United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Procedure for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. You may file written
objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections,
they must be specific and must include the factual or legal
basis for your objection.
considered, objections must be received in the office of the
Court Clerk within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no
objections are filed, Judge Marshall can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By
not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
Gregory DeWanye Wright, an inmate in the Arkansas Department
of Corrections, filed this lawsuit without the help of a
lawyer and is proceeding in forma pauperis. (Docket
entries #1, #2) The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires
federal courts to screen prisoner complaints before ordering
service of process in cases, such as this, where the prisoner
is seeking relief against a governmental entity, officer, or
employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Upon screening, the
Court must dismiss any claim that is legally frivolous or
malicious; that fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted; or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from paying damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
When screening a complaint, the court must accept the truth
of the factual allegations in the complaint, and it may
consider the documents attached to the complaint.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Reynolds v. Dormire, 636 F.3d 976, 979 (8th Cir.
Wright first claims that Defendants violated his due process
rights. In support of his claims, he alleges that the
Defendants charged him with a false disciplinary and, after
convicting him, improperly sentenced him to “class 4,
60 days restriction from the phone, commissary violation, 23
days punitive isolation, and 183 days loss of good
have a right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth
Amendment, but only where there is a liberty interest at
stake. Even if all of Mr. Wright's allegations are true,
the punishments he suffered are not considered serious enough
to implicate a liberty interest. See Moody v.
Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 n. 9 (1976); Ballinger v.
Cedar Cnty, 810 F.3d 557, 562-563 (8th Cir. 2016)(no
liberty interest where claimant alleged reduced access to
showers, telephone use, exercise, and social interaction with
others); Orr v. Larkins, 610 F.3d 1032, 1034 (8th
Cir. 2010) (inmate was not deprived of liberty interest when
he was demoted without cause to nine months in administrative
segregation); Portley-El v. Brill, 288 F.3d 1063,
1065B66 (8th Cir. 2002) (holding that inmates have no liberty
interest in maintaining a particular classification level and
that thirty days in punitive segregation was not an atypical
and significant hardship under Sandin, );
Lomholt v. Holder, 287 F.3d 683, 684 (8th Cir. 2002)
(per curiam)(prisoners do not have a constitutional right to
a particular prison job); Kennedy v. Blankenship,
100 F.3d 640, 642-43 & n.2 (8th Cir. 1996) (placement in
punitive isolation was not atypical and significant hardship
despite restrictions in mail, telephone, visitation,
commissary, and property privileges); Olim v.
Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983)(prisoners do not
have a liberty interest in being housed in or transferred to
a particular prison unit); McKinnon v. Norris, 366
Ark. 404 (2006)(the Supreme Court of Arkansas has found that
there is no liberty interest in the accumulation or loss of
good-time credits under Arkansas law).
Wright also claims a violation of the constitutional
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Again, the
allegations here-even if true-cannot support an Eighth
Amendment claim. Mr. Wright does not allege that he suffered
an “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, ”
or “deprivations denying the minimal civilized measure
of life's necessities.” And under settled law, that
is the standard for an Eighth Amendment claim. See Wilson
v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991); see also,
Phillips v. Norris, 320 F.3d 844, 848 (8th Cir.
2003) (holding that an allegedly false disciplinary
conviction that resulted in an inmate being required to spend
thirty-seven days in punitive isolation, where he was not
allowed contact visitation, exercise privileges, or chapel
rights, did not amount to an Eighth Amendment violation);
Eugene v. Klecker, 636 F.2d 250, 251 (8th Cir. 1980)
(holding that the loss of good time credits, as a result of
an allegedly false disciplinary conviction, was not an Eighth
Amendment violation); McChristian v. Hampton, 48
F.3d 1224 (8th Cir. 1995) (unpublished opinion) (holding that
a false disciplinary conviction allegedly filed to conceal
unlawful behavior by the defendants did not implicate a
settled law, the punishment imposed against Mr. Wright was
not severe enough to trigger the protection of the due
process clause of the United States Constitution. Likewise,
he has not alleged conditions of his confinement in punitive
segregation that were so harsh as to be considered cruel or
unusual punishment. Thus, he has failed to state a claim
under either the Fourteenth or Eighth Amendment.
Court recommends, therefore, that Mr. Wright's claims
against the Defendants be DISMISSED, without prejudice, and
that the dismissal should count as a STRIKE for purposes of
the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
 Later, Wendy Kelley modified the
finding to “not guilty” of assault; but it is not
clear whether or how this affected Mr. ...