Wright v. Demiraj
A technical violation of the Code of Penal Discipline, which involves state law, may be insufficient to establish a due-process violation under the federal constitution. The court found the following facts. On Dec. 23, 2008, the plaintiff inmate, Ian Wright, was assigned to work in the prison's carpentry shop and requested permission to take a shower. Corrections Officer Demiraj, who was not familiar with a memorandum that permitted inmates to take showers after they performed certain work assignments, denied the request. The plaintiff replied that he would file a grievance. The plaintiff was required to wait several hours to take a shower at the regularly scheduled time, between 8 and 10 p.m. The plaintiff filed a grievance, claiming that he had been working with chemicals and should have been permitted to take a shower. On December 30, Demiraj was working in the cafeteria when he was ordered to frisk the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that Demiraj issued a profane remark. The plaintiff responded with an obscenity. Other corrections officers escorted the plaintiff to a restrictive housing unit. He was strip searched and charged with interference with safety and security. The plaintiff alleged that Demiraj retaliated, because the plaintiff filed the grievance. The court was not persuaded that Demiraj's conduct in the cafeteria was wrong. The court also found that Demiraj did not know the plaintiff had filed a grievance on December 24. The plaintiff failed to prove Demiraj retaliated, because the plaintiff filed the grievance. The court also was not persuaded that the December 30 disciplinary report was false. The court rejected the plaintiff's claim that his due-process rights were violated, because a hearing took place on Jan. 15, 2009, and the Code of Penal Discipline required a hearing within seven business days. The Code of Penal Discipline, which involves state law, does not create a due-process right under the federal constitution when it involves procedural, as opposed to substantive, rights. The plaintiff was convicted of interfering with safety and sentenced to 14 days in administrative segregation. Substantial evidence supported the plaintiff's conviction. The court granted judgment to the defendants.