United States District Court, D. Maryland
COLIN B. WILLIAMS, JR., #253-434 Plaintiff
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER BLACK, Defendant
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Colin B. Williams, who is self-represented, has filed suit,
supported by exhibits, against defendant Shakiara Black, a
Baltimore County Correctional Officer employed by the
Baltimore County Department of Corrections
(“BCDC”). At the relevant time, he was
incarcerated at BCDC as a pretrial detainee. ECF 26-1 at 1.
alleges the denial of due process in regard to two
disciplinary hearings. ECF 1. He seeks injunctive relief and
compensatory damages of $1, 000 a day for the 45 days he was
sanctioned with restrictive housing.
is Black's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for
summary judgment. ECF 26. It is supported by a memorandum
(ECF 26-1) (collectively, the “Motion”) and
numerous exhibits. Williams filed an opposition and a
Declaration (ECF 35; ECF 35-1), to which Black filed a reply.
ECF 38. Williams subsequently filed a motion for partial
summary judgment (ECF 43), supported by his own Declaration
(ECF 43-1), to which Black filed an opposition. ECF 44.
hearing is necessary to resolve the issues. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
I will grant Black's motion for summary judgment (ECF 26)
as to Williams' claims arising from his hearing on April
4, 2017, with regard to contraband charges, and deny
Black's motion for summary judgment as to Williams'
claims arising from his hearing on April 5, 2017, as to an
assault charge. Further, I will deny Williams' cross
motion for partial summary judgment as to his claim arising
from his hearing on April 4, 2017, on the contraband charges,
without prejudice to his right to refile after appointment of
counsel for him.
filed this action against BCDC and Black on April 26, 2017,
alleging that Officer Black violated his due process and
equal protection rights. Williams, now confined at the Howard
County Detention Center,  claimes that during the time he was a
pretrial detainee at BCDC, Officer Black presided over two
disciplinary hearings that were not fair or impartial and, as
a result, he was sanctioned with 45 days of restrictive
housing. ECF 1. Williams also claims the BCDC disciplinary
procedure is unfair and does not comply with the Code of
Maryland Regulations (“COMAR”), because it
“subjects one to a disciplinary hearing in front of an
officer who is not detached or neutral from the
institution.” ECF 1 at 2.
12, 2017, BCDC filed a motion to dismiss. ECF 10. On August
24, 2017, BCDC and Officer Black filed a motion to dismiss
or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, supported by a
memorandum and exhibits. ECF 19; ECF 19-1.
Memorandum Opinion and Order of February 20, 2018 (ECF 24,
ECF 25) I granted BCDC's motion to dismiss (ECF 10),
construed Black's motion (ECF 19) as a motion for summary
judgment, granted Black's motion for summary judgment as
to the equal protection claim, and denied the motion for
summary judgment, without prejudice, as to the due process
denying summary judgment as to the due process claim, I noted
that Williams' 45-day placement on restricted housing
seemed to amount to a disciplinary action that triggered due
process protections and other protections under state law.
ECF 24 at 15, 18. In light of the limited record before me at
the time concerning the process afforded Black, including
what evidence was actually presented at his disciplinary
hearings, the circumstances surrounding his refusal to appear
at his second hearing, why a witness he requested, Officer
Johnson, refused to appear, and the summary and conclusory
nature of the hearing officer's findings, I found summary
judgment inappropriate on the record before me. ECF 24 at 15,
I granted Black the opportunity to file a dispositive motion,
supported by verified evidence, to address whether
Williams' placement in restrictive housing implicated a
liberty interest triggering due process protections and, if
so, whether the procedures provided to him satisfied these
requirements. Thereafter, Black filed the pending Motion. I
also granted Williams additional time to respond. ECF 32.
Williams' response is docketed at ECF 35.
December 28, 2018, Williams filed a motion partial summary
judgment and declaration which essentially reiterates the
allegations in his Complaint and opposition to Black's
dispositive motion. ECF 43. Black filed an opposition to
Williams' motion. ECF 44.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND 
March 31, 2017, Williams was involved in an assault against
Officer K. Johnson. See Incident A3170834; ECF 1-1
(Report of Incident) at 2. Approximately one hour later, as
Sgt. T. Brooks was packing Williams' personal property
for transfer, Brooks discovered a bag of homemade wine
wrapped in a blanket. ECF 1-1 (Report of Incident) at 1.
Williams, who was the sole occupant of the cell where the
contraband was found, was charged with possession of
contraband. See Incident A3170835; ECF 1-1 (Report
of Incident) at 1.
March 31, 2017, Williams was provided with notice of the
charges arising from both incidents and signed
acknowledgements of receipt of the notices. ECF 26-4 at 2
(charges and incident report A3170834); ECF 26-5 at 2
(charges and incident report A3170835); ECF 35-1, Declaration
of Colin Williams, ¶19; ECF 26-2, Affidavit of Shakiara
Black, ¶¶ 12, 13, 15, 25. He asserts the written
dispositions he received lacked a meaningful explanation of
his guilt and rationale for the disciplinary sanctions
imposed. ECF 35-1, Williams Decl., at 8.
Black declares that she has received training in the
disciplinary hearing process and may not conduct a hearing
for an incident in which she was involved. Further, she avers
that she was not involved in the incidents of March 31, 2017.
ECF 26-2, Black Aff., ¶¶ 9, 10, 11; BCDC Directive
Disciplinary Process ECF 26-3§ IV.C.5.
April 4, 2017 Hearing Assault Incident (A3170834)
first incident, A3170834, Williams was charged with
interfering with correctional personnel in the performance of
duties, assaulting an employee, failure to obey the order of
correctional staff, being in an unauthorized area, and
changing cell assignments. ECF 19-3 at 1; ECF 19-2, Black
April 4, 2017 hearing, Black asked Williams whether he wanted
to call any witnesses. Williams asked to call Officer
Johnson, the officer involved in the assault. ECF 35-1,
Williams' Decl., ¶21. Black postponed the hearing
until the following day to arrange for Johnson to attend the
hearing. ECF 35-1, Williams' Decl., ¶26; ECF 26-2,
Black Aff., ¶26.
Contraband Incident (A3170835)
second incident, A3170835, Williams was charged with
possession of contraband and possession or manufacture of
unauthorized substances. ECF 19-4 at 1; ECF 19-2, Black Aff.,
advised Black that he did not want to call any witnesses
regarding the contraband incident (A3170835) and the hearing
on the contraband charges proceeded. ECF 35-1, Williams'
advised Williams of his rights as listed in the Inmate Rule
and Regulations Handbook, but Williams refused to sign the
acknowledgement. ECF 35-1, Williams' Decl., ¶ 22;
ECF 26-2, Black Aff., ¶¶ 17, 18; Inmate Rules and
Regs, ECF 26-9. Williams asserts he refused to sign the
acknowledgment because it included
“boilerplate” that “a ...