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Johnson v. Harrison

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division

September 20, 2019

BLAKE ALEXANDER JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
SHEILA HARRISON, ANDRE GARCIA, CHYENNE JARRETT, DAVE THOMAS, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND SCREENING THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         I.

         The plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint on September 3, 2019. See dkt. 11. The plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint, dkt. [11], is granted. The clerk is directed to re-docket the proposed amended complaint, dkt. [11-2], as the first amended complaint in this action. The amended complaint is now subject to screening.

         II.

         The plaintiff Blake Alexander Johnson is a pre-trial detainee at the Jefferson County Jail (the “Jail”). Because the plaintiff is a “prisoner” as defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(c), this Court has an obligation under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) to screen his amended complaint before service on the defendants.

         The plaintiff’s amended complaint sets forth additional details about his confinement, but none of the underlying claims that the Court noted in its original screening entry, dkt. 9, have changed.

         III. The Complaint

         The plaintiff brings this cause of action against (1) Sheila Harrison, Jail Commander; (2) Chyenne Jarrett, Captain; (3) Andre Garcia, Captain; and (4) Dave Thomas, Jefferson County Sheriff. The plaintiff seeks money damages and injunctive relief.

         The plaintiff alleges that Andre Garcia and Chyenne Jarrett moved a known member of the Ku Klux Klan into a dorm with multiple inmates of color. The inmate who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan was attacked by other inmates. The plaintiff alleges that he was charged with battery by Sheila Harrison, Andre Garcia, Chyenne Jarrett, and Sheriff Dave Thomas due to his race. As a result, on April 11, 2019, the plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation and labeled a threat to the security of the facility. This occurred without proof and without the plaintiff receiving a write-up or going in front of a disciplinary board.

         The plaintiff asserts that on or about April 7, 2019, the plaintiff was told to pack his belongings and moved to a temporary cell on orders from Sheriff Dave Thomas. While in segregation, the plaintiff’s clothing, legal and personal mail, hygiene items, and religious effects were confiscated. In addition, all visits and phone calls were also denied to the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s legal mail and hygiene items were returned April 28, 2019. His religious items have still not been returned.

         III. Discussion of Claims

         This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. L.P. v. Marian Catholic High Sch., 852 F.3d 690, 696 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988)). The threshold inquiry in a § 1983 suit, is to “identify the specific constitutional right” at issue. Manuel v. City of Joliet, Ill., 137 S.Ct. 911, 920 (2017) (quoting Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994)). Constitutional claims are to be addressed under the most applicable provision. See Conyers v. Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 586 (7th Cir. 2005). After pinpointing that right, courts still must determine the elements of, and rules associated with, an action seeking damages for its violation. Manuel, 137 S.Ct. at 920.

         Because the plaintiff is a pre-trial detainee, his claims are understood to be brought under the Fourteenth Amendment.

         Fourteenth Amendment ...


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