United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DEBRADRE D. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
SCOTT SLOME, JEREMIAH CURTIS, AND KIMBERLY GRABA, Defendants.
AND ORDER DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 39), DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO
EXCLUDE THE DECLARATION OF JACKIE K. RIGHTER (DKT. NO. 42),
DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS (DKT. NO. 51),
GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT.
NO. 28), AND DISMISSING CASE
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
DeBradre Jackson, a Wisconsin state prisoner who is
representing himself, filed a case under 42 U.S.C §1983,
alleging that the defendants violated his civil rights at the
Racine Correctional Institution. Dkt. No. 1. The court
screened the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §1915A, and
allowed the plaintiff to proceed with three claims: (1) a
First Amendment retaliation claim against Scott Slome and
Kimberly Graba; (2) a failure-to-intervene claim against
Jeremiah Curtis and Thomas Wiegand; and (3) a state-law
defamation claim against Scott Slome. Dkt. No. 10. The court
did not allow the plaintiff to proceed against Graba for
failure to make copies for him or for defamation, did not
allow him to proceed against various defendants on theories
of supervisory liability or due process, did not allow him to
proceed on a class of one equal protection claim, and did not
allow him to proceed on his denial-of-access-to-courts claim.
March 14, 2016, the court issued a scheduling order. Dkt. No.
16. Less than a week later, on March 18, 2016, the plaintiff
filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court denied
without prejudice. Dkt. Nos. 19, 25. The defendants timely
filed their motion for summary judgment on July 15, 2016,
dkt. no. 28; the plaintiff filed his second motion for
summary judgment on July 18, 2016, dkt. no. 39; and the
plaintiff filed a motion to exclude the declaration of Jackie
K. Righter on August 15, 2016, dkt. no. 42. Two months later,
the plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions, dkt. no. 51, and
he voluntarily dismissed his failure-to-intervene claim
against Thomas Wiegand two months after that, dkt. no. 52.
This decision and order resolves the pending motions, and
dismisses the case.
court takes facts from the “Defendants Proposed
Findings of Fact, ” Dkt. No. 33, and the
“Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Response to
Defendants' Proposed Findings of Facts, ” Dkt. No.
50. Where the plaintiff objected to the defendants'
proposed findings of fact without citing evidentiary
material, the court deems those facts admitted for the
purpose of deciding summary judgment. Civ. L. R. 56(b)(4).
The court takes additional facts from the plaintiff's
“Statement of Undisputed Facts, ” Dkt. No. 41,
the plaintiff's sworn declaration, Dkt. No. 45, and his
sworn complaint, Dkt. No. 1, which, at the summary judgment
stage, the court construes as an affidavit. Ford v.
Wilson, 90 F.3d 245, 246-47 (7th Cir. 1996).
time of the events in the complaint, the plaintiff was an
inmate at Racine Correctional Institution
(“RCI”). Dkt. No. 33, ¶ 1. The defendants
were employees at RCI: Kimberly Graba was a librarian
(id., ¶ 2); Jeremiah Curtis was a Lieutenant
(id., ¶ 3); Thomas Wiegand was a Captain
(id., ¶ 4); and Scott Slome was a Correctional
Sergeant (id., ¶ 5).
The Plaintiff's Allegations
March 4, 2015, the plaintiff went to the prison library and
asked Graba to notarize a document entitled “Affidavit
of Sovereign Status.” Id., ¶ 12. After
looking at the document, Graba (who was the librarian) called
the security office, because she suspected that the
“sovereign citizenship movement” was a
“security threat group” whose documents were
“contraband” at the prison. Id.,
¶¶ 13-14. Graba spoke with Lieutenant Ziem (not a
defendant in the case), and Ziem told her to confiscate the
document, submit it to the security department as contraband,
and file an incident report stating what happened.
Id., ¶ 14.
went back to the library and told the plaintiff that she was
taking the document from him. Id., ¶15. She
then asked the plaintiff to show her the other two documents
that he had brought with him for notarization. Id.,
¶16. The two other documents were identical to the first
document, and were entitled “Affidavit of Sovereign
Status.” Id., ¶17. Graba took all three
documents from the plaintiff and completed an incident
report. Id., ¶¶18-20, 24. She gave the
documents to the security staff, and had no further
involvement with the plaintiff's claims. Id.,
March 6, 2015, prison staff forwarded all three documents to
Slome for review. Id., ¶ 27-29. Slome reviewed
the documents and concluded that the layouts (allegedly in
affidavit form), along with the plaintiff's name on the
documents, were consistent with the how individuals usually
declare their status as “sovereign citizens.”
