United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Jimmy Baldwin is an inmate at Columbia Correctional
Institution. He brings this civil complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that defendants violated his rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment by extending his mandatory
release date and sentencing him to a year of segregation
based on allegations that he had been involved in a forgery
and escape plot. Baldwin contends that he was found guilty
based on insufficient evidence, which defendants did not give
him adequate opportunity to contest in the disciplinary
hearing. He also brings a separate claim for malicious
prosecution against Warren Dohms based on Dohm's
involvement in bringing later-dropped criminal charges
against Baldwin. Baldwin has made an initial partial payment
of the filing fee under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
next step is for me to screen his complaint and dismiss any
portion that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money
damages from a defendant who by law cannot be sued for money
damages. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A. Because
Baldwin is a pro se litigant, I must read his allegations
generously. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 521
(1972) (per curiam).
reviewing Baldwin's complaint with these principles in
mind, I conclude that that all but one of his claims are
barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87
(1994). His remaining claim for malicious prosecution must
also be dismissed because it does not amount to a
constitutional violation. Although his allegations might
state a state-law tort claim for malicious prosecution,
Baldwin does not meet the threshold requirements for
diversity jurisdiction. I will therefore dismiss
the following facts from Baldwin's complaint, Dkt. 1,
along with the documents he attaches, which may be considered
as part of the complaint itself. Int'l Mktg., Ltd. v.
Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., 192 F.3d 724, 729 (7th Cir.
1999). Although Baldwin is now incarcerated at CCI, the
incidents at issue in his complaint took place when he was
incarcerated at Stanley Correctional Institution (SCI) and
concern SCI staff.
November 24, 2009, an “amendment” to
Baldwin's judgment of conviction was executed. This
amendment reduced Baldwin's sentence from 73 years to 45
years. In December, defendant Sara Kiekhoefer, a social
worker at SCI, met with Baldwin to discuss this amended
judgment. Because Baldwin had served beyond the mandatory
release date on a 45-year sentence, he was now eligible for
early release subject to approval by the parole commission.
Baldwin told Kiekhoefer that he was confused, because he had
not litigated any sentence modification and was unaware of
anyone else having done so on his behalf. He asked Kiekhoefer
whether she was sure that they had the right “Baldwin,
” and Kiekhoefer indicated that the SCI records office
staff had done a thorough check.
December 7, Baldwin appeared before a parole commission
member, Defendant N. Carlson. Carlson questioned Baldwin
about the amended judgment. Baldwin indicated that it had
come as a surprise to him, and that he could only think it
was one of the “Christmas Early Release Reviews”
that had long been a subject of rumors among inmates. Carlson
recommended Baldwin for release. Ultimately, Baldwin was
released from SCI on January 19, 2010. While out on release,
Baldwin stayed in Milwaukee, made no attempt to flee the
area, and complied with the conditions of his parole.
January 26, 2010, defendant Warren Dohms, captain of security
at SCI, learned that the amended judgment of conviction was
not authentic. Baldwin was quickly apprehended and
reincarcerated. Over the course of two months, Dohms
investigated the matter. When a search of the Wisconsin court
records website revealed no record of any motion to amend
Baldwin's judgment of conviction, defendant C. Semanko,
the records supervisor at SCI, sent a scanned copy of the
suspect documents to the Milwaukee County clerk of courts.
June Simeth, the court staff responsible for amended
judgments, confirmed that the documents appeared to be a
“cut and paste job.” Dkt. 1, ¶ 19.
March 29, Baldwin received a conduct report accusing him of
escape and of counterfeiting and forgery, Dkt. 1-1, at 11,
and a form informing him of his “major disciplinary
hearing rights.” Id., at 15. That form
indicated that the hearing would be held no sooner than two
days after the date he received the conduct report and that
he would be allowed to present evidence, question adverse
witnesses, and request his own witnesses. Baldwin submitted a
form requesting four witnesses: Simeth; Dohms; a fellow
inmate (as a character witness); and an “unknown
writer” referred to in Dohms's conduct report. Dkt.
1-1, at 21. In his complaint, Baldwin says that the request
for the “unknown writer” referred to “the
Records Office Staff member” who “provided [Dohm]
with the Information that caused him to initially begin his
investigation (Defendant C. Semanko).” Dkt. 1, at 12.
Ultimately, Dohms and Semanko both testified at the hearing.
Baldwin's other witness requests were denied.
was also assigned a staff advocate, whom he asked to gather
two pieces of evidence that he says are exculpatory: First,
he asked for a written statement from Kiekhoefer attesting to
Baldwin's numerous requests for assurances whether she
was positive that the early release was legitimate. Second,
he asked for a copy of the parole hearing proceedings in
front of Carlson, which would demonstrate that Baldwin had
expressed surprise about the early release.
major disciplinary hearing took place on March 31, 2010, at
12:40 p.m. in front of defendants Buesgen and Sweeny. Baldwin
had received the March 29 conduct report at 4:30 p.m., so the
two full days promised in the “major disciplinary
hearing rights” form had not yet elapsed. And because
of the compressed timeframe, the staff advocate had not yet
had time to gather the evidence he requested.
outset of the hearing, Baldwin voiced objections to the lack
of two full days' notice, the denial of his requests for
witnesses, and the fact that his staff advocate had not yet
had time to gather his requested evidence. The hearing
committee ignored Baldwin's objections and did not note
them on the official hearing record. Baldwin submitted a
written statement in which he denied forging any documents
and complained that there had not been a full investigation.
Dkt. 1-1, at 22. Over Baldwin's objections, the hearing
committee members then had Baldwin placed in a holding cell
while they privately interviewed Semanko via telephone. When
they were done, they reconvened the hearing and found Baldwin
guilty of violating the institutional rules. The hearing
committee imposed a disposition of eight days of adjustment
segregation; 360 days of program segregation; and ten
days' denial of good behavior credit toward his mandatory
appealed the hearing committee's decision to the SCI
warden, but the warden affirmed the committee's guilt
finding. Baldwin then filed a grievance through the Inmate
Complaint Review System (ICRS), alleging procedural errors.
That grievance was dismissed. Baldwin then filed an
application for writ of certiorari in Dane County Circuit
Court, but the writ was ultimately quashed. He then appealed
it to the court of appeals, which ...