935 F.2d 272 (7th Cir. 1991), 90-3118, Wade v. Aikens

Docket Nº:90-3118.
Citation:935 F.2d 272
Party Name:Michael E. WADE, Plaintiff/Appellant, v. James AIKENS, Commissioner, Department of Corrections, John Nunn, Director, Adult Institutions and Norman Owens, Director, Classification, et al., Defendants/Appellees.
Case Date:May 29, 1991
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 272

935 F.2d 272 (7th Cir. 1991)

Michael E. WADE, Plaintiff/Appellant,

v.

James AIKENS, Commissioner, Department of Corrections, John Nunn, Director, Adult Institutions and Norman Owens, Director, Classification, et al., Defendants/Appellees.

No. 90-3118.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 29, 1991

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA7 Rule 53 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Decided June 6, 1991.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, No. 90 C 204, Allen Sharp, Chief Judge.

N.D.Ind.

AFFIRMED.

Before CUMMINGS, POSNER and MANION, Circuit Judges.

ORDER

Michael Wade appeals pro se from the district court's grant of summary judgment for the defendants. For the following reasons we affirm. 1

I.

Michael Wade is an inmate at the Indiana State Prison. Wade began serving a life-sentence in 1978 for inflicting injury during the commission of a robbery and in 1988 he received a minimum security classification, permitting him to be housed in the K Dormitory 2 (now called the Lakeside Correctional Unit), located outside the Indiana State Prison's main security area. On March 12, 1990, the defendants transferred Wade from the K Dormitory to a maximum security unit inside the walls of the Indiana State prison, apparently increasing his minimum security classification to a maximum security classification. Wade did not receive notice of or a hearing concerning the change in his security classification and his subsequent transfer. There is no suggestion that the defendants increased Wade's security classification and transferred him for disciplinary reasons. Wade filed an amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several prison officials for allegedly violating his constitutional rights when they took away his minimum security status and transferred him to a maximum security unit without due process of law and in retaliation for his filing a tort claim against the prison. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants.

II.

This court reviews the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo and will affirm only "if ... there is no genuine issue as to any material fact ... and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Trautvetter v. Quick, 916 F.2d 1140, 1147 (7th Cir.1990) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). When reviewing the grant of summary judgment we draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Randle v. LaSalle Telecommunications Inc., 876 F.2d 563, 567 (7th Cir.1989).

Initially, we note that there is nothing in the record to support Wade's contention that the district court ignored his amended complaint and affidavit in ruling on defendants' motion for summary judgment. Moreover, our de novo review of the record convinces us that the district court properly granted defendants' motion for summary judgment.

Wade argues that he has a liberty interest in retaining his minimum security classification and that the defendants violated his due process rights by increasing his minimum security status without notice or a hearing. The protections of the due process clause are triggered by the existence of a life, liberty, or property interest which constitutes a "legitimate claim of entitlement." Kentucky Dept. of Corrections v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 460 (1989); Russ v. Young, 895 F.2d 1149, 1152 (7th Cir.1989). A protected liberty interest may originate from the due process clause itself or state law may create a protected liberty interest. Id.

Indiana prisoners possess no liberty interest in their security classifications. See Kincaid v. Duckworth, 689 F.2d 702, 704 (7th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 461 U.S. 946 (1983). Wade contends that Indiana Code Section 11-10-1-6, addressing annual review of an inmate's classification and assignment, creates an enforceable liberty interest in a prisoner classification status. But a state-created procedural right does not, in itself, create a protectible liberty interest. See Shango v. Jurich, 681 F.2d 1091, 1101 (7th Cir.1982). Section 11-10-1-6 sets forth a non-exhaustive list of factors for prison officials to consider when classifying inmates, but it does not impose any substantive limits on official discretion in classifying inmates or mandate any particular outcome. As such, it is insufficient to create a constitutionally protected liberty interest in security...

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