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Yisrayl v. Reed

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 28, 2018

Ben Yisrayl, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Sgt. Reed, Appellee-Defendant.

          Appeal from the LaPorte Superior Court The Honorable Greta Stirling Friedman, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 46D04-1701-SC-225

          Appellant pro se Ben Yisrayl Michigan City, Indiana.

          Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Aaron T. Craft Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana.

          Barnes, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] After a trial by affidavit, Chijioke Bomani Ben Yisrayl appeals the trial court's denial and dismissal of his claim in replevin. We affirm.

         Issue

         [¶2] The sole issue before us is whether the trial court erred in denying and dismissing Yisrayl's claim.

         Facts

         [¶3] Yisrayl is an offender incarcerated in Michigan City. In June 2016, Yisrayl began "a 90 day probationary period as a PLUS Aide[, a job classification within] the Indiana State Prison."[1] App. Vol. II p. 31. On July 14, 2016, he purchased an Xbox 360 gaming console, two controllers, and twenty-five video games ("Xbox and accessories"). On September 7, 2016, Yisrayl's "position as a PLUS aide was terminated[.]" Id. at 36. He appealed the decision, but was unsuccessful. On November 16, 2016, the prison superintendent

[mandated] that only ICH offenders and offenders serving as PLUS Aide[s] are authorized an Xbox. All other offenders are not authorized to have an Xbox or Xbox games.

Id. at 32. That same day, the facility's offender special purchases department instructed Indiana Department of Correction ("DOC") correctional officer Sgt. Reed to confiscate Yisrayl's Xbox and accessories. Sgt. Reed did so, gave Yisrayl a confiscation slip that stated that he was "Not Allow[ed] to have" the items, notified Yisrayl that he could challenge the seizure through the "Offender Grievance Process[, ]" and "turned in[ ]" the items. Id. at 27, 32. Yisrayl was authorized to "designate someone to pick up his confiscated property[, ]" but had not done so as of April 4, 2017. Id. at 32.

         [¶4] On January 30, 2017, Yisrayl filed a small claims complaint and a contemporaneous motion for summary judgment against Sgt. Reed "for confiscating [his] personal property . . . for no reason at all" in violation of Indiana Code Section 11-11-2-3 and his property rights. Id. at 17. Yisrayl sought the items' return and a declaration that he was entitled to them.

         [¶5] On March 10, 2017, the trial court set the matter for a trial by affidavit to commence on March 24, 2017, pursuant to a court-designated timetable for each party's submission of affidavits and exhibits and for Yisrayl's rebuttal evidence. Subsequently, Sgt. Reed filed his exhibits and affidavit, wherein he averred to the foregoing facts; he also ...


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