United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. UNDERHILL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Johnson (“Johnson”), currently confined at
MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield,
Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 challenging a disciplinary proceeding and
his classification. The named defendants are Lieutenant King,
Correctional Officer Harris, Correctional Officer Tardif,
Lieutenant Papoosha, Edward Maldonado, Warden Feliciano,
Warden W. Mulligan, Captain John Doe, Director Santiago,
Commissioner Scott Semple, Captain Walsh, and C.S. Stanley.
Johnson seeks damages as well as declaratory and injunctive
relief. The complaint was received on August 31, 2018, and
Johnson's motion to proceed in forma pauperis
was granted on September 10, 2018.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review prisoner civil
complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is
frivolous or malicious, that fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Although detailed allegations are not required,
the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the
defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based, and must demonstrate a plausible right
to relief. Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555-56 (2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “[p]ro se
complaints ‘must be construed liberally and interpreted
to raise the strongest arguments that they
suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d
399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau
of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see
also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir.
2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro
November 18, 2016, Johnson was admitted to Bridgeport
Correctional Center (“Bridgeport”) as a pretrial
detainee. ECF No. 1 at 6, ¶¶ 2-3. He remained in
general population at Bridgeport until January 23, 2017, when
defendant Papoosha placed him in segregation on
administrative detention status pending investigation into
disciplinary charges. Id. at 6-7, ¶¶ 4-8.
On January 25, 2017, Johnson received a disciplinary report,
signed by defendants Papoosha and Tardif, charging him with
Security Risk Group Affiliation. Id. at 7,
¶¶ 12-13 & Ex. 1.
time since his admission, did Johnson provide acknowledgement
that correctional staff could listen to and record his
personal calls or read his personal correspondence.
Id. at 8, ¶ 14. The disciplinary report did not
list any witnesses or describe any physical evidence, which
prevented Johnson from preparing a defense. Id.,
¶¶ 15-16. The report did not cite the language that
was considered a gang identifier, describe the letters or
item found during the shakedown of Johnson's cell, or
indicate the date of the offense. Id. at 9,
pleaded not guilty to the charge, declined services of an
advocate, requested certain inmate witnesses, and requested a
copy of all evidence against him. Id. at 10,
¶¶ 23-24. Disciplinary investigator Harris made no
record of Johnson's requests, did not interview
Johnson's witnesses and did not arrange for the witnesses
to appear at the disciplinary hearing. Id.,
¶¶ 25-26. Instead, defendant Harris arranged for
the hearing to take place beyond the required timeframe, at a
time when the witnesses were not available, and failed to
provide Johnson the required notice of the date and time of
the hearing. Id. at 10-11, ¶¶ 27-29.
Officer Lieutenant King denied Johnson a copy of the evidence
and denied his requests for witnesses. Id. at 11-12,
¶¶ 31-32. She rejected his argument that the charge
was overly broad and vague. Id. at 12, ¶¶
33-35. Defendant King found Johnson guilty of the charge.
Id., ¶ 36. At no time during the hearing did
defendant King tell Johnson or provide him any notice that,
as a result of this disciplinary finding, he would be
designated a Security Risk Group (“SRG”) member.
Id. at 13, ¶¶ 39-40.
March 5, 2017, Johnson was transferred to MacDougall-Walker
Correctional Institution and placed on administrative
segregation status as a designated Security Risk Group
member. Id., ¶ 41. The conditions of
confinement were “quantitatively and qualitatively
different” from the conditions in general population.
Id. at 14, ¶ 42.
February 19, 2017, Johnson appealed the disciplinary finding
to Director Maldonado. Id., ¶ 45. The appeal
was denied on March 29, 2017, well beyond the period
permitted for decision of an appeal. Id. at 15,
March 17, 2017, Johnson posted bail and was released from
custody. Id., ¶ 50. He was re-arrested on
December 17, 2017, and admitted at New Haven Correctional
Center as a pretrial detainee. Id., ¶¶
51-52. In accordance with Department of Correction policy, he
was returned to segregation as a designated SRG member. He
was not provided notice or a hearing before the designation.
Id. at 15-16, ¶ 53. Defendants Feliciano,
Santiago, and Doe formally reassigned Johnson to segregation
as an SRG member on December 19, 2017, without notice or a
hearing. Id. at 16, ¶ 55. Defendants Semple,
Santiago, Walsh, Stanley, Mulligan, Feliciano, and Doe have
refused to afford Johnson notice and a hearing regarding his
re-assignment to segregation as an SRG member. Id.,
¶ 54. On December 29, 2017, Johnson was transferred back
to the Walker building at MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution. Id. at 16-17, ¶ 56.
asserts three claims in this action: (1) denial of procedural
due process in conjunction with the disciplinary hearing; (2)
classification as an SRG member without notice and a
classification hearing; and (3) return to SRG status upon
re-admission into custody without notice or a hearing.