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Roberson v. Garcia

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 6, 2017

A. GARCIA, et al., Defendants.




         Morris Roberson, an inmate at the Kern Valley State Prison, filed this pro se prisoner's civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His amended complaint (Docket No. 16) is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


         In his amended complaint, Mr. Roberson alleges the following:

         Mr. Roberson received a rule violation report (RVR) for participating in a riot on April 22, 2012. He was not guilty of the infraction, and maintained his innocence in the disciplinary proceedings.

         A disciplinary hearing was held on June 1, 2012, at which Mr. Roberson was found guilty. He was assessed a 90-day credit forfeiture and was referred to the institutional classification committee (ICC) for review and a possible security housing unit (SHU) term assessment. At the ICC hearing on July 19, 2012, the ICC imposed a 5-month SHU term for the April 22, 2012 riot, plus an indeterminate SHU term (with a recommendation that Mr. Roberson be transferred to the SHU at Corcoran or the SHU at CCI-Tehachapi) because he had received more than one RVR for misconduct of a similar nature, i.e., the RVR for the April 22, 2012 riot, and an RVR for participating in another riot on January 20, 2011. (Docket No. 16 at 7; Docket No. 16-3 at 47-48.)

         Mr. Roberson appealed the disciplinary decision on the RVR for the April 22, 2012 riot. His appeal was granted in part and the original RVR was vacated with directions to re-issue and re-hear the RVR. The decision on his inmate appeal did not vacate or otherwise undo the indeterminate SHU term that already had been assessed. The inmate appeal was decided on July 19, but Mr. Roberson did not receive the decision until August 6, 2012. Mr. Roberson asked, and was told by a correctional counselor that “most likely” Mr. Roberson would be issued a new administrative segregation placement notice (also known as a CDCR-114D) and a new ICC hearing as a result of the administrative appeal decision. (Docket No. 16 at 8.)

         Meanwhile, Mr. Roberson was “endorsed” to the Corcoran SHU on July 30, 2012, “because no one knew that [he] was going to be successful on the appeal . . . and [that the original RVR] would be vacated.” (Id.) Mr. Morris had not yet received a new CDCR-114D administrative segregation placement notice or a new ICC hearing after the original RVR was vacated.

         The RVR for the April 22, 2012 riot was re-issued on August 14, 2012. Mr. Roberson was found guilty on the re-issued RVR at a hearing on September 6, 2012. (Id. at 9-11.)

         After learning that he was scheduled to be transferred to the Corcoran SHU, Mr. Roberson asked several correctional staff members at Salinas Valley to prevent his transfer. Defendants Garcia, Hughes and Lopez failed to prevent his transfer, although Mr. Roberson had alerted them to his problem, i.e., that he was being transferred for a SHU term that should have been vacated when the original RVR for the April 22, 2012 riot was vacated.

         Mr. Roberson arrived at the Corcoran SHU in September 2012, and had his initial SHU review on September 19, 2012, before an ICC at that facility. Mr. Roberson explained that his placement was incorrect because the original RVR for the April 22, 2012 riot had been vacated. The ICC hearing concluded with committee member Mascarenas stating that she would look into the matter and with Mr. Roberson remaining in the SHU. At an ICC hearing on October 31, 2012, committee member Mascarenas stated that the ICC would vacate the SHU term that had been imposed on July 19, 2012 for the original RVR, and refer the case to a CSR for a proposed 6- month SHU term for the re-issued RVR. Mr. Roberson tried to talk to CDW Sandor at the ICC about the modification order but CDW Sandor refused to listen to him and made him leave the ICC hearing. On or about October 31, 2012 or December 5, 2012, the ICC determined that earlier concerns had been addressed and that the corrected indeterminate SHU term remained appropriate.

         The Corcoran SHU was significantly more restrictive than Mr. Roberson's administrative segregation housing at Salinas Valley. (Id. at 20.) While at the Corcoran SHU, the conditions he experienced included the following: he was unable to visit with friends and family members; some of his property was confiscated, destroyed or restricted; some unidentified medical treatment was denied; he was unable to attend church, school or work; and he contracted hepatitis A and B from the barber clippers he used to cut his hair. (Id.)

         Mr. Roberson filed several inmate appeals about several different decisions. His inmate appeals were unsuccessful.


         A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Id. at ยง ...

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