United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
SANTRELL R. MILLER, Plaintiff,
S. BRAKE, ANNDERSON, CLARK, and DANIEL Q. SULLIVAN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
H. Lefkow, U.S. District Judge. 
Santrell R. Miller, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently
incarcerated at Big Muddy River Correctional Center
(“Big Muddy”), brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional
rights. Miller alleges Defendants cut his dreadlocks despite
Miller's being a practicing Rastafarian in violation of
the First Amendment. He seeks monetary damages.
case is now before the court for preliminary review of the
Complaint 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).
Complaint, Miller makes the following allegations: Miller is
a practicing Rastafarian and wears his hair in dreadlocks.
(Doc. 1, pp. 4, 7). Upon arriving at Big Muddy, he was told
by Lt. Annderson that he should not have been let on the bus
with his hair in locks and the barber would cut his hair in
the morning. (Id. at pp. 4, 7). Miller believed that
his hair was neat and easily searchable and part of his core
religious beliefs. (Id. at p. 7). He spoke with
Brake and Lt. Clark the following morning and was told he was
not allowed to keep his hair in dreadlocks. (Id. at
p. 7.) If he refused a haircut, he would be issued a ticket
and sent to segregation. (Id. at pp. 5, 7). He was
then forced to sign a paper agreeing to the haircut.
(Id.). He also spoke with the warden, Daniel Q.
Sullivan, about his hair but the warden called him a liar and
refused to help him. (Id. at pp. 4, 8). Miller was
forced to cut his hair after being forced to sign the written
on the allegations in the Complaint, the court finds it
convenient to designate a single Count in this pro
Count 1:Brake, Annderson, Clark, and Sullivan forced
Miller to cut his hair in violation of his
sincerely held religious beliefs under the First
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 other claim that
is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed
without prejudice as inadequately pleaded under the
Twombly pleading standard.
Miller adequately alleges that Defendants substantially
burdened his practice of Rastafarianism by requiring him to
cut his dreadlocks. See Hunafa v. Murphy, 907 F.2d
46, 47 (7th Cir.1990) (“[A] prisoner is entitled to
practice his religion insofar as doing so does not unduly
burden the administration of the prison.”); Turner
v. Safley, 482 U.S.78, 99 (1987) (holding that an almost
complete ban on the decision to marry was not reasonably
related to legitimate penological objectives); but see
Grayson v. Schuler, 666 F.3d 450, 455 (7th Cir. 2012)
(finding that policy allowing Rastafarians to maintain long
hair but denying the privilege to sincere African Hebrew
Israelite of Jerusalem was arbitrary discrimination). Thus,
Count 1 shall proceed as to all of the defendants.
Miller's Motions for Counsel (Docs. 4 and 14) he
indicates that he has sent letters to the John Howard
Association and Loevy and Loevy but has not heard back from
them. He also states that he cannot afford an attorney. Given
the early stage of the litigation, however, it is difficult
to accurately evaluate the need for the assistance of
counsel. See Kadamovas v. Stevens, 706 F.3d 843, 845
(7th Cir. 2013) (“[U]ntil the defendants respond to the
complaint, the plaintiff's need for assistance of counsel
... cannot be gauged.”). Further, the court notes that the
defendants have not yet been served nor has a discovery
schedule been entered. Thus, counsel is not needed at this
early stage. Therefore, Miller's Motions for Counsel
(Docs. 4 and 14) are DENIED without
prejudice. He may renew his request for the recruitment of
counsel at a later date.
IS SO ORDERED that Count 1 shall proceed against