Racanelli v. Reische
MERIT REVIEW ORDER Entered by Judge Michael M. Mihm on 11/13/23. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED: 1. Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis 3 is GRANTED.2. Plaintiff's Motion to Request Counsel 4 is DENIED.3. Pursuant to its merit re view of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a plausible claim for relief arising under the Constitution or Laws of the United States.4. Plaintiff will be allowed one opportunity to file an am ended complaint if he believes he can state a claim for relief consistent with the rulings in this order. Plaintiff granted 30 days to amend. Failure to timely amend will result in dismissal of this action without prejudice for failure to state a claim. SEE FULL WRITTEN ORDER. (ANW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ROCK ISLAND DIVISION
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, presently detained at
Rushville Treatment and Detention Center, pursues a Fourteenth Amendment claim for
loss of property.
A. Motion to Request Counsel
The Court undertakes an initial two-part inquiry: (1) whether the plaintiff made
a reasonable attempt to obtain counsel or has been effectively precluded from doing so,
and, if so, (2) given the difficulty of the case, does the plaintiff appear competent to
litigate it himself. Pruitt v. Mote, 503 F.3d 647, 655 (7th Cir 2007).
Plaintiff has not made a showing of a reasonable attempt to secure counsel, nor
that he has been precluded from making such an attempt. Plaintiffs normally make this
showing by filing copies of letters sent to several attorneys seeking assistance regarding
the specific legal problem at issue in the lawsuit, along with copies of the responses they
received from the attorneys they contacted. Plaintiff states he wrote to several attorneys
seeking assistance and has not heard back, though he does not attach a copy of the letter
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he sent, nor does he say who he sent it to. And the complained-of incident only
occurred a few weeks ago; Plaintiff must allow a reasonable response time before
concluding his requests have been rejected. Motion denied. Plaintiff may renew his
motion if he can show a reasonable attempt to secure counsel on his own.
B. Merit Review Order
The case is before the Court for a merit review of Plaintiff’s complaint. The Court
must “screen” Plaintiff’s complaint, and through such process identify and dismiss any
legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. A claim is
legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id.
The Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the
plaintiff’s favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). Conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient—the facts alleged must “state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. United States, 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)
On October 13 and 17, 2023, staff at Rushville searched Plaintiff’s room. Property
was seized. On October 25, Plaintiff was called to the property area of the facility.
Plaintiff says his property was damaged but does not say how it was damaged, Plaintiff
elsewhere alleges that his property was but “possibly damaged.” Defendant told
Plaintiff that he could have back all his property except for his three-speaker audio
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player, because facility rules ban possession of systems with more than two speakers.
Plaintiff asserts he should be allowed three speakers under a “grandfather clause.”
“[A] prisoner is not deprived of a property interest when he is able to send the
property to a destination of his choice.” Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 638 (7th Cir.
2012). A detainee must allege “an actual deprivation of his property,” as opposed to not
being able to possess certain property. Id.
To the extent Plaintiff contends that Defendant violated the facility’s rules as
related to grandfathered property, even if that is true it does not amount to a violation
of the United States Constitution, since departmental rules do not create constitutional
protections. Thompson v. City of Chicago, 472 F.3d 444, 453-55 (7th cir. 2006).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis  is GRANTED.
2. Plaintiff's Motion to Request Counsel  is DENIED.
3. Pursuant to its merit review of the Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to state a plausible claim for relief
arising under the Constitution or Laws of the United States.
4. Plaintiff will be allowed one opportunity to file an amended complaint if
he believes he can state a claim for relief consistent with the rulings in this
order. Plaintiff granted 30 days to amend. Failure to timely amend will
result in dismissal of this action without prejudice for failure to state a
Entered this 13th day of November, 2023.
s/Michael M. Mihm
MICHAEL M. MIHM
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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