United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
D. NOCE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action is before the Court on the motion of defendants Dan
Wiley and William Jones for summary judgment. (Doc. 94). The
Court heard oral argument on the motions. All parties have
consented to the exercise of plenary authority by the
undersigned United States Magistrate Judge under 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
grants the motions for summary judgment.
following facts are uncontroverted unless otherwise
specified. At all times relevant to plaintiff’s
complaint, defendant William Jones was the Deputy Warden of
Operations and defendant Dan Wiley was a Corrections Officer
in the Missouri Department of Corrections, both at Northeast
Correctional Center (“NECC”) in Bowling Green,
Missouri. (Doc. 96, ¶¶ 1-3; Doc. 112, ¶¶
1-3). Plaintiff was an inmate incarcerated at NECC, until his
release on October 22, 2018. (Doc. 1; Doc. 96, ¶ 1; Doc.
112, ¶ 1). Plaintiff was serving a 15-year sentence
related to a 2003 conviction, for which he had filed a number
of legal challenges. (Doc. 96, ¶ 6; Doc. 112, ¶ 6).
These included a direct appeal and a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus. (Id.).
12, 2015, plaintiff was moved to a new area of the prison and
inadvertently left his legal papers under his mattress during
the move. (Id. at ¶ 7). The inmate who moved
into plaintiff’s old cell gave the legal papers to
another inmate, who then gave them to a third inmate for
delivery to plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 8). Defendant
Wiley observed the third inmate and asked why he was carrying
an envelope, and the third inmate admitted that the papers
did not belong to him and he was supposed to give them to
another prisoner. (Id. at ¶ 10). Prison policy
generally does not allow inmates to pass property to each
other. (Id. at ¶ 11).
Wiley told the inmate he needed to turn over the documents as
contraband or receive a conduct violation. (Id. at
¶ 13). The inmate gave the documents to defendant Wiley.
(Id.). The parties dispute whether defendant
Wiley’s seizure was in line with prison policies.
(Id. at ¶ 15). Around July or August 2015,
defendant Jones learned of the seized documents, which
related to two legal claims plaintiff intended to file:
petitions for writs of habeas corpus in this federal court
and in Illinois state court. (Id. at ¶¶
18-19). These documents included an affidavit by David
Horwitz about exculpatory photographs and an affidavit from
witness Lorenzo Nunn. (Id. at ¶ 21).
2010, plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus
that included these documents, and this Court found them not
exculpatory with regard to an ineffective assistance of
counsel claim. Cole v. Roper, No. 4:10 CV 197 CEJ,
2013 WL 398755 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 1, 2013).
civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff's
amended complaint alleges the following claims against both
defendants in their official and individual capacities,
seeking money damages:
Count 1: Denial of Access to the Courts,
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Count 2: Denial of Due Process, under 42
U.S.C. § 1983
Count 3: Violation of the Equal Protection
Clause, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Count 4: Unlawful Taking, under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (Doc. 81).
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT