United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on review of a document filed by
pro se plaintiff Donnie Cook titled “Petition for Writ
of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 91.”
(Docket No. 1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court
has determined that this document is properly construed as a
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Accordingly, plaintiff will be given the opportunity, if he
so chooses, to file a complaint on a Court-provided form
setting forth his § 1983 claims. If plaintiff files a
civil rights complaint, he must also provide the Court with a
copy of his certified inmate account statement.
Plaintiff is an inmate at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic
and Correctional Center (ERDCC) in Bonne Terre, Missouri.
(Docket No. 1 at 1). He brings this action against defendant
Stanley Payne, who is the warden of ERDCC. The document is
styled as a “Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to Supreme
Court Rule 91.” Rule 91 refers to rules promulgated by
the Missouri Supreme Court for the filing of a state petition
for writ of habeas corpus.
states that he, along with his cellmate, was issued a conduct
violation after a homemade knife was found wrapped around the
railing of his cellmate's bunk. (Docket No. 1 at 2).
Following this incident, the disciplinary hearing officer
assessed a punishment of thirty days disciplinary
segregation, one year of non-contact visits, one year of
restricted premium pay, and an “indefinite assignment
to administrative segregation.” The matter was also
referred for prosecution. However, plaintiff's cellmate
was found not guilty and returned to general population,
where his privileges and honor status were restored.
his disciplinary hearing, plaintiff states that he requested
that surveillance footage be reviewed as evidence. (Docket
No. 1 at 2-3). He claims that such footage would substantiate
his proposition that the knife was planted by “another
inmate” who accessed the cell while plaintiff and his
cellmate were at work. (Docket No. 3). This request was
denied. Plaintiff asserts that the denial violated his right
to due process.
further asserts a violation of his right to equal protection.
Specifically, he notes that his cellmate's conduct
violation was dismissed and expunged from his record, even
though the knife was wrapped to the railing of his bunk.
Thus, plaintiff concludes that he was treated differently
from his cellmate, though they were similarly situated. He
also states there was no rational basis for the difference in
treatment between plaintiff and his cellmate. (Docket No. 1
also alleges that his punishment constitutes an atypical and
significant hardship. He asserts that he is only allowed
three hours of recreation a week, in a small outdoor cage
shared with another prisoner. (Docket No. 1 at 5). During
periods of inclement weather, he is unable to attend his
recreation period, because winter coats are not
“consistently available” and he is unable to
access adequate winter clothing. Plaintiff states that this
has caused his muscles to atrophy and his chronic knee
problem to worsen.
claims that he is experiencing “near total sensory
deprivation in segregation, ” which has worsened his
psychological problems, including hallucinations, sleep
deprivation, anxiety attacks, and a loss of appetite. He
further complains that he is not allowed to participate in
rehabilitation programs; that the showers are not
consistently sanitized; that he is not provided adequate
clothing; and that he is subjected to four-point restraints
for several hours at a time without food or restroom breaks.
(Docket No. 1 at 5-6).
seeks an order directing defendant Payne to immediately
release him back to general population, and to dismiss and
expunge the conduct violation. (Docket No. 1 at 7).
Plaintiff has filed a document that purports to be a writ of
habeas corpus. However, for the reasons discussed below, the
relief he seeks is not available under habeas review. Rather,
plaintiff's allegations are more properly construed as
claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court will
therefore give plaintiff the opportunity to file a complaint
pursuant to § 1983.
Plaintiff's requested relief is not available under
has clearly chosen a petition for writ of habeas corpus as
his avenue of relief. Indeed his filing is titled
“Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to Supreme
Court Rule 91.” Shortly before bringing this action
before the Court, he ...