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Joyner v. Fleming

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

May 7, 2018

KENNETH BRIAN JOYNER, Plaintiff,
v.
LESLIE J. FLEMING, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Michael F. Urbanski Chief United States District Judge.

         Kenneth Brian Joyner, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming numerous staff of the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") and the Wallens Ridge State Prison ("WRSP") as defendants. Plaintiff alleges that his assignment to special housing and the confiscation of his property violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, and Plaintiff responded, making this matter ripe for disposition.[1] After reviewing the record, the court grants Defendants' motion and directs them to file another motion for summary judgment addressing additional claims.

         I.

         A.

         Pursuant to VDOC Operating Procedure ("OP") 861.3, "Special Housing, " an inmate may not be held in pre-hearing segregation for longer than three working days without a formal review by the Institutional Classification Authority ("ICA"). OP 861.3 also requires the ICA to review the appropriateness of pre-hearing segregation no later than fifteen days thereafter. OP 861.3 further requires the ICA to review the inmate's adjustment and behavior every ninety days and recommend whether the inmate should remain in segregation.

         On November 26, 2014, defendant Sigmon charged Plaintiff with "Lewd or Obscene Acts Directed Toward or in the Presence of Another" for masturbating in her presence. Plaintiff was transferred to pre-hearing segregation that same day. On December 2, 2014, which was the next business day, the ICA reviewed Plaintiffs housing status and recommended he stay in pre-hearing segregation.[2]

         Sixteen days later on December 18, 2014, a DHO deemed Plaintiff guilty of "Lewd or Obscene Acts" and fined him $12.00.[3] The ICA convened that same day and had Plaintiff assigned to administrative segregation.

         The ICA reviewed Plaintiff again on February 27, 2015, which was within ninety days of the last ICA hearing. The ICA recommended that Plaintiff stay in segregation for a longer period of stable adjustment.

         The ICA reconvened on June 3, 2015, which was six days past the ninety-day period. The ICA recommended that Plaintiff be released to a general population unit if space was available. Plaintiff moved out of segregation on June 5, 2015.

         B.

         At the time Plaintiff received the charge for "Lewd or Obscene Acts, " he had been assigned to WRSP's Grooming Standard Violator Housing Unit ("VHU"). The VHU's controlling procedure, OP 864.2, requires that any VHU inmate who is found guilty of a "Lewd or Obscene Acts" charge be removed from the VHU and placed in segregation until such time he qualified for admittance into general population or readmittance into the VHU.

         After Plaintiff was transferred to prehearing segregation, staff had to inventory and pack Plaintiffs personal property left in the cell. Collins, Turner, and Sigmon were sorting Plaintiffs property when they found artwork that appeared to be gang related. Sigmon confiscated the artwork as contraband, and the artwork's disposition or location is unknown.

         Before being housed in segregation, Plaintiff had ordered a holiday food package, known as a "Secure Pak." Unfortunately for Plaintiff, it arrived after he was already in segregation, and a Secure Pak is not permitted inside a segregation cell. Because the contents of the Secure Park were deemed perishable, staff informed Plaintiff that he had to make arrangements within thirty days to mail it or have someone retrieve it ...


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