Id., ¶ 30. As a result, Slome issued Conduct
Report #2641802 for “group resistance and petitions,
” “enterprise and fraud, ” and
“possession of contraband, ” stating that he
believed that the plaintiff was beginning the process of
renouncing his United States citizenship. Id.,
¶¶ 36, 52. Wiegand (who no longer is a defendant in
the case) delivered a copy of the conduct report, along with
other documents, to the plaintiff on March 11, 2015.
unknown date after March 11, 2015, a hearing officer
dismissed Conduct Report #2641802 based on “charges not
supported.” Dkt. No. 41 at 2, ¶8. On March 23,
2015, Wiegand returned the confiscated documents to the
plaintiff. Id.; Dkt. No 43 at 3.
another unknown date before March 26, 2015, the plaintiff
moved to Walworth Unit. Dkt. No. 33, ¶ 55. On March 26,
2015, Slome conducted a search of the plaintiff's cell.
Id., ¶¶ 54-55. According to Slome,
whenever an inmate moves to Walworth Unit, he conducts a
“random” cell search within the first couple days
to prevent introduction of contraband into the unit. Dkt. No.
38, ¶ 42. According to the plaintiff, Slome conducted
the cell search in “retaliation” for Conduct
Report #2641802, which the hearing officer had dismissed.
Dkt. No. 45, ¶ 15.
the cell search, Slome found various papers associated with
the sovereign citizen movement. Dkt. No. 50, ¶ 58. Slome
found one document that appeared to be a contract in which
the state was “principal, ” the plaintiff was
“executor, ” and the contract “insure[d]
the Executor as surety binding together jointly on BID BOND
in sum of $500, 000 a year.” Id., ¶ 59.
Slome found a letter from the Office of Corporation Counsel
of Milwaukee County sent to the plaintiff in response to the
“UCC Financing Statement and UCC Financing Statement
and Amendment Addendum” that the plaintiff had filed
with Register of Deeds. Id., ¶ 60. The letter
stated that the plaintiff may be subject to civil and felony
“slander of title” charges if he continued to
make frivolous filings with the Register of Deeds.
Id., ¶ 101. Slome found a form labeled IRS
W-6BEN that typically is used by non-U.S. citizens to claim a
reduced tax rate/exemption. Id., ¶ 64. Finally,
Slome also found other documents used by sovereign citizens,
such as financial chargeback paper work, court bonds,
security bonds, etc. Id., ¶ 65. In total, Slome
confiscated 111 pages of documents from the plaintiff's
cell. Dkt. No. 46 at 4.
completed a “confiscation report” and gave it to
the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 33, ¶ 69. The plaintiff then
stated, “You don't know anything about sovereigns
if that's all you took.” Id. Slome then
issued Conduct Report #2647851 for “group resistance
and petitions” and “unauthorized use of
mail.” Id., ¶ 70. After he issued the
conduct report, Slome had no further involvement with the
plaintiff's claims. Id., ¶ 78.
conducted a review of the conduct report, and concluded that
the allegations created “a risk of serious disruption
at the institution or in the community.” Id.,
¶ 81. The next day, Curtis placed the plaintiff in
Temporary Lock-Up (“TLU”) pending investigation
into Conduct Report #2647851. Id., ¶ 79.
plaintiff stated to Curtis at that time that he felt that he
was being harassed by staff about his “legal work,
” and that the cell search and conduct report were
issued in retaliation for the first conduct report that the
hearing officer had dismissed. Id., ¶ 85.
Curtis told the plaintiff that he was not aware of any
previous conduct report and explained that the plaintiff was
currently in TLU because of the material Slome found in his
cell. Id., ¶ 86. Curtis also informed the
plaintiff that he could explain his side of the story at the
conduct report hearing. Id., ¶87. Wiegand
delivered a copy of the conduct report, along with other
documents, to the plaintiff on March 31, 2015. Id.,
¶ 90. Curtis and Wiegand had no further involvement
regarding the plaintiff's claims. Id.,
¶¶ 89, 97.
April 1, 2015, a hearing officer held a disciplinary hearing
for Conduct Report #2647851 and concluded that the plaintiff
was “guilty of violating § 303.24, ” and
that he had possessed documents and papers “consistent
with the Sovereign Citizen Movement.” Id.,
¶ 91. As a result, the hearing officer found the
plaintiff guilty of “group resistance and
petitions” and sentenced the plaintiff to 30 days in
disciplinary segregation. Dkt. No. 1 at 6.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together
with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c);
Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668
(7th Cir. 2011). The movant bears the burden of establishing
that there are no genuine issues of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
If the movant meets this burden, the non-movant must
designate specific facts that establish that there is a
genuine triable fact. ...