United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge
Brandon Morris, an inmate at North Branch Correctional
Institution (NBCI), filed the above-captioned civil rights
action challenging his continued placement on administrative
segregation. ECF No. 1. Defendant Bishop filed a Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, ECF No.
14, and Morris filed a Response in Opposition, ECF No. 16.
The Motion is now ripe for review. The Court finds a hearing
in these matters unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6.
For the reasons that follow, Bishop's dispositive Motion,
construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, will be GRANTED.
entirety, Morris's Statement of Claim is as follows:
I've been in solitary confinement since 1-26-06 for
infractions on said date. Per correctional service article
9-616[c], since I've no other infractions renewing or
prolonging Ad Seg time I'm no longer a risk to general
population. Frank Bishop approves my Ad Seg because the
victim of my crime was a fellow coworker, friend. It's a
personal vendetta and not by policy.
ECF No. 1 at 2. As relief, Morris requests that his
"administrative segregation solitary confinement"
be terminated and that he be "transferred to general
population at an out of state prison[.]" Id. at
Bishop's Motion & Exhibits
has filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion
for Summary Judgment, in which he argues that he is entitled
to judgment in his favor because Morris has not exhausted the
administrative grievance process; Morris's placement on
administrative segregation does not implicate a protected
liberty interest triggering due process protections under the
Fourteenth Amendment; Morris has failed to allege facts to
support an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim
because he has not alleged that he suffered a serious injury;
and Morris's assertions that Bishop is retaliating
against him due to a personal vendetta are conclusory and
unsupported by the evidence.
support of his dispositive Motion, Bishop has submitted
several exhibits. These documents reflect that in 2006, while
incarcerated at Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) on
unspecified charges and receiving medical treatment at a
local hospital under the custody of Officer Wroten, Morris
took Wroten's service revolver and shot Wroten in the
face, causing injuries from which Wroten died several days
later. ECF No. 14-3 at 6, 9-10, 12. After shooting Wroten,
Morris fled with the revolver and "took a hospital
visitor hostage and then carjacked a taxi." Id.
at 12. Morris was later convicted in state court of first
degree murder and other charges related to the incident and
sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of
parole plus 301 years. Id. Following an
institutional hearing, he was also found guilty of several
rule violations stemming from the incident and sanctioned
with six years of disciplinary segregation. Id. at
October 2009 and September 2014, Morris was incarcerated with
the New Mexico Corrections Department pursuant to an
Interstate Corrections Compact (ICC) Agreement. Id.
at 2; ECF No. 14-4 at 2. After threatening and harassing
correctional staff members, New Mexico requested that Morris
be returned to Maryland. ECF No. 14-4 at 2. Morris was
returned to North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) in
September 2014, where he remained until December 2014. ECF
No. 14-3 at 2. At that time, he was placed with the Federal
Bureau of Prisons (BOP) pursuant to a corrections agreement.
Id; ECF No. 14-4 at 3. However, Morris was again
returned to NBCI in February 2016, after the Federal BOP
indicated that it was "unable to continue to house him
due to his extensive management and mental health
concerns" and the fact that he "require[d]
specialized housing" which was in limited supply. ECF
No. 14-4 at 3.
Morris returned to NBCI, he was placed on administrative
segregation. ECF No. 14-3 at 12-14. According to a memorandum
from NBCFs assistant warden, "[d]ue to the nature of the
[2006 murder of Wroten and related crimes] and the
inmate's action[, ] inmate Morris should be listed
dangerous to protect the safety of staff and other
inmates." Id. at 12.
October 2016, Morris was charged with staff assault and other
offenses after throwing a liquid substance on a corrections
officer. Id. at 21. He refused to participate in the
disciplinary hearing, and was found guilty of the charged
violations in abstentia. Id. at 22, 25. Based on the
guilty finding, Morris was sanctioned with 120 days of
disciplinary segregation, which was effective from October
19, 2016 through February 15, 2017. Id. at 4, 26.
After Morris's disciplinary segregation concluded on
February 15, 2017, he was returned to administrative
segregation. See Id. at 3 8 (stating that Morris was
assigned "CM-WJ-Segregation- Administrative"
effective February 15, 2017).
has also submitted copies of the annual certification for
Morris to remain on administrative segregation/special
confinement housing. On February 8, 2017, the administrative
segregation team recommended that Morris "be continued
on Admin Seg until transferred out of state," citing
Morris's conviction and his disciplinary infractions.
Id. at 13. This recommendation was approved by
Headquarters on March 3, 2017. Id. Another
recommendation was submitted the following year on February
7, 2018; it appears that the recommendation was approved,
though no date is provided. Id. at 14. Bishop has
submitted the monthly reviews of Morris's administrative
segregation/special confinement housing occurring between
February 2018 and August 2018, which note that the Department
of Public Safety and Correctional Services is attempting to
find another state to accept Morris under an ICC Agreement.
Id. at 38-51.
Bishop has submitted an affidavit stating that he did not
make decisions regarding Morris "as part of a personal
vendetta," explaining that he "did not work at the
Roxbury Correctional Institution when Inmate Morris escaped
and murdered Officer Wroten" and "did not have a
personal relationship with Officer Wroten." ECF No. 14-6
at 2. Bishop also submitted an affidavit from Samiyah Hassan,
an Administrative Officer with the Inmate Grievance Office
(IGO), stating that Morris had not filed any grievances with
the IGO regarding his administrative segregation status. ECF
No. 14-7 at 1.
filed a Response in Opposition to Bishop's Motion that is
much more detailed than his original Complaint. ECF No. 16.
In the Response, Morris claims that he has been held in
segregation past his segregation end date of February 15,
2017. Id. at 1, 3, 5-6. He conclusorily claims that
Bishop is retaliating against him because "only the
Defendant[']s personal vindictiveness" would cause
Morris to be detained beyond his segregation end date.
Id. at 5. Further, he contends that the monthly and
annual reviews of his segregation status are
"flawed" and "perfunctory in that they were
meaningless" because the case management committee has
failed to consider available alternatives as required by the
Case Management Manual. Id. at 1, 3.
Bishop's contention that Morris has not demonstrated an
injury sufficient to sustain his Eighth Amendment claim,
Morris asserts that he has suffered a serious emotional harm.
Id. at 4.- However, as proof of his injury, he cites
his diagnosis of and treatment for various mental illnesses
during his incarceration outside of Maryland. Id.
(citing diagnosis and treatment in Leavenworth Kansas in 2008
and 2009, and his "clinical contacts" between
December 2014 and October 2015 while he was in custody of the
Federal BOP). For the first time in his response, he contends
that he fears for his life due to suicidal ideation, that he
has asked correctional officers for help with this but they
have ignored him, and that he is "in desperate need of
[his] medication and treatment." Id.
as to Bishop's exhaustion argument, Morris asserts that
he did send a grievance to the IGO but never received a
response, and he speculates that "officers were either
throwing away my mail or ...