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Baldwin v. Clarke

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

February 14, 2017



          WILLIAM E. DUFFIN U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Scottie Baldwin is proceeding on First and Fourteenth Amendment claims that the Milwaukee County Jail policy not allowing minor children to visit inmates violated his constitutional rights. This matter is before the court on the parties' motions for summary judgment, as well as several other motions filed by Baldwin.

         I. Undisputed Facts

         Prior to December 21, 2001, visitations at the Milwaukee County Jail (the “Jail”) took place on the floors on which individuals who were incarcerated were housed. All visits were “non-contact” visits. The visitor would be on one side of a glass partition wall and the person incarcerated at the Jail would be on the other side. Visitors under the age of 18 were permitted to participate in the visitation as long as they were accompanied by an adult age 21 or older.

         On December 6, 2001, an individual who had been convicted of first degree reckless homicide escaped from the Jail during a visitation. Apparently the glass partition “was no longer intact” and the inmate left disguised as a woman. There is no evidence that a minor had been present for the visitation.

         In response to this incident, the Jail modified its visitation policy in a number of different ways effective December 21, 2001. One of the modifications was that persons under the age of 18 were no longer allowed to participate in visits with individuals incarcerated at the Jail. Several reasons were offered for the no-minors visitation policy. First, there would be fewer visitors for Jail staff to search and monitor during visitation times. Second, some adults who accompanied minors failed to keep a close eye on them, requiring Jail staff to have to monitor them rather than keep an eye on the inmates. Third, it eliminated the risk that minors would be present in the event a dangerous situation developed similar to the escape.

         Beginning sometime in 2004 all visits at the Jail took place “in a video visit format.” Visitors would come to the lobby of the Jail and check in with Jail personnel. They would then be provided access to a video visiting booth located on the lobby level of the Jail. The inmate would go to a video visiting booth on the level of the Jail on which he or she was incarcerated. Thus, the visitor and the individual incarcerated at the Jail would not be on the same floor during visits. Notwithstanding this change in the manner in which visits took place, there was no modification to the policy prohibiting minors from participating in jail visits.

         In 2013 Baldwin was a state prisoner housed at Waupun Correctional Institution (Waupun). Baldwin has a son with Rosalie Zabala named Romel Baldwin. Romel visited Baldwin fifteen to twenty times at Waupun and, during the fall of 2013, Baldwin talked to Romel on the telephone approximately twice a month.

         On September 26, 2013, Baldwin was transferred to the Jail to participate in proceedings in his criminal case; he remained at the Jail until September 30, 2013. Zabala called the Jail on September 28, 2013, to schedule a visit with Baldwin. She was told she could not bring Romel along to visit because he was under eighteen years of age (he was six years old at the time). As a result, Baldwin did not get to see Romel while he was at the Jail.

         Upon returning to Waupon, on October 1, 2013, Baldwin wrote a grievance to Inspector Bailey at the Jail, complaining that his son was not allowed to visit him while at the Jail due to the Jail policy. Baldwin wrote a similar letter to defendant Sheriff David Clarke. Bailey responded to Baldwin's correspondence with a letter stating: “Waupun Correctional, a state post-conviction detention facility, differs from the Milwaukee County Jail, a pre-trial detention facility. Children under 18 years of age are not permitted inmate visits at the Milwaukee County Jail.” (ECF No. 128-2 at 2.)

         Between 2002 and 2013 the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) performed an annual inspection of the Jail and authored an annual report about the Jail. In the annual reports the DOC never required or recommended that the Jail change or modify its visitation policy or procedures.

         In October 2014 the Jail further modified its video visitation system to allow individuals at off-site (even out of state) locations to participate in a video visit with persons incarcerated at the Jail. Under this new policy children under the age of 18 were allowed to participate in off-site video visitations with inmates at the Jail. Remote video visitations began in November 2014. It is unclear from the party's submissions whether the Jail's policy for minors participating in video visits taking place at the Jail has changed since permitting minors to participate in the off-site video visits.

         II. Procedural Background and Baldwin's Non-Dispositive Motions

         On March 7, 2016, the court entered an order providing a deadline for Baldwin's deposition and allowing the parties to file renewed motions for summary judgment within sixty days of Baldwin's deposition. Baldwin filed a motion for summary judgment on April 18, 2016, and on May 18, 2016, the defendants filed their own motion for summary judgment along with their response to Baldwin's motion for summary judgment. Baldwin then filed (a) a motion for extension of time to respond to the defendants' motion for summary judgment and (b) a motion to supplement his motion for summary judgment. The court granted both motions.

         On June 10, 2016, Baldwin filed a motion asking the court to take judicial notice under Federal Rule of Evidence 201 of various pleadings on the docket because he wanted to show that the defendants' arguments were inconsistent. But there is no need for the court to take judicial notice of documents that have been filed in this case; those documents are already part of the record. Thus, this motion is unnecessary and will be denied.

         On June 24, 2016, Baldwin filed a motion asking for a 120-day extension of time to pay the remainder of the sanctions he owed the defendants for his earlier failure to fully participate in his deposition. The court will grant this motion and direct Baldwin to pay the remainder of ...

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