United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
TERRANCE E. LACEY, SR., Plaintiff,
AUSTIN GRIGGS, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
E. Lacey, Sr., a prisoner without a lawyer, filed an amended
complaint (ECF 10) alleging that Officer Austin
Griggs lodged a false conduct report against him and that
Officer J. Wright failed to provide him with a fair hearing
on that conduct report. A filing by an unrepresented party
“is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
(quotation marks and citations omitted). Nevertheless,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review the
merits of a prisoner complaint and dismiss it if the action
is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
February 2, 2018, Officer Griggs conducted the daily pat-down
search of inmates working in the kitchen. He reported that he
found items in Mr. Lacey's coat - an allegation that Mr.
Lacey denies. Mr. Lacey's lunch sack was searched and
Officer Griggs found a leftover hamburger in the sack.
Officer Griggs and Mr. Lacey disagree about whether he was
permitted to have the leftover hamburger. As a result of the
incident, Mr. Lacey was fired from his job. A prisoner
doesn't have a liberty or property interest in a prison
job, and depriving a prisoner of that job doesn't violate
his procedural due process rights. DeWalt v. Carter,
224 F.3d 607, 613 (7th Cir. 2000). Accordingly, Mr. Lacey
can't state a claim upon which relief can be granted for
being fired from his prison job.
Lacey further alleges that Officer Griggs lodged a false
conduct report against him. As explained before, to the
extent Mr. Lacey is alleging that the conduct report was
brought against him for retaliatory reasons, his complaint
does not state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
“Falsifying a disciplinary charge [does] not give rise
to liability for unconstitutional retaliation unless the
motive for the fabrication was to retaliate for the exercise
of a constitutional right.” Perotti v.
Quinones, 488 Fed.Appx. 141, 146 (7th Cir. Ind. 2012)
(citing Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 625
(7th Cir. 2006)). An allegation of First Amendment
retaliation requires a showing “that (1) he engaged in
activity protected by the First Amendment; (2) he suffered a
deprivation that would likely deter First Amendment activity
in the future; and (3) the First Amendment activity was at
least a motivating factor in the Defendants' decision to
take the retaliatory action.” Gomez v. Randle,
680 F.3d 859, 866 (7th Cir. 2012) (quotation marks and
citations omitted). Mr. Lacey hasn't identified any
activity he engaged in that is protected by the First
Amendment before the false conduct report being made. Thus,
Mr. Lacey can't proceed on a First Amendment retaliation
Lacey alleges that his due process rights were violated
during the course of the disciplinary hearing. Lacey wanted
to call a witness and present evidence at the hearing, but
Officer J. Wright wouldn't allow it because the only
penalty he received due to the conduct report was a written
reprimand. The due process clause doesn't apply
if the inmate suffered no discipline other than a written
reprimand. “The due process clause of the fourteenth
amendment . . . applies only to deprivations of life,
liberty, and property. Otherwise states are free to act
summarily." Marion v. Radtke, 641 F.3d 874, 875
(7th Cir. 2011). Mr. Lacey hasn't stated a due process
claim on which relief can be granted.
Lacey argues that he suffered more than a mere reprimand as a
result of the false conduct report: in addition to losing his
job, he lost the opportunity to benefit from time-cut
privileges for six months. But “he has no due process
interest in the opportunity to earn good time credits.”
Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1431 (7th Cir.
1996); see also Babcock v. White, 102 F.3d 267, 274
(7th Cir. 1996) (“[B]because good-time credits do not
inevitably affect the duration of sentence, denying the
opportunity to earn credits ... did not infringe on a
protected liberty interest.)(citations and quotations
omitted). Therefore, this does not state a claim on which
relief can be granted, either.
these reasons, this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A because it does not state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
 It is actually Mr. Lacey's second
amended complaint. The first amended complaint (ECF 6) was
entered on the docket by the Clerk's Office on August 14,
2018, the same day that this Court's August 13, 2018,
screening order was entered.
 The court doesn't read Mr.
Lacey's complaint as alleging that one of the direct
punishments resulting from the disciplinary conduct report
was a loss of time credit. However, even if he did lose time
credit, he indicates the loss of credit has not been
restored, and he therefore cannot pursue a claim for damages
until the guilty finding is overturned. See Edwards v.
Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 643 (1997) (“[A] state
prisoner's claim for damages is not cognizable under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 if a judgment in favor of the plaintiff
would necessarily imply the invalidity of his ...