United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING EMERGENCY MOTION FOR PROTECTION AND
TRANSFER, MOTION FOR EVIDENTIARY HEARING, AND MOTION FOR
COURT TO INVESTIGATE
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Emergency Motion for Protection and Transfer
September 19, 2017, plaintiff Robert Taylor filed, by
counsel, an emergency motion for protection and transfer. He
alleges that on September 8, 2017, he was falsely charged
with verbally threatening a staff member at the USP Terre
Haute in retaliation for filing this lawsuit and because he
provided another inmate with a supportive affidavit after he
witnessed the inmate being beaten. Mr. Taylor was placed in
the SHU on administrative detention status pending an
investigation of the incident report and remains in the SHU
as of the date of his filings.
record shows that an incident report was written after Mr.
Taylor cursed and threatened an officer, not a defendant in
this action, who had searched Mr. Taylor's cell and
confiscated extra personal property. Dkt. 120, p. 2. The
reporting officer stated that Mr. Taylor told him that he was
“going to get a hold of his lawyer and file on
me.” Dkt. 120-2. The officer told him to “go
ahead and file.” Id. Mr. Taylor then said,
“You f---d with the wrong one. F---with me and see what
happens.” Id. After he was cuffed and escorted
down the hall, Mr. Taylor said, “Just wait ‘til I
get out of the SHU. Just wait.” Id. The
officer wrote that he feared that Mr. Taylor might “try
to assault me when he is released back into population due to
his last threatening comment.” Id. A
disciplinary hearing was conducted on the charge of
threatening and the charge was reduced to “insolence
towards a staff member.” Dkt. 128. On October 3, 2017,
the charge was resolved and expunged via an informal
resolution. Dkt. 125-1. The disciplinary procedures were
thereby appropriate and effective in addressing Mr.
Taylor's due process concerns relating to the incident
Taylor has also reported to his attorneys that he believes
his life will be put in danger because prison officers want
to place him in a cell with a violent mentally ill prisoner.
Mr. Taylor is currently in a single cell and has not been
placed with the other inmate. Through the emergency motion
for protection and transfer, Mr. Taylor requests that the
Court transfer him to a different penal institution while he
exhausts his administrative remedies and pursues his
Taylor's request for an emergency transfer is responded
to by the defendants as a request for mandamus relief.
“[T]he unequivocal violation of a statute or regulation
imposing a duty on a federal official can be rectified by
mandamus-an order ‘to compel an officer or employee of
the United States or any agency thereof to perform a duty
owed to the plaintiff.'” Samirah v.
Holder, 627 F.3d 652, 661 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting 28
U.S.C. § 1361). “Mandamus relief may be ordered
only if three conditions are present: (1) the plaintiff has a
clear right to the relief sought; (2) the defendant has a
duty to do the act in question; and (3) no other adequate
remedy is available.” Omogiate v. I.N.S., 61
Fed.Appx. 258, 263 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Iddir v.
I.N.S., 301 F.3d 492, 499 (7th Cir. 2002)). Mandamus is
“an extraordinary remedy.” Scalise v.
Thornburgh, 891 F.2d 640, 648 (7th Cir. 1989). The duty
owed to the plaintiff must be “plainly defined and
peremptory.” Id. Matters left to the
discretion of the federal official in question do not warrant
mandamus relief. Id.
pointed out by the defendants, the claims before the Court in
this action are claims of excessive force. The defendants are
four correctional officers sued in their individual
capacities for money damages. The defendants do not have the
authority to decide issues of inmate transfers.
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) is not a defendant in
this action. Even if an appropriate federal official could be
joined in this action if mandamus relief were warranted,
however, Mr. Taylor has not established that he has a clear
right to a transfer to another prison. Prison administrators
“must be accorded wide-ranging deference in the . . .
execution of policies and practices that in their judgment
are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to
maintain institutional security.” Pardo v.
Hosier, 946 F.2d 1278, 1280-81 (7th Cir. 1991) (internal
quotations omitted). “It is well settled that the
decision where to house inmates is at the core of prison
administrators' expertise.” McKune v.
Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 39 (2002); Meachum v. Fano,
427 U.S. 215, 224 (1976) (“The Constitution does not
“guarantee that the convicted prisoner will be placed
in any particular prison”); see also Olim v.
Waukinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 244-46 (1983) (holding that a
prisoner has no constitutional right to select a particular
correctional facility for his placement or to be transferred
to a different facility upon request.); Isby v.
Brown, 856 F.3d 508, 524 (7th Cir. 2017)
(“Prisoners do not have a constitutional right to
remain in the general population.”).
only does Mr. Taylor not have a clear right to be transferred
in accordance with his request, he has other ways of
presenting his request for a transfer, as described in the
defendants' response to the motion to transfer inmate.
Dkt. 120, p. 6. Mr. Taylor alleges that he has, in fact,
requested a transfer to a different facility. Dkt. 115. He
should continue to follow the procedures established by the
BOP in that regard. Decisions regarding inmate transfers are
made at the Designation and Sentencing Computation Center in
Grand Prairie, Texas. Dkt. 120-1, ¶ 7. It is hoped that
the BOP is giving serious consideration to Mr. Taylor's
concerns in addition to all of the other factors that are
considered when deciding where inmates are confined.
Mr. Taylor lacks a clear right and the defendants have no
authority or duty with regard to a specific transfer to a
different facility. He has other avenues to pursue in this
regard. The Court cannot intervene in the management of the
prison within the context of this case by ordering the BOP to
transfer Mr. Taylor to a particular cell or to any other
additional emergency component of the motion, that being Mr.
Taylor's fear of the other inmate with whom he was going
to be celled, has been avoided by virtue of the fact that Mr.
Taylor has not been celled with him. If prison officials
again indicate to Mr. Taylor that he is going to be placed
with a dangerous inmate, Mr. Taylor must continue to make his
specific concerns known to the proper prison officials. Those
circumstances, however, fall outside the scope of this
extent Mr. Taylor feels bolstered by his recent litigation
and the support he has received through counsel, he should
not interpret that as any empowerment over those who must try
to maintain order in prison. “Guards and inmates
co-exist in direct and intimate contact. Tension between them
is unremitting. Frustration, resentment, and despair are
commonplace. Relationships among the inmates are varied and
complex . . . .” Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S.
539, 562 (1974). It is incumbent on both prison guards and
inmates to act in ways that tend to reduce rather than
escalate the difficult circumstances that exist in prison.
other issue remains. The Court is concerned that in the
course of the shakedown of his cell, “all of his
personal property, legal papers, and legal ledgers were
confiscated.” Dkt. 128, p. 2. Mr. Taylor must be
allowed to have the papers he needs to assist his counsel in
representing him on the merits of his claims in this action.
Counsel for the defendants shall make sufficient
inquiries with the prison to determine what property was
confiscated and what property Mr. Taylor has been allowed to
keep in his possession, and ensure that Mr. Taylor is allowed
to keep all papers that relate to this case. Counsel is
requested to then report to Mr. Taylor's counsel the
substance of those inquiries and the result. The
Court expects that the issue of Mr. Taylor's retention of
his legal papers in his cell will not have to be addressed
further in this case.
above reasons, Mr. Taylor's emergency motion for
protection and transfer to another facility, dkt. , is
denied. To the extent Mr. Taylor's
motion relates to his legal papers being confiscated from his
cell, dkt. , it is grant ...