United States District Court, N.D. California
CHARLES L. STEVENSON, Plaintiff,
M. JONES, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR DEFENDANT Re:
Dkt. No. 23
ILLSTON United States District Judge
L. Stevenson, an inmate currently at the San Francisco County
Jail, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. This action is now before the court for
consideration of the motion for summary judgment filed by
defendant and opposed by Stevenson For the reasons discussed
below, summary judgment will be granted in defendant's
alleges two claims in his amended complaint. First, he
alleges that San Francisco Sheriff's Deputy Jones used
excessive force on April 1, 2015, by handcuffing him too
tightly. Second, he alleges that Deputy Jones violated his
right to due process by causing him to be put in
administrative segregation without a sufficient evidentiary
basis for events on April 1, 2015.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted:
events and omissions giving rise to this action occurred in
April 2015, at the San Francisco County Jail # 5 in San
Bruno, California. At the relevant time, Stevenson was housed
in the jail as a pretrial detainee (although he has since had
a trial and been convicted of a crime).
his arrival at the jail in September 2014, he had been
classified as a maximum custody inmate. Docket No. 23-1
(deposition of Charles Stevenson), Reporter's Transcript
(“RT”) 75. (Because the Stevenson Deposition
transcript is the only transcript in evidence, all references
to “RT” refer to pages in that transcript.) Also
at the relevant time, M. Jones was a San Francisco
Sheriff's deputy stationed at the jail.
Stevenson Is Handcuffed on April 1
an inmate is handcuffed with a single pair of handcuffs.
According to Stevenson, two pairs of handcuffs -- also
sometimes called double-cuffs -- are used for inmates with
obesity and medical issues. RT 35. For double-cuffing, one
cuff on one pair is attached to one wrist and a cuff on the
other pair is attached to the other wrist, and then the other
cuffs of the two pairs of handcuffs are attached to each
other. RT 53. The wrists are about 12 inches apart when
double-cuffs are used. RT 53-54; Docket No. 24 (Jones Decl.)
at 2. “Deputies are trained to use one set of handcuffs
for officer safety.” Docket No. 24 at 2.
relevant time, Stevenson weighed about 275 pounds and was
5'11” tall. RT 35. According to Stevenson, he is
normally double-cuffed when handcuffs are needed; other than
on April 1, he has not been placed in single handcuffs since
2014. Docket No. 21 at 2, 4. Stevenson had a “low tier
low bunk chrono [i.e., a medical authorization form] from
medical based on documented compression fractures in [his]
spine from 2011.” Docket No. 21. He provides no
evidence that Deputy Jones was aware of this chrono, and does
not provide any evidence that he had a chrono for
April 1, Deputy Jones announced in Stevenson's housing
unit that inmates in several cells would be moved and that
the inmates had to gather their belongings to move. Deputy
Jones came to Stevenson's cell and repeatedly ordered
Stevenson to get dressed and cuff-up in preparation for the move.
Docket No. 24 at 1-2. Stevenson refused to get dressed or
cuff-up; instead, he requested to speak to a supervisor. RT
16, 32; Docket No. 21 at 2 (Stevenson “requested a
supervisor be present for the re-housing because [he] has
witnessed Deputy Jones abuse his authority dealing with other
prisoners”). Deputy Jones called for assistance.
Sergeant Mallett, a supervisor, responded with several other
deputies and Stevenson was put in double-cuffs without
further ado. Id. at RT 16, 34-35. Stevenson was
placed in an interview room for about an hour and a half.
Id. According to Stevenson, Deputy Jones did not
take part in this initial handcuffing or moving him to the
interview room in Pod 2B.
point, Stevenson was released from the handcuffs and was in
an interview room.
Jones came to the interview room and told Stevenson to
cuff-up. RT 16. Stevenson said to him, “Can I have two
handcuffs because I can't put my arms together behind my
back. Because I'm a big guy, and my shoulders are wide,
and it's hard for me to close my hands.”
Id. at 16-17. Deputy Jones refused to double-cuff
Stevenson, and “grabbed both [his] hands, slammed them
together, and placed the cuffs on [Stevenson].” RT 17;
Docket No. 21 at 3-4. When the handcuffs were put on him,
Stevenson yelled but did not say they were too tight and did
not ask for the handcuffs to be loosened. RT 40-41. Stevenson
states that he did not want to say anything because he
thought Deputy Jones had a bad attitude, and thought that
saying something might have prompted Deputy Jones to inflict
more pain in handling him. RT 40-41. There is no evidence
that Stevenson revealed these thoughts to Deputy Jones.
wrists were bruised and cut from the handcuffing, and healed
in a couple of days. RT 59-60. Stevenson also contends that
his wrist was fractured, but provides no competent evidence
in support of the contention and admits that no medical
doctor ever made such a diagnosis.
