111 F.3d 460 (6th Cir. 1997), 96-1217, Mackey v. Dyke

Docket Nº:96-1217.
Citation:111 F.3d 460
Party Name:Wendell Shane MACKEY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Dennis DYKE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 16, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 460

111 F.3d 460 (6th Cir. 1997)

Wendell Shane MACKEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Dennis DYKE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 96-1217.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

April 16, 1997

Argued Jan. 27, 1997.

Paul D. Reingold (argued and briefed), Michigan Clinical Law Program, Ann Arbor, MI, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Page 461

Jonathon C. Pierce, E. Michael Stafford (argued and briefed), Office of the Attorney General, Corrections Division, Lansing, MI, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before: GUY, SUHRHEINRICH, and BATCHELDER, Circuit Judges.

SUHRHEINRICH, Circuit Judge.

State prisoner Wendell Shane Mackey appeals summary judgment for Michigan corrections officials ("Defendants") in this civil rights claim. The question in this case is whether Defendants violated Mackey's due process rights by failing to return him promptly to the general prison population after he was released from administrative segregation. We AFFIRM.

I.

This case is before us on appeal a second time. See Mackey v. Dyke, 29 F.3d 1086 (6th Cir.1994). We are again asked to answer the same question, this time in light of superseding Supreme Court precedent. See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 132 L.Ed.2d 418 (1995).

At all times relevant to this case, Mackey was a prisoner in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections ("MDOC"). 1 On July 7, 1988, Defendants found Mackey guilty of misconduct for possession of illegal contraband and for assaulting another prisoner. Prison officials reclassified Mackey to administrative segregation.

During Mackey's period of segregation, the MDOC staff filed monthly reviews on him pursuant to Michigan Admin.Code R. 791.4405(a)(5). Each review from September 1988 to February 1989 recommended that Mackey remain in segregation because he presented a danger to other prisoners or staff. The March 1989 review recommended his release to the general prison population, but the committee charged with oversight of security classification denied the recommendation. The April 1989 review again recommended his release into the general prison population, and this time the committee accepted the recommendation.

Although the recommendation to reclassify Mackey had been approved, he was not immediately transferred. In fact, Mackey remained in administrative segregation for an additional 117 days. His monthly reviews continued. Each review simply stated that Mackey had been either "released from segregation" on April 20 and that transfer was "pending," or "released pending transfer."

On June 6, 1989, the prison warden wrote Mackey a letter stating that Mackey had been recommended for reclassification and that he would be transferred when bed space became available. On June 11, 1989, Mackey filed a prisoner grievance concerning his continued confinement in administrative segregation. On June 21, 1989, Defendants sent Mackey a letter stating that although he had been released from administrative segregation, a current scarcity of beds at the two facilities eligible to receive him prevented his transfer. When Mackey's status did not change during the ensuing month, he filed another grievance. On August 17, 1989, Defendants reclassified Mackey into the general population at Marquette Branch Prison.

Three years later Mackey filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants claiming that they had violated his right to due process by failing to reclassify him promptly after he was released from administrative segregation. 2 Defendants filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment. A magistrate judge held a hearing and issued a report recommending that: (1) Defendants' motion to dismiss be granted because no federally protected liberty interest existed in housing pursuant to a particular security classification; (2) even if a liberty interest existed, Defendants provided Mackey with all the process he was due; and (3) if there had been a violation of Mackey's constitutional rights, Defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The district court accepted the magistrate judge's recommendations in an order entered May 28,

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1993, and granted summary judgment to Defendants.

This Court reversed, holding: (1) under Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 103 S.Ct. 864, 74 L.Ed.2d 675 (1983) and Kentucky Department of Corrections v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 109 S.Ct. 1904, 104 L.Ed.2d 506 (1989), Michigan's prison regulations created a liberty interest in Mackey's transfer from administrative segregation after he no longer qualified for segregation, and (2) that corrections officials were not entitled to qualified immunity in light of...

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