United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Houck is incarcerated at Western Correctional Institution
(WCI). Civil Action No. GJH-17-2801 is
Houck's third complaint alleging that he is in danger
from inmate Joey Poindexter. Civil Action No. GJH-17-3182 is
one of nine cases, including Civil Action No. GJH-17-2801,
alleging Houck cannot be safely housed unless he is celled by
is proceeding in forma pauperis in both cases. The in forma
pauperis statute permits an indigent litigant to initiate an
action in federal court without paying the filing fee. 28
U.S.C. §1915(a). To guard against potential abuse of
this privilege, the statute requires a court to dismiss any
claim by an indigent litigant which fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The above cases will be dismissed under
Court incorporates by reference, its Memorandum Opinions, the
parties' pleadings, and exhibits filed in Houck's
previously adjudicated cases.
Houck v. Western Correctional Institution,
case, Houck alleged that Joey Poindexter asked him for sex on
June 2, 2016. Houck claimed there was a “hit” on
him, and he feared for his life. Houck's only specific
allegation was that Poindexter allegedly called him
“hot” and asked for sex. Houck stated he had
filed a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) claim about the
incident but provided no further details to establish that he
suffered physical injury or was in danger of physical injury.
GJH-16-2123, Memorandum Opinion, ECF 16 at 2, 5. As relief,
Houck sought transfer to another correctional institution,
placement in protective custody, assignment to a cell by
himself, and damages. Id., Complaint, ECF No. 1 at
1-2; ECF No. 16 at 2.
Houck's assertion of danger, the Court ordered an
expedited response from the State. The State's Response
included a declaration from Correctional Case Manager James
Wilson dated July 15, 2015, in which he stated prior to
Houck's arrival at WCI, Houck had been housed by himself
pending sentencing. Since his arrival at WCI, Houck had been
sharing a cell with Poindexter without incident. Id.
ECF No. 5-1 at 1-2. Wilson stated that before Houck and
Poindexter were housed together, each inmate's
“enemy list” was reviewed to ensure they were not
documented enemies. Id. ECF No. 5-1 ¶3. Wilson
declared that Houck had not filed an Administrative Remedy
Procedure (ARP) alleging that Poindexter was threatening to
kill him or that he was sexually harassing Houck, nor had he
filed a PREA complaint. Id. The State also provided
verified records showing that Houck was housed in protective
custody, single cell placement had been considered for him
and determined unnecessary, he had been housed with
Poindexter without incident, and his safety continued to be
monitored by prison staff. Id.; ECF No. 5 at 5.
February 2, 2017, the Court granted Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment and denied with prejudice Houck's
Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (to keep him on
protective custody and to cell him by himself) and denied
Houck's Motion for Summary Judgment. Id. ECF No.
16, 17 at 7-8.
Houck v. Warden, WCI, Civil Action No.
claimed that he was unsafe in the general prison population
at WCI due to an August 17, 2017 physical and sexual assault
by his cellmate Poindexter and claimed that the Bloods, a prison
gang, had ordered a hit on his life. Houck claimed that at
sentencing the judge had ordered him placed on protective
custody for his safety because he had testified in a separate
criminal action against other defendants. Complaint, ECF No.
1 at 3. Houck asked to be transferred to a different prison
or celled alone and awarded damages. Houck requested in the
alternative that he be housed on Unit 1 or 4 so that he could
obtain a prison job. Id.
filed a copy of Houck's sentencing transcript with their
dispositive motion which showed that the sentencing judge had
recommended “that the Department of Corrections take
whatever steps are necessary to house [Houck] in a secure and
safe environment.” ECF No. 10-2 at 40-41; ECF No. 33 at
review of the transcript, it was clear that the judge had
recommended, but did not, contrary to Houck's assertions,
order his placement on protective custody. Importantly, the
State's response also provided records indicating that
none of the individuals on Houck's enemy list were housed
near him. ECF No. 33 at 3. The Court also observed that Houck
changed his description of the August 17, 2017 incident
several times. Initially, he told WCI's Correctional Case
Management Supervisor, Corey Walker, that he had an argument
with Poindexter. Later Houck said that he had a physical
altercation with Poindexter. On still another occasion, he
alleged he was sexually assaulted. GJH-18-83 Memorandum
Opinion, ECF No. 33 at 3; see also Decl. of Corey
Walker, ECF No. 10-1 ¶ 4.
Court determined that following the altercation with
Poindexter, Houck was escorted to the medical room for
evaluation and placed on administrative segregation pending
investigation by the Internal Investigation Division (IID).
Poindexter denied sexually assaulting Houck. Poindexter told
the IID investigator that Houck had been threatening to use
PREA to get out of WCI and that Houck's attack on him was
a way to “get a single cell.” ECF No. 33 at 5-6.
Poindexter told the investigator that “Houck has been
acting crazy for several days by making threats and calling
him vulgar names.” Id. at 5.
Poindexter said earlier on the day of the incident, Houck had
accused him of getting into his locker and threatened to kill
him. Poindexter claimed Houck had two weapons, one of which
was an ink pen. Poindexter described how Houck had backed him
against the wall, and then stabbed him in the right arm with
the pen. Id. Poindexter claimed he was defending
himself during the altercation, and that Houck had been
threatening to use PREA to get out of WCI for weeks.
Id. The IID investigator determined that
Poindexter's medical record was consistent with his
reported injury. Id. at 6. After the IID
investigator interviewed Houck and Poindexter and reviewed
their medical records after the incident, he concluded
Houck's claims were unsubstantiated. Id. Indeed,
Houck's own statements to the investigator show he was
unsure whether a sexual assault had occurred. ECF No. 33 at
written statement about the incident, written on August 17,
[Houck's] transfer request to a medium security prison
was denied on Friday, and since this past weekend, he has
been getting in my face several times a day, looking for a
fight. He started this past Saturday by blaming me for his
transfer request being denied. I know it makes no sense, but
in his mind, it was apparently my fault. His exact words to
me were “they want to keep me here so I can kill your
Id. at 6.
declined to provide a statement after the incident. The
state's verified records showed that Houck was not housed
at the same facility (WCI) as his verified enemies and, since
the August 17, 2017 incident he was housed away from
Poindexter. Id. at 5, 10. As to the alleged hit
ordered on him, Houck admitted to the IID investigator that
he had received no verbal or written threats. Id. at
November 15, 2017, Houck's case manager informed him that
he would be moved from protective custody to general
population housing at WCI. Houck lived in the general prison
population at WCI without incident between December 1, 2017
and February 6, 2018. Id. at 6. On February 8, 2018,
Houck was moved to administrative segregation ...