received three disciplinary write-ups from Deputy Jones
within 24 hours of the April 1 incident. He also had received
two other disciplinary write-ups in the recent past, which
have some relevance to the issues here because new
disciplinary periods were tacked onto the end of existing
disciplinary periods -- somewhat in the nature of consecutive
rather than concurrent sentences. The incident reports
provide the following information about the several
March 6, 2015 narcotics/medications/weapons
possession: During a cell search on March 6, deputy
Colmenero found “2 razor blades, 1 hand rolled
cigarette of suspected marijuana, and 2 blue pills identified
as Sertraline 50 mg.” hidden in a jar with
Stevenson's name on it. Docket No. 23-2 at 113-14. The
discipline imposed was disciplinary isolation from March 7 to
March 27, loss of commissary from March 7 to March 27, and
loss of visits from March 7 to March 27. Id.
March 19, 2015 drug possession: Deputy Rold searched
Stevenson's cell on March 19, and “found two paper
bindles. One had a white powder substance. One had a small
blue pill. JMS identified the small blue pill as Sertraline,
a pill which Stevenson is prescribed but does not have a self
carry prescription for” and the white powder tested
“positive for heroin.” Docket No. 23-2 at 116-17.
The discipline imposed was disciplinary isolation from March
27 to April 21, loss of recreation from March 27 to April 21,
loss of commissary from April 1 to April 19, and loss of
visits from March 28 to April 21. Id. at 117.
March 31, 2015 refusal to obey direct order: Deputy
Jones wrote a disciplinary charge -- apparently called a
request for discipline -- at about 6:00 p.m. on March 31,
charging Stevenson with disobeying a direct order. The
narrative for the offense stated that Stevenson
“refuses to stop yelling out of his cell. I have given
him several verbal warnings and opportunities to comply with
my orders. [H]e refuses. Inmate is currently on lock up until
4/21.” Docket No. 23-2 at 118. According to the
incident report, Stevenson's explanation was that
“he was yelling . . . because he wanted a
grievance.” Id. The discipline imposed was
disciplinary isolation from April 21 to May 1, loss of
commissary from April 19 to April 29, and loss of visits from
April 21 to May 1. Id. Stevenson admits that he
received notice and a hearing for this rule violation. RT 47.
April 1, 2015 3:30 p.m. refusal to obey direct
order: Deputy Jones wrote a disciplinary charge that
Stevenson “has been loud and disruptive everyday for
the past week. I have given him warning after warning and he
still continues to disrupt the daily pod function. Today I
ordered him to roll up to be re-housed, he refused. A
supervisor had to respond before Stevenson would comply.
Inmate says he is not a kid and does not have to listen to
anything deputies say. Inmate is currently on lock up until
4/21.” Docket No. 25-3 at 2-3. According to the
incident report, “Stevenson claimed that the order for
him to cuff up was never given to him by Deputy Jones.
Stevenson [said] he was complying with Deputy Jones'
order to re-house.” Id. at 2. The discipline
imposed was disciplinary isolation from May 1 to May 11, loss
of commissary from April 29 to May 9, and loss of visits from
May 1 to May 11. Id. at 2.
April 1, 2015 5:30 p.m. “riot”: Deputy
Jones wrote a disciplinary charge stating: “As I
attempted to move inmate to pod 2B, he refused to be
handcuffed. He demanded for me to use two handcuffs while
being transported. He refused at least 3 lawful orders to
cuff up. I eventually placed a pair of handcuffs on inmate
Stevenson without using two pairs. As I escorted him to pod
2B he said, ‘I don't give a fuck.' Inmate
continually has become disruptive to normal pod operations
and was placed in ad-seg housing. He is currently on lock
up.” Docket No. 25-4 at 2-3. A comment in the
discipline section stated that “Stevenson disrupted Pod
2A and incited the other inmates with statements of
non-compliance in which multiple deputies had to quell the
disruption.” Id. at 2. The discipline imposed
was disciplinary isolation from May 11 to June 10, loss of
commissary from May 9 to June 8, and loss of visits from May
11 to June 10. Id.
Jones had no involvement with the first two disciplinary
matters. Deputy Jones wrote up the disciplinary charges for
the last three matters, but did not adjudicate those charges.
own testimony at his deposition shows some basis for the
disciplinary charges on April 1, even though he may have felt
justified in his behavior. He stated he asked for a grievance
3-4 times, “yelled” for a grievance, and knocked
on his door loudly. RT 26-29. When Deputy Jones
“acted” like he did not hear Stevenson, Stevenson
“made sure he heard me.” RT 28. When Deputy Jones
first came to his ...