Cleveland v. Harvanek, 041315 FED10, 14-7089
|Opinion Judge:||Carlos F. Lucero, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||CHRISTOPHER CLEVELAND, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. KAMERON HARVANEK, Warden; DOUG BYRD, Warden; SUSAN WELCHER, Mailroom; LISA COLLINS, Law Librarian; JUSTIN JONES, Director DOC; RUSSELL LITTLETON, Unit Mgr; TERRY EDMINSTEN, Unit Mgr; JACLYN RIVERA, ADA; ALICE TURNER, Warden's Assist; DEBBIE MORTON, Admin Review, Defendants-Appellees.|
|Judge Panel:||Before KELLY, LUCERO, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||April 13, 2015|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit|
(D.C. No. 6:13-CV-00247-RAW-SPS) (E.D. Okla.)
ORDER AND JUDGMENT [*]
Cleveland, a state prisoner appearing pro se, 1 asserts that his constitutional rights were violated by various Oklahoma Department of Corrections ("ODOC") employees and other Oklahoma state officials. All of Cleveland's claims involve restrictions on his contact with the outside world that were imposed when he was serving time at the John Lilley Correctional Center after being convicted of child abuse and perjury. Because of his child abuse convictions, Cleveland's step-children were removed from his home, his parental rights to four of his children were terminated, and the state initiated litigation to terminate his parental rights to his fifth child.2 Cleveland claims that ODOC staff denied him access to the prison law library when he sought to prepare briefs opposing the termination of his parental rights. They also denied him library access to prepare a supplemental brief in his direct appeal because he was represented by counsel.
Cleveland was not permitted visitation with his children while imprisoned once his parental rights had been terminated. During their correspondence with the district attorney's office about the status of Cleveland's parental rights, ODOC staff restricted Cleveland's access to mail from his wife that contained copies of their children's birth certificates. Later, ODOC staff prevented Cleveland from receiving other mail from his wife because she and Cleveland were engaged in a scheme to avoid paying postage. Their scheme involved affixing stamps to a location on the envelopes where they would not be cancelled, then reusing the stamps. After a prison official discovered this scheme by marking stamps that Cleveland and his wife used, Cleveland was formally disciplined by ODOC and lost good-time credits.
Cleveland sued various ODOC staff and Oklahoma state officials, alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed some of his claims as unexhausted, and the rest as frivolous. Cleveland timely appealed.
Our review of a dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is de novo. Patel v. Fleming, 415 F.3d 1105, 1108 (10th Cir. 2005). Prisoners must exhaust all available administrative remedies before bringing suit with respect to prison conditions. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Exhaustion pursuant to § 1997e(a) requires "compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules." Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006). "An inmate who begins the grievance process but does...
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