United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT DOCKET NO. 46) PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL DOCKET NO. 62)
E. Bush Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge
pending before the Court are (1) Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Docket No. 46), and (2) Plaintiff's
Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Docket No. 62). Having
carefully considered the record, participated in oral
argument, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters
the following Memorandum Decision and Order:
Gregory Seamons complains that, while in administrative
segregation housing at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution
(“ISMI”),  he was limited to possessing a total of
five books, which restricts his ability to practice his
religion and to check out psychological self-help books from
the library that have been recommended by his mental health
provider. See generally Initial Review Order, p. 1
(Docket No. 6). Plaintiff also claims that he is entitled to
regular in-person clergy visits, but is unable to receive
them while in administrative segregation. See id.
The circumstances informing these allegations are reflected
in an array of correspondence involving Plaintiff and ISMI
staff members, included, in relevant part, below and in
September 7, 2014: “Offender
Concern Form” from Plaintiff to Defendant R. Valley III
(“Valley”), referencing an attached handwritten
letter “concerning book policy” and stating:
“I sincerely hope you'll give my letter serious
consideration.” 9/7/14 Offender Concern Form (Docket
No. 3, Att. 3 at p. 3); see also Ex. A to Valley
Aff. (Docket No. 46, Att. 10). The attached letter reads:
Dear D. W.Valley
I would first like to make it clear I'm not seeking a
conflict, so please do not feel offended or attacked by what
I have to say. My goal is to promote education, books and a
review of that policy which limits books.
General Population = 17
Protective Custody = 10
Ad Seg = 5
Detention = 1
excludes law books
1. I have a memo dated 6-11-2014 signed by you and Warden
Ramirez stating on 6-5-2014 a Committee placed me on long
term Protective Custody but could not place in C-Block
Protective Custody because I couldn't be housed with
certain inmates. So I was being left in Ad-Seg until they
could place me. So in many ways 1 feel I am still a
protective custody inmate as I am not here for any punitive
reasons whatsoever. I would like to be allowed to possess the
10 books allowed to protective custody as I do not own a T.V.
and really all I want to do is study the Bible and History. I
asked Chaplain Inman to talk to you as he knows I take
several Correspondence Bible Courses.
2. I should be protective custody but can't be placed
there for Institutional reasons not because of anything
I've done wrong so I would like I.M.S.I to at least allow
me the 10 books I should have in P.C.
Questions or Thoughts:
1. Six cubic feet of property is the same whether it's
books or ramen noodles.
2. Protective Custody are either inmates who need protection
or have been victimized. Why are they also being penalized
and only allowed 10 books while the inmates in General
Population who victimized the P.C. inmates allowed 17 books?
It makes no sense.
3. Ad-Seg Inmates can have a $300.00 color T.V. with remote,
Gangland T.V. channels, weekend videos, sexual content etc.
etc. and a $150.00 MP4 music player with over $1000.00 worth
of Gang rap songs and death metal racist music but I'm
being restricted on educational and religious books, does
that make sense?
This also costs the public tax payers millions of dollars in
electric bills every year to watch sex and violence or listen
to it on T.V.'s and MP4's. I think the public would
rather see educational books and Bible Studies. I have
thought of presenting these facts to outside sources but to
tell you the truth I don't want conflict, I don't
care if I stay in Ad-Seg until I leave 12-4-2017. I really
only want to be approved for the 10 books I really should
have so I can study.
4. I was somewhat shocked when I came here in 2012 it seems
IMSI is not really trying to help inmates only warehouse
them. I've been around here for 22 years 1992 it
hasn't always been this way.
I hope you'll work with me and help me.
9/7/14 Letter (Docket No. 3, Att. 4, pp. 1-4); see
also Ex. A to Valley Aff (Docket No. 46, Att. 10).
Administrative Assistant Kim Bausch responded on September 9,
2014, stating in relevant part:
correspondence to DW Valley is being returned to you with the
. A description of the problem must be
written within the appropriate area on
ONE Offender Concern Form and
there must not be any attachments included with the
. Offender Concern Forms must be handwritten
and legible. An Offender Concern Form that is difficult to
read or understand may be returned to the offender with
instruction to make it legible or clearly explain the issue.
If staff decides it is necessary to obtain more information,
a staff member may interview the offender or request
. Vague issues/complaints, offender personal
attacks on staff (e.g., the use of profanity or name
calling), or harassment of staff will be cause for staff to
not accept the Offender Concern Form.
. Offenders must address the Offender
Concern Form to the appropriate staff member. For example,
sending the form to a facility head or deputy warden when it
should have gone to the property officer, will only delay the
check with your unit sergeant if you are unsure of this
process. Any correspondence that is not in accordance with
S.O.P. 316.02.01.001 will be returned.
9/9/14 Memorandum (Docket No. 3, Att. 3, p. 18) (emphasis in
original); see also Ex. A to Valley Aff (Docket No.
46, Att. 10).
September 24, 2014: “Offender
Concern Form” from Plaintiff to Valley, stating:
The Book policy (5 books for Ad-Seg) is outdated and illegal.
This does not even allow me enough books to follow my
religion. I have (one) Bible Concordance, (one) dictionary,
(one) NKJV Student Bible, (one) KJV Bible and (one) NIV
Bible. I use all 5 of these everyday for my numerous bible
correspondence courses and religious purposes. This leaves no
room for library, education, history, entertainment, or to
receive any publications or opinions by mail which is a First
Amendment legal right under freedom of speech and freedom of
religion. I also am a medium security P.C. inmate.
9/24/14 Offender Concern Form (Docket No. 3, Att. 3, p. 7);
see also Ex. B to Valley Aff. (Docket No. 46, Att.
