United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
ROBERT L. COLLINS BEY, Plaintiff,
TONEY ASHWORTH, CAPTAIN TRATTELS, TIM DOUMA, and MICHAEL MEISNER, Defendants.
D. Peterson District Judge.
Robert L. Collins Bey, appearing pro se, is an inmate at the
Wisconsin Secure Program Facility. He alleges that prison
officials violated his constitutional right to due process in
a conduct-report proceeding that led to him being placed in
segregation for a year. He contended that there were numerous
procedural problems with the conduct-report proceedings, such
as not being given enough time to prepare, not being allowed
to have his witnesses attend the hearing, and being convicted
on insufficient evidence.
screened Collins Bey's complaint and dismissed most of
his due process claims because the Due Process Clause
requires only that he receive “‘informal,
nonadversarial due process.'” Dkt. 14, at 2-3
(quoting Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 684 (7th
Cir. 2012)). Between the initial screening order and an order
granting Collins Bey reconsideration of that order, I allowed
him to proceed on claims against Toney Ashworth and Captain
Trattels for failing to act as neutral decisionmakers, and
against defendant reviewers Tim Douma and Michael Meisner for
failing to intervene after being alerted about Ashworth and
Trattels's bias. See Dkt. 14 and Dkt. 16.
Collins Bey continued to press additional claims, but I told
him that his current allegations supported only the claims
against Ashworth, Trattels, Douma, and Meisner; he would have
to file an amended complaint if he wanted to bring additional
claims. Dkt. 23, at 2.
Bey has now submitted a proposed amended complaint. Dkt. 24.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2), I
“should freely give [a plaintiff] leave [to amend] when
justice so requires.” But because Collins Bey's
proposed amended complaint does not state any new claims for
relief, I will deny him leave to amend. Collins Bey does not
directly explain what he has changed in the new complaint; I
identify the following changes below.
Bey now says that in addition to being sentenced to
segregation status for about a year, his placement in
segregation caused him to lose the ability to earn good-time
credits. I take him to be saying that this loss of the
potential to accrue good-time credit means that he was
entitled to more extensive due process protections than those
discussed in Westefer, and therefore he should be
allowed to proceed on additional due process claims about the
various ways that officials failed to follow state procedures
in his disciplinary process. But this court has previously
held that prisoners are not deprived of a liberty interest
when they lose the ability to earn good-time credits because
of a segregation placement. Wheeler v. Dep't of
Corr., No. 03-cv-576-bbc, 2003 WL 23100288, at *5 (W.D.
Wis. Nov. 14, 2003) (citing Higgason v. Farley, 83
F.3d 807, 809-10 (7th Cir. 1996) (denying inmate access to
educational program for which he would be eligible for
good-time credits did not infringe liberty interest)).
Because there is no liberty interest associated with the loss
of the ability to earn good-time credits-as opposed to the
elimination of good time already earned-Collins Bey's
claims are still limited to claims about deprivations of the
informal process guaranteed by Westefer.
Bey attempts to bring a claim against defendant Mary Leiser
for acting against his interest as his staff advocate, going
so far as to say that he was guilty at the hearing. But due
process does not require prison officials to appoint a lay
advocate to assist inmates during disciplinary hearings
unless the inmate is illiterate or where the complexity of
the issues makes it nearly impossible for the inmate to
respond to the charges on his own. Wilson-El v.
Finnan, 263 Fed.Appx. 503, 506 (7th Cir. 2008)). Collins
Bey does not allege that this is the case, so he has no claim
against Leiser regardless of her effectiveness as an
Bey attempts to bring claims against all of the defendants
for working together against him. He says that defendant
prison officials have “initiated and carried out a
campaign of retaliatory actions” against him because in
1982 he was convicted of killing two police officers. Dkt.
24, at 5. He says that he is innocent of those crimes, but
that DOC officials have labeled him as a “cop
killer” and have singled him out for harassment ever
since. But with the exception of defendant Douma-against whom
he has already stated a claim-Collins Bey does not allege
what each defendant did to participate in this
“campaign, ” or how he knows that each of the
defendants took an adverse action against him for the purpose
of retaliating against him. Conspiracy claims must be pleaded
with specificity and cannot rest on vague, ill-defined
allegations. See Ryan v. Mary Immaculate Queen Ctr.,
188 F.3d 857, 860 (7th Cir. 1999). Without allegations tying
each defendants' conduct together as part of an
overarching scheme, his claims against each defendant is
limited to that defendant's direct conduct. As discussed
in my previous orders, most of defendants' alleged
misconduct in the disciplinary process does not support a due
process claim because of the limited due process protections
he is afforded under Westefer.
fact that Collins Bey calls defendants' actions
retaliatory does not change this. His allegations do not
support any First Amendment retaliation claims because he
does not allege that defendants harmed him because of his
protected speech; he says that they treated him poorly
because of the nature of his conviction.
ORDERED that plaintiff Robert L. Collins Bey's motion for
leave to amend ...