United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
following Recommended Disposition
("Recommendation") has been sent to United States
District Judge J. Leon Holmes. Any party may file written
objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be
specific and include the factual or legal basis for
disagreeing with the Recommendation. An objection to a
factual finding must specifically identify the finding of
fact believed to be wrong and describe the evidence that
supports that belief.
original and one copy of the objections must be received by
the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this
Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Holmes can
adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing all
of the evidence in the record. By not objecting, you may also
waive any right to appeal questions of fact.
Rantrez Robinson ("Robinson") is a prisoner in the
Varner Super Max Unit of the Arkansas Department of
Correction ("ADC"). He has filed a pro se
' 1983 Complaint and an Amended Complaint alleging that
Defendant Disciplinary Serving Officer Serena Lynn McCoy
("McCoy") violated his constitutional rights.
Docs. 2 & 5. Before Robinson may proceed with
this case, the Court must screen his
Due Process Rights
alleges that, on or about September 26, 2017, McCoy violated
his due process rights by failing to call his name to attend
a disciplinary hearing and wrongfully recording that he
waived his appearance at that hearing. As a result, Robinson
did not attend the hearing, during which a non-party hearing
officer found Robinson guilty of failing to report to work.
Doc. 5 at 6-11. As punishment for that disciplinary
conviction, Robinson lost his commissary, phone, and
visitation privileges for fifteen days. Id.
Additionally, Robinson was not allowed to participate in a
vocation training program, which was a prerequisite for him
being considered for parole. Id.
was entitled to procedural due process during his prison
disciplinary proceedings, only if he had a liberty
interest at stake during that proceeding. See Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995); Phillips v.
Norris, 320 F.3d 844, 847 (8th Cir. 2003). Robinson did
not have a liberty interest in: (1) avoiding the
temporary loss of his commissary, phone, and visitation
privileges; (2) participating in the vocation training
program; or (3) becoming eligible for
parole.Because Robinson did not have a liberty
interest at stake during his September 26, 2017 disciplinary
proceedings, he did not have a due process right to attend
also alleges that McCoy violated ADC policy by failing to
properly obtain his waiver of appearance at the disciplinary
hearing. However, prisoners do not have a constitutional
right to enforce compliance with internal prison rules or
regulations. See Phillips, 320 F.3d at 847;
Gardner v. Howard, 109 F.3d 427, 430 (8th Cir.
the Court concludes that Robinson has failed to plead a
viable § 1983 due process claim.
alleges that McCoy took these actions against him in
retaliation for him naming her as Defendant in a previously
filed lawsuit, Robinson v. Payne, 5:17CV00114.
retaliatory discipline claim fails, as matter of law, if
there is “some evidence the inmate actually committed a
rule violation.” Sanders v. Hobbs, 773 F.3d
186, 190 (8th Cir. 2014); Hartsfield v. Nichols, 511
F.3d 826, 829 (8th Cir. 2008). Importantly, a “report
from a correctional officer, even if disputed by the
inmate and supported by no other evidence, legally
suffices as some evidence upon which to base a prison
disciplinary violation, if the violation is found by an
impartial decision maker.” Id. (emphasis
September 26, 2017, Disciplinary Hearing Officer Keith Waddle
found Robinson guilty of failing to report for work based on
a written report filed by Sergeant Bryan Hale. Doc. 5 at
6-8. Robinson and Hale were not Defendants in
Robinson v. Payne, 5:17CV00114. Thus, Hale's
report, which was found to be credible by Waddle,
"legally suffices as some evidence" to support
Robinson's disciplinary conviction and preclude his
retaliatory disciplinary claim. See Henderson v.
Baird, 29 F.3d 464, 469 (8th Cir. 1994) (explaining that