946 F.2d 604 (8th Cir. 1991), 90-2657, Griffin v. Lombardi

Docket Nº:90-2657.
Citation:946 F.2d 604
Party Name:Bobby Lee GRIFFIN, Appellee, v. George A. LOMBARDI; Dick D. Moore; Jim M. Jones; Nikki Nicks; Terry Barnes; James A. Gammon, Appellants.
Case Date:October 15, 1991
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 604

946 F.2d 604 (8th Cir. 1991)

Bobby Lee GRIFFIN, Appellee,


George A. LOMBARDI; Dick D. Moore; Jim M. Jones; Nikki

Nicks; Terry Barnes; James A. Gammon, Appellants.

No. 90-2657.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 15, 1991

Submitted June 11, 1991.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc

Denied Nov. 25, 1991.

Page 605

Joseph P. Whyte, Jefferson City, Mo., argued (Paul M. Rauschenbach, on brief), for appellants.

Thomas P. Danielsons, Hannibal, Mo., for appellee.

Before JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judge, and HENLEY, Senior Circuit Judge, and LOKEN, Circuit Judge.

JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judge.

George Lombardi and other officials of the Missouri Department of Corrections appeal from orders denying their motions for summary judgment on Bobby Lee Griffin's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988) action. Griffin claimed that the prison authorities' refusal to deliver his original diploma earned from the Platte Junior College in a paralegal course and his original grade transcript denied his right to receive mail in violation of the first, fourth, and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution. On appeal, the officials argue that the magistrate judge 1 erred in denying their summary judgment motion because Griffin has no federally protected right to receive an original diploma or grade transcript when he has received a copy of it. The officials also argue that the magistrate judge erred in denying their summary judgment motion based on qualified immunity. We affirm.

Griffin is an inmate at the Missouri Training Center for Men at Moberly, Missouri, and successfully completed a paralegal program at Platte Junior College. The College mailed Griffin his diploma and grade transcript. Nikki L. Nicks, a caseworker at Moberly, informed Griffin that prison regulations prohibited inmates from possessing original diplomas and grade transcripts, and provided him with a copy of both. Nicks also told Griffin that he would be given the originals when he was released from custody, and she offered to send the originals to his family. Griffin

Page 606

wrote a letter to James A. Gammon, Assistant Superintendent at Moberly, complaining about the prison policy and the action taken, and after receiving Gammon's response, Griffin filed a formal grievance. Jimmy M. Jones, superintendent of the Moberly Correctional Center, affirmed the actions of Nicks and of Terry Barnes, mailroom supervisor, in refusing to give the original documents to Griffin. Griffin appealed Jones' decision to George A. Lombardi, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions, who affirmed the actions taken. Following an unsuccessful appeal to Dick D. Moore, Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections and Human Resources, Griffin filed this action naming all of these officials as defendants.

The officials filed a summary judgment motion, arguing that the policy prohibiting inmates from possessing original diplomas and transcripts was rationally related to the legitimate purpose of preventing forged documents within the prison. The officials did not support their motion with affidavits. The district court denied the motion on the recommendation of a magistrate judge. The magistrate judge discussed the four factors set forth in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89-91, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 2261-63, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987), for determining the reasonableness of prison regulations. Griffin v. Lombardi, No. 88-101C slip op. at 2-4 (E.D.Mo. Mar. 21, 1990). Because of the lack of affidavits, the magistrate judge concluded that a question of fact existed as to the connection between Griffin having his diploma and the regulation designed to prevent forgery. Id. at 3. The magistrate judge also denied the motion because the officials failed to fully address the factors set forth in Turner. Id.

The officials then supplemented their summary judgment motion with an affidavit outlining the purposes underlying the policy prohibiting inmates from possessing original documents, and raised the alternative ground of qualified immunity. The affidavit stated that allowing original documents in the prison could lead to illegal trade in forged documents, and explained that such trade could lead to violence within the prison. The affidavit also stated that inmates could use forged certificates to give a false picture of themselves to the Board of Probation and Parole and could be used by one or more unqualified inmates to obtain jobs as inmate law clerks. Appellant Jones, who executed the affidavit, also stated that during his 20 years of service at Moberly, he found inmates capable of forging various documents.

In response, Griffin submitted affidavits from a number of other inmates who had completed the paralegal program at Platte Junior College. Steve Morgan affied that he possessed his original diploma and transcript while incarcerated at Moberly, and that he knew approximately 19 other inmates who had received original diplomas and transcripts while at the Missouri State Penitentiary. Robert Gallimore, also an inmate at Moberly, stated that...

To continue reading