11). Valley responded on September 26, 2014, stating:
“The Ad-Seg property limits are set by SOP 320. IMSI is
held to SOP 320. The limits are set.” Id.
September 29, 2014:
“Grievance/Appeal Form” from Plaintiff, stating:
The problem is: The number of books allowed to me in Ad-Seg
under SOP 320 is (5) five this does not even allow enough
books for me to exercise my religious rights under the First
Amendment nor my right to freedom of speech (freedom to read)
under the First Amendment. Also, Ad-Seg is not punitive, also
I am medium custody, also I am supposed to be P.C.
I have tried to solve this problem informally by: Concern and
letter to Chaplain and D. W.Valley rejected, concern to Sgt.
Governor denied, concern to D. W.Valley denied. Grievance
returned to be revised.
I suggest the following solution to the problem: The Book
Policy is old and needs to be revised to allow enough books
to study religion and history like I do as I do productive
things like learn instead of watch Gangland T.V. which
9/29/14 Grievance/Appeal Form (Docket No. 3, Att. 3, p. 4).
October 7, 2014: “Offender
Concern Form” from Plaintiff to Defendant Terri Jo
Kirtley (“Kirtley”), stating:
I was referred to you by A. Pitzer concerning SOP 320 (Book
limits). Our limit in Ad. Seg is 5 (five) books this includes
Religious books. Five books does not even allow me enough
books to exercise my First Amendment Right to exercise my
Religion or my First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech
also known as (Freedom to Read). I have (1) Bible
Concordance, (1) Dictionary, (1) NKJV Student Bible, (1) KJV
Bible, (1) NIV Bible. That allows no room for education, self
help library, art, or mailed in religious commentary, daily
devotions etc. Also I'm medium custody P.C. waiting on a
10/7/14 Offender Concern Form (Docket No. 3, Att. 3, p. 6);
see also Ex. A to Kirtley Aff. (Docket No. 46, Att.
29). Kirtley responded that same day, stating: “Per
policy that is all you will be allowed in Ad Seg.”
October 14, 2014:
“Grievance/Appeal Form” from Plaintiff, stating:
The problem is: SOP 320 is outdated and illegal. I am only
allowed five total books. This does not allow me enough books
to exercise my Freedom of Religion or Freedom to Read covered
by Freedom of Speech in the First Amendment of the United
I have tried to solve this problem informally by: Numerous
Concern forms to staff receipts included, two rejected
Grievances included, letter to D. W.Valley rejected, also
I suggest the following solution for the problem: The law is
clear on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech (freedom
to read) also Ad-Seg is not a punitive classification. (1)
Change the Policy, (2) Move me or (3) Prepare for Court. I
will not let this go.
10/14/14 Grievance/Appeal Form (Docket No. 3, Att. 3, p. 1);
see also id. (Docket No. 3, Att. 2, p. 17). On
November 3, 2014, Kirtley provided the “Initial
Response, ” stating:
5 Books is all that is allowed per policy in administrative
segregation. The property limits change with custody levels
for safety and security reasons. You are more than welcome to
read as many books as you would like, however you may only
have 5 in your property at one time. I would recommend that
when you finish a book you donate it, send it home or just
request books from the library. With 5 books authorized that
is enough to cover your religious concerns and other reading
material. Your request is denied.
11/3/14 Initial Response (Docket No. 3, Att. 2, p. 17);
see also Ex. B to Kirtley Aff. (Docket No. 46, Att.
30). On November 4, 2014, Valley provided a “Reviewing
Authority Response, ” stating:
There is no limit on the amount of materials you are allowed
to read. SOP 320 only limits the amount of books you may have
in your possession at any one time to 5. We will continue to
follow SOP regarding this issue. Your request for SOP to be
changed is denied. Your current placement in Administrative
Segregation negates your ability to move and the placement is
11/4/14 Reviewing Authority Response (Docket No. 3, Att. 2,
p. 18); see also Ex. C to Valley Aff. (Docket No.
46, Att. 12). On November 7, 2014, Plaintiff submitted an
“Offender Appeal, ” stating:
The book policy does not allow enough books in Ad-Seg to
exercise Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Speech (Freedom to
Read). D.W. Kirtley has no clue how many books it takes to
exercise the Christian religion. Her response is ridiculous
and presumptive etc. Ad-Seg is not a punitive classification.
I am a medium custody, Protective custody inmate who is being
punished without cause.
I have tried to solve this by: multiple letters, multiple
concerns, multiple grievances.
I suggest the following: (1) Change the book policy (2) Move
me (3) Prepare for Court, also (4) allow me a memo to study
my religion and have the books I need. You people will not
limit my religion and then allow unlimited Gangland T.V. and
11/7/14 Offender Appeal (Docket No. 3, Att. 2, p. 18). On
November 24, Defendant A. Ramirez (“Ramirez”)
provided an “Appellate Authority Response, ”
stating: “We will continue to follow SOP in regards to
property limits.”). 11/24/14 Appellate Authority
Response (Docket No. 3, Att. 2, p. 18); see also Ex.
C to Ramirez Aff. (Docket No. 46, Att. 20).
October 30, 2014: “Offender
Concern Form” from Plaintiff to Chaplain Wright
Griffin v. Coughlin, 743 F.Supp. 1006, 1025-29 (N.D.N.Y.)
1990 protective custody inmates were entitled to religious
consultations in a private setting rather than at the bars of
their cells. I have requested an in person clergy visit, I
have not had one in over a month, I don't want you to
visit A block, I want you to visit me. You can either give me
clergy visits or go to court it's your choice. Todd Inman
is gone and the gloves are off.
10/30/14 Offender Concern Form (Docket No. 3, Att. 3, p. 15).
Wright responded on October 31, 2014, stating: “What is
your faith preference, I will see if I can find ...