Jackson v. Indiana Department of Corrections et al
OPINION AND ORDER re 1 Pro Se Complaint: Court DIRECTS the clerk to place this cause number on a blank Prisoner Complaint 42 U.S.C. § 1983 form and send it to Joshua Casmir Jackson; Court GRANTS him until 1/14/2016 to file an amended com plaint and CAUTIONS him that if he does not respond by that deadline, this case will be dismissed without further notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current complaint does not state a claim. Signed by Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 12/21/15. cc: Jackson with 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 as set forth in order(mc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
HAMMOND DIVISION AT LAFAYETTE
JOSHUA CASMIR JACKSON,
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al.,
Case No. 4:15-CV-106 JD
OPINION AND ORDER
Joshua Casmir Jackson, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint alleging that Officer
Cunningham hit him in the face on May 25, 2015, at the Miami Correctional Facility. “A document
filed pro se 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.
Jackson alleges that Officer Cunningham became upset while searching his cell. Jackson
explains that after Officer Cunningham confiscated his pillow, he asked for a replacement pillow
and a confiscation slip. “Officer Cunningham then thrust the pillow in my face with malicious intent
to were [sic] my head jerk back. (We both was positively sure and judge that it was heavy.)” DE 1
The “core requirement” for an excessive force claim is that the defendant “used force not in
a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, but maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.”
Hendrickson v. Cooper, 589 F.3d 887, 890 (7th Cir. 2009) (internal citation omitted). “[T]he
question whether the measure taken inflicted unnecessary and wanton pain and suffering ultimately
turns on whether force was applied in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline or
maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312,
320-21 (1986) (quotation marks and citation omitted). Nevertheless, “
Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a
judge’s chambers, violates a prisoner’s constitutional rights. The Eighth
Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments necessarily excludes
from constitutional recognition de minimis uses of physical force, provided that the
use of force is not of a sort repugnant to the conscience of mankind.
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9-10 (1992) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
Though Jackson alleges that Officer Cunningham acted maliciously, that the pillow was
heavy, and that his head “jerked” back, he makes no mention as to any physical injury that he
suffered. Though hitting him in the face with a pillow would not be justified under the circumstances
he describes, neither is it repugnant to the conscience of mankind. These factual allegations do not
plausibly allege more than a de minimis use of force and a de minimis injury. As such, this complaint
does not state a claim.
Nevertheless, there may be facts about how he was hit and the injury he suffered which were
not included in this complaint. If so, then Jackson may file an amended complaint. See Luevano v.
Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014 (7th Cir. 2013). If he files an amended complaint, he needs to explain why
this was more than a de minimis event, what injury he suffered, and what medical care he received.
For these reasons, the court:
(1) DIRECTS the clerk to place this cause number on a blank Prisoner Complaint 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 form and send it to Joshua Casmir Jackson;
(2) GRANTS Joshua Casmir Jackson until January 14, 2016, to file an amended complaint;
(3) CAUTIONS Joshua Casmir Jackson that if he does not respond by that deadline, this
case will be dismissed without further notice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because the current
complaint does not state a claim.
ENTERED: December 21, 2015
/s/ JON E. DEGUILIO
United States District Court
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