United States District Court, D. Maryland
TERRY L.S. DORSEY #193579 Plaintiff,
WARDEN BOBBY P. SHEARIN WARDEN FRANK BISHOP, JR. CHAPLAIN KEVIN LAMP Defendants.
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants', Defendants
Warden Bobby P. Shearin, Warden Frank Bishop, Jr, and
Chaplain Kevin Lamp, Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17). The
Motion is ripe for disposition. Having reviewed the Motions
and supporting documents, the Court finds no hearing
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For
the reasons outlined below, the Court will deny
Terry L.S. Dorsey is an inmate at North Branch Correctional
Institution (“NBCI”). Beginning in March of 2013,
Dorsey asked Kevin Lamp, Chaplain at NCBI, at least two times
about Native American religious services. (Compl. at 2, ECF
No. 1). Dorsey learned that Defendant Shearin, who was then
Warden at NBCI, would not permit Native American services at
NBCI because of their use of ceremonial tobacco.
(Id.). Dorsey also learned that eight people were
needed for a group. (Id.).
filed Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”)
request No. NBCI-1558-13 asking for Native American Worship
Services at NBCI, which Shearin denied. (Id. at 6).
On July 15, 2013, Dorsey appealed Shearin's decision to
the Commissioner of the Division of Correction, who found his
appeal meritorious, and instructed Shearin to adequately
accommodate the religious requirements of the Native American
Faith Group. (ECF No. 24-1 at 4, 5-6). On August 28, 2014,
Dorsey filed a grievance with the Inmate Grievance Office
(“IGO”) complaining that he was improperly
classified as Maximum II security. Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Georgia S. Brady held a hearing on May
20, 2015. (ECF No. 24-1 at 19- 39).
written decision dated August 31, 2015, ALJ Brady concluded
that Dorsey's reclassification to Maximum II security
status did not comply with DOC policy or with COMAR
12.02.24.04B and C or with COMAR 12.0207.03A or B.
(Id.). The ALJ also found that violation of the
policy and applicable regulations prejudiced Dorsey.
(Id. at 38-39). The ALJ determined that as a matter
of law, Dorsey did not have a liberty interest in avoiding
assignment to Maximum II security status, and the DOC's
reclassification process in this regard did not violate his
rights to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. No
damages or other relief arising from the reclassification
decision was awarded. Id.
5 2015, Dorsey filed ARP NBCI 0886-15 complaining that he has
not been able to attend religious services because he is
classified as a Max II security inmate. (ECF No. 24-1 at
17-18). On July 10, 2015, the Warden denied the ARP as
without merit, noting that Dorsey had been at NBCI for three
years but in the general population for “a couple of
days” due to his behavior. (Id. at 17).
Opposition, Dorsey argues that the Native American worship
services provided at NBCI is based on Lakota tradition and
does not offer him the opportunity to study his Blackfoot
Native American beliefs. (Pl.'s Opp. at 3, ECF No. 24).
Dorsey raised this concern in ARP NBCI-2424-15, which he
filed on November 25, 2015, and was denied on January 22,
2016. (ECF No. 24-1 at 12; ECF No. 17-3 at 10). On March 31,
2016, his appeal was dismissed by the Commissioner who wrote:
“Your claim that the volunteer group, Iron House
Council, strictly practices the Lakota form of worship is
inaccurate assessment. Iron House Council members are of
various Native American tribes of which some are even of the
Blackfoot tribe . . .” (ECF No. 24-1 at 11). The
Commissioner's denial indicated that the group is
afforded latitude to practice and study other tribes, and
noted that Dorsey had failed to specify the differences
between what was being practiced and his practice
Lamp maintains that Native American religious worship
requires congregate ceremonies to be held outdoors on sacred
ground covered in grass. (Lamp Decl., ECF No. 24-2). Because
there is little grassy area at NBCI and there is no outside
area covered in grass far enough from secure areas, NBCI
determined that no place was consistent with good security
practices. (Id.). Lamp contacted Iron Horse Council,
a volunteer group which assists in other DOC facilities, to
hold services at NBCI. On May 27, 2014, the Council began
conducting Native American services for general population
inmates, and continues to do so on a bi-weekly basis.
(Id.). Lamp attests that due to NBCI security
concerns, religious congregate services are provided only to
inmates in the general population. (Id.).
provided copies of Dorsey's housing records. Case Manager
Randy Durst summarized this information in his Declaration.
(ECF No. 17-4 at 1).
17, 2017 to March 19, 2014, Dorsey was in the
general prison population.
19, 2014 to August 4, 2014, Dorsey was placed in
administrative segregation because there was reason to
believe Dorsey had aided an assault on an inmate. ECF No.
17-4 at pp. 4-7.
4, 2014 to September 26, 2014, Dorsey was returned
to the general prison population.
26, 2014 to January 15, 2015, Dorsey was placed on
administrative segregation for security ...