United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ADELMAN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Djuan Dontize Le Bourgeois is a pro se prisoner at
Waupun Correctional Institution. He filed a complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants violated his
First, Fourth, Fourteenth, and Fifth Amendment rights when
they searched his cell, seized his property including a
religious book, and destroyed it in retaliation for his not
incriminating himself. (Docket No. 1.) The plaintiff also
filed a motion to proceed without prepayment of the filing
fee (in forma pauperis). (Docket No. 2.) This order
resolves plaintiff's motion and screens his complaint.
has been assessed and paid an initial partial filing fee of
$6.93. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Therefore, I
will grant his motion to proceed without prepayment of the
to plaintiff's complaint, I am required to screen
complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). I must dismiss a complaint
or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are
legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, plaintiff is required to provide a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to
relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not necessary
for plaintiff to plead specific facts and his statement need
only “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . .
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
However, a complaint that offers mere “labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, “that is plausible on its face.”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when  plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that  defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citation omitted).
considering whether a complaint states a claim, I follow the
principles set forth in Twombly by, first,
“identifying pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Legal
conclusions must be supported by factual allegations.
Id. If there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
the court must, second, “assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.” Id.
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and
2) the deprivation was caused by defendants acting under the
color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. County of
Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing
Kramer v. Village of North Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d
856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo,
446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). I am obliged to give
plaintiff's pro se allegations, “however
inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
alleges the following facts. On June 5, 2015, he and his
cellmate were placed in a holding cell by defendants Sergeant
Price and Institutional Correctional Officer Wolf while Price
and Wolf searched their cell. After the search, plaintiff and
his cellmate were called to the “front” to talk
with Price and Wolf. Docket No. 1 ¶ 10. When they
arrived, they saw several items that had been taken from
their cell including the following that belonged to
plaintiff: magazines, two books (one of which was a religious
book), a fan, a foot tub, a mirror, hobby supplies, two boxes
of sugar, and a pair of headphones.
and Wolf began questioning plaintiff and his cellmate about
whether they were making “Hooch.” Docket No. 1
¶ 12. Specifically, Price asked plaintiff about a
ziplock bag found in plaintiff's snack bag that contained
dough. Plaintiff stated that he had never seen the ziplock
bag of dough before. Price then stated,
Just admit that you were going to make hooch. I can't
write you a major conduct report, because you don't have
any hooch, even if you admit it. But I can write you a minor
and make it look like you were trying to make hooch. But if
you tell me you were, I won't write you a conduct report
at all. And even if you do tell me you were, I still cannot
write you a conduct report, because there is no one to verify
Docket No. 1 ¶ 17. Plaintiff denied the accusation.
questioned plaintiff and his cellmate about the property on
the table. Plaintiff stated which items were his. Only
plaintiff's mirror was returned to him without its
scratch resistant covering. Price told plaintiff that
“he could not prove [plaintiff] was making hooch, but
that he could make it look like it, and unless  plaintiff
was willing to comply with his wishes and just admit to
manufacturing hooch, [Price] would hereby destroy 
plaintiff's property.” Docket No. 1 ¶ 22.
Plaintiff did not comply.
requested a property slip from Price for the items that had
been seized from his cell. Price denied the request.
resumed questioning plaintiff about the items. Wolf
insinuated that both plaintiff and his cellmate were making
hooch. Wolf told plaintiff that plaintiff had to either admit
to making hooch or plaintiff would receive a conduct report.
Plaintiff denied the allegation. Wolf then stated,
“I'm going to make it look like you were making
hooch.” Docket No. 1 ¶ 43. Plaintiff and his
cellmate were sent back to their cell.
6, 2015, right before dinner, plaintiff again asked Price for
a property slip for his items. Price responded no.
in route to the “chow hall, ” plaintiff saw
defendant Lieutenant Larson and asked what was going on with
his property. Docket No. 1 ¶ 47. Larson informed
plaintiff that he would talk with Price about it.
when plaintiff saw Larson again, Larson said he has spoken to
Price. He stated that plaintiff would have to tell Price what
he wanted to hear. Otherwise, plaintiff would get a conduct
report, Larson would find him guilty, and Larson would
destroy plaintiff's property.
plaintiff saw Price later that day, Price asked plaintiff if
there was something plaintiff wanted to tell him. ...