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Anthony Dewayne Mitchell Also Known v. Dupnik

filed: September 28, 1995.


Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. CV-91-00372 RMB. D.C. No. CV-91-00372-RMB. D.C. No. CV-92-00163 RMB. Richard M. Bilby, District Judge, Presiding.

Before: Herbert Y.c. Choy, William C. Canby, Jr., and Thomas G. Nelson, Circuit Judges. Opinion by Judge Canby.

Author: Canby

CANBY, Circuit Judge:

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and several of his deputies appeal a series of district court judgments and orders in favor of prisoner Mustafa B. Shabazz, formerly known as Anthony D. Mitchell, resulting from multiple actions that Shabazz had brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.


I. Appeal No. 93-16955

Shabazz was held in the Pima County Adult Correction Center ("the Jail") from February 1991, to September 1992, during the pendency of his trial on criminal charges not at issue here. While at the Jail, Shabazz instituted his first action under § 1983 alleging numerous violations of his constitutional rights. The district court later dismissed all but two of the claims.

The first of those surviving claims alleged that Donald Robare, a corrections officer at the Jail, violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to observe several required procedural safeguards while conducting three separate disciplinary proceedings against Shabazz. Specifically, the complaint alleged that: (1) Robare failed to tape record at least one of the proceedings, in violation of published Jail policy; (2) Robare refused to allow Shabazz to call witnesses at the proceedings, again in contravention of Jail policy; and (3) Robare did not deliver to Shabazz written copies of the findings in each proceeding, which was required by Jail policy. Shabazz contended that the alleged violations resulted in his unjustified assignment to nineteen days of segregation.

Robare moved to dismiss the claim, but the court determined that most or all issues were disputed, and instead ordered the Jail to re-conduct the three hearings with the necessary safeguards in place and to resentence Shabazz accordingly. After rehearing, Shabazz received seven fewer days in segregation than in his original sentence. Because Shabazz had already served the longer sentence, no additional segregation was warranted. Upon Shabazz' motion, the district court granted summary judgment on the issue of Robare's liability and set trial for damages.

Shabazz' second surviving claim alleged that Michael Garland, also a corrections officer at the Jail, interfered with a constitutionally protected liberty interest by searching Shabazz' legal papers while he was not present, in knowing violation of published Jail policy. Upon Shabazz' motion, the court also granted summary judgment against Garland on the issue of liability and set a trial to determine damages.

After separate trials, the district court entered judgments awarding Shabazz $1000 in damages against Robare and $550 in damages against Garland, in their individual capacities.

II. Appeal No. 93-17019

While Shabazz was incarcerated in the Jail, he apparently was often disruptive, and as a result he spent significant time in the "administrative segregation" wing of the Jail. Inmates are generally moved to administrative segregation because they present a risk to safety or discipline. While there, by necessity they enjoy fewer privileges than the general Jail population.

While still at the Jail, Shabazz filed a second action under section 1983 against Sheriff Dupnik, Major David Bosman, the Jail's corrections commander, Richard Fimbers, the Supervisor of Discipline at the Jail, and six other sheriff's deputies. The complaint alleged nine separate constitutional violations, all dealing with the disciplinary system in the administrative segregation wing. On defendants' motion, the court ultimately dismissed all but two claims, against Dupnik, Bosman and Fimbers collectively ("the Sheriff").

Shabazz' first claim alleged that the Sheriff's de facto policy denying inmates the right to call and examine witnesses during their disciplinary hearings violated due process. In his second claim, Shabazz alleged that the Sheriff deprived him of a protected liberty interest without due process by failing to provide him, after his hearings were completed, with copies of the disciplinary committee's findings indicating whether an impartial reviewing staff member concurred in the findings.

Shabazz moved for and was granted summary judgment on the issue of liability as to all three defendants on both claims. After a bench trial on the issue of damages accruing from the first claim, the district court awarded Shabazz $4,500 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages against the three in their official capacities.*fn1 On the second claim, the court awarded Shabazz $250 in compensatory damages against each defendant in his individual capacity.

III. Appeal No. 93-16517

As we noted above, Shabazz was held in the Jail when he instituted his § 1983 actions against the Sheriff and against Robare and Garland, respectively. He prosecuted the actions in propria persona, and thus required use of the Jail's law library facilities, including its reporters and its photocopying services. Shabazz spent significant stretches of time, however, housed in the Jail's administrative segregation wing as a consequence of his disruptive behavior and rule violations. Residents of the wing are not permitted to leave it, and therefore do not have direct access to the Jail's law library.

The library serves segregated inmates through a paging system in which the inmates can order up to five legal books twice per week. The paging system is not rigid in that, under "special circumstances," inmates may request and receive in excess of five books at a time. Additionally, a library staff is available on a limited basis to assist with an inmate's legal research.

Shabazz moved during the course of his action to compel the Jail to provide greater access to legal materials, photocopying and carbon paper. On July 15, 1992, the district court denied Shabazz' motion, but issued an injunction ordering the Jail to publish its legal access policy, including the process by which it evaluated requests for exceptions to the paging system limits for segregated inmates. Dupnik complied in September of 1992. Also in September, the state moved the now-convicted Shabazz from the Jail to Florence State Correctional Facility to serve his criminal sentence.

On October 6, 1992, the district court issued another order finding the Jail's then-recently published policy to be constitutionally inadequate. The policy did not explain the factors that Jail authorities would consider in determining whether to grant exceptions to book and delivery time limits for segregated inmates. The court again ordered the Jail to publish a satisfactory policy.*fn2 After an evidentiary hearing, the district court on March 17, 1993, issued its final order finding the Jail's second attempt at ...

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