Foster v. Nelson, et al.
MEMORANDUM OPINION re 6 Order Dismissing Case. Signed by W. Allen Pepper on 9/22/2010. (pls, USDC)
Foster v. Nelson, et al.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI GREENVILLE DIVISION ANTON FOSTER (# 103428) v. LT. LOLA NELSON MEMORANDUM OPINION This matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner complaint of Anton Foster, who challenges the conditions of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. Foster alleges that was he improperly found guilty of a rule violation, which was later dismissed during administrative appeal, but he was nonetheless placed in more restrictive custody based upon the rule violation. For the reasons set forth below, the instant case shall be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Factual Allegations On March 17, 2010, the plaintiff was placed in segregation for allegedly passing contraband from one cell to another. The plaintiff was found guilty of the violation at a disciplinary hearing and placed in administrative segregation. He appealed that decision and won, but he remains in administrative segregation under the objective classification system adopted by the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He believes that if prison officials would recalculate his housing classification without the March 17, 2010, rule violation, that he would be reclassified and moved back into the general prison population. PLAINTIFF No. 4:10CV107-P-D DEFENDANTS
Sandin In view of the Supreme Court's decision in Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 115 S. Ct. 2293, 132 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1995), the court concludes that the plaintiff has failed to set forth a claim which implicates the Due Process Clause or any other constitutional protection. As the Court noted, "States may under certain circumstances create liberty interests which are protected by the Due Process Clause [, but] these interests will be generally limited to freedom from restraint which, while not exceeding the sentence in such an unexpected manner as to give rise to protection by the Due Process Clause of its own force . . . nonetheless imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life." Id. 115 S. Ct. at 2300 (citations omitted). In the Sandin case, the discipline administered the prisoner was confinement in isolation. Because this discipline fell "within the expected parameters of the sentence imposed by a court of law," id. at 2301, and "did not present the type of atypical, significant deprivation in which a State might conceivably create a liberty interest," id., the Court held that neither the Due Process Clause itself nor State law or regulations afforded a protected liberty interest that would entitle the prisoner to the procedural protections set forth by the Court in Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 41 L. Ed. 2d 935 (1974). See also Malchi v. Thaler, 211 F.3d 953, 958 (5thn Cir. 2000) (holding prisoner's thirty-day loss of commissary privileges and cell restriction due to disciplinary action failed to give rise to due process claim). In this case, the plaintiff's discipline, placement in segregation, fell "within the expected parameters of the sentence imposed by a court of law," id. at 2301, and "did not present the type of atypical, significant deprivation in which a State might conceivably create a liberty interest." Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 115 S. Ct. 2293, 132 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1995). For this reason, the
plaintiff's claim does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation and must be dismissed. A final judgment consistent with this memorandum opinion shall issue today. SO ORDERED, this the 22nd day of September, 2010. /s/ W. Allen Pepper, Jr. W. ALLEN PEPPER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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