Committee (“Committee”). In his statement, Harris recanted previous claims he had made regarding Plaintiff's involvement in tobacco possession and stated that he, Harris, had placed the tobacco in the gutter that was found in the North Lower Cell House. Id. at p. 8. The Committee, composed of members Brookman and Hart, found Plaintiff guilty of bribery and extortion, impeding or interfering with an investigation, drugs and drug paraphernalia, and violating state or federal law. Id. at pp. 8, 33.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance challenging the disciplinary report, investigation, and disciplinary action imposed by the Committee, but Grievance Officer Wandro and Warden Lashbrook denied the grievance. Id. at pp. 9, 40. Plaintiff appealed to the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”). The ARB upheld one of the charges, “possessing contraband -tobacco- within a penal institution in violation of state law, ” but overturned the other three charges due to failure to comply with procedural due process safeguards. Id. at pp. 9, 42.

         While in segregation, Internal Affairs packed and stored a majority of Plaintiff's property, depriving him of his property for the four months he was in segregation. Id. at pp. 9, 17. Upon release from segregation, Plaintiff received back about half of the property that had been confiscated; the other half was lost by Internal Affairs. Id. at 17.

         Based on the allegations in the 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 conducting the disciplinary hearing.
Count 5: Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Wandro, Baldwin, and Benton[1] for affirming the unconstitutional process used by the Adjustment Committee during Plaintiff's disciplinary hearing and upholding the retaliatory actions of Dye, Hughey, and Internal Affairs Supervisor John Doe. 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. Any claim that is mentioned in the Complaint ...

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