Mayo v. Lane

Decision Date25 January 1989
Docket NumberNo. 85-3217,85-3217
Citation867 F.2d 374
PartiesElizabeth B. MAYO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Michael P. LANE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit

Barbara S. Shulman, Univ. of Chicago Legal Clinic, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

Bret A. Rappaport, Atty. Gen., Civ. Div., Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees.

Before POSNER, FLAUM, and MANION, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.

Elizabeth Mayo appeals from the dismissal of her suit challenging an order by an official of the Illinois prison system that bars her from visiting any Illinois state prison. The suit, brought under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, alleges that the order deprived her of liberty and property without due process of law, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. She sought damages and an injunction. The ground of dismissal was failure to state a claim, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); specifically, the district judge believed that the complaint failed to allege a deprivation of "liberty" or "property" as these terms are understood in cases interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment.

On July 19, 1984, Mrs. Mayo had visited her grandnephew, Larry McCall-Bey, who was serving time for armed robbery at the Dixon Correctional Facility. She had been accompanied by three minors, including Lorraine Davidson. Prison staff observed Davidson chatting with another inmate (not McCall-Bey) and then entering the women's bathroom without signing in at the visitors' desk, as required. Immediately afterward, the staff searched the bathroom and found a large quantity of marijuana. They concluded that Davidson had placed it there. On July 29, the prison's warden wrote Mrs. Mayo a letter reciting these facts and informing her that, "In light of the above, you are permanently restricted from visiting this facility and every other Adult Institution in the State of Illinois." On December 21, 1984, McCall-Bey was paroled. This suit was filed on January 14, 1985.

We see many cases where people invoke the Constitution to get out of prison; this is the first case we have seen where a person is invoking the Constitution to get into one. Mrs. Mayo sensibly does not argue that a person's natural liberty (on which see McKinney v. George, 726 F.2d 1183, 1189 (7th Cir.1984)) is infringed when he or she is forbidden to enter a prison. It is imprisonment that robs a person of natural liberty--not exclusion from prison. (The distinction is basic to the tort of false imprisonment. Locking a person in his room is false imprisonment; locking him out of his room is not. See Martin v. Lincoln Park West Corp., 219 F.2d 622 (7th Cir.1955), and other cases cited in Prosser and Keeton on the Law of Torts Sec. 11, at p. 47 n. 6 (5th ed. 1984).) Mrs. Mayo makes four arguments for why she is nonetheless being deprived of liberty or property by being forbidden to visit Illinois state prisons. The first is that she is an ordained minister, and an Illinois statute provides that "Clergy, religious chaplain and attorney visiting privileges shall be as broad as the security of the institution or facility will allow." Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 38, p 1003-7-2(f). The district judge refused to consider the possible bearing of this provision because the complaint had failed to cite it or to allege that Mrs. Mayo is a minister, ordained or otherwise. For reasons we shall explain, she has no standing to complain that the state deprived her of an entitlement (if any) created by the quoted language.

Mrs. Mayo argues that her natural liberty includes a right of association with members of her family, such as grandnephew McCall-Bey, and that this right in turn comprehends the right to visit him in prison. This is not a frivolous argument. The concept of liberty in the Fourteenth Amendment has been held to embrace a right to associate with one's relatives. See, e.g., Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494, 97 S.Ct. 1932, 52 L.Ed.2d 531 (1977) (plurality opinion); Bergren v. City of Milwaukee, 811 F.2d 1139, 1144 (7th Cir.1987); Shondel v. McDermott, 775 F.2d 859, 860-61 (7th Cir.1985); Ellis v. Hamilton, 669 F.2d 510 (7th Cir.1982); Trujillo v. Board of County Commissioners, 768 F.2d 1186, 1188-89 (10th Cir.1985). (One court has even held--we are astonished to report--that dating is a Fourteenth Amendment liberty. See Wilson v. Taylor, 733 F.2d 1539 (11th Cir.1984); see generally IDK, Inc. v. County of Clark, 836 F.2d 1185, 1191-93 (9th Cir.1988).) But it is a slight argument, for reasons well discussed in a case factually similar to the present one, White v. Keller, 438 F.Supp. 110, 120 (D.Md.1977), aff'd per curiam, 588 F.2d 913 (4th Cir.1978). Prison necessarily disrupts the normal pattern of familial association, so lawful imprisonment can hardly be thought a deprivation of the right of relatives to associate with the imprisoned criminal. Cf. O'Bannon v. Town Court Nursing Center, 447 U.S. 773, 788, 100 S.Ct. 2467, 2476-77, 65 L.Ed.2d 506 (1980) ("members of a family who have been dependent on an errant father ... may suffer serious trauma if he is deprived of his liberty or property as a consequence of criminal proceedings, but surely they have no constitutional right to participate in his trial or sentencing procedures"). More fundamentally, the person with the primary stake in the deprivations caused by imprisonment is the prisoner himself, and he rather than his relatives is the proper party to complain about those deprivations. More fundamentally still, Mrs. Mayo has no standing to assert a constitutional right to visit her grandnephew in prison, because there is no allegation in the complaint, or anywhere else in the record, that she has been prevented from visiting McCall-Bey or any other relative imprisoned by the State of Illinois. There was no interference with her visit on July 19, 1984. There is no suggestion, by way of affidavit or otherwise, that she wanted to visit McCall-Bey after that, before his release from prison on parole in December; or that any of her other relatives are in prison or about to be put there.

In short there is no indication either that Mrs. Mayo has been injured by the order barring her from visiting Illinois prisons (and so might obtain damages) or that she would derive a benefit from rescission of the order (and so might be aided by the injunction she seeks). She is like a person who is in a room locked from the outside but does not know the room is locked and does not attempt to leave during the time it is locked. More precisely, she is like a person standing outside a locked room, neither knowing the room is locked nor desiring to enter it. Such a person incurs no harm from the fact that the door is locked.

Mrs. Mayo's next argument is also based on paragraph 1003-7-2(f) of chapter 38 of the Illinois Revised Statutes, and in particular on the statement in that paragraph that "All of the institutions and facilities of the Department shall permit every committed person to receive visitors." If this provision creates any rights (as suggested in United States ex rel. Adams v. O'Leary, 659 F.Supp. 736 (N.D.Ill.1987), but the question must be regarded as an open one since a district judge's opinion is not an authoritative precedent, Colby v. J.C. Penney Co., 811 F.2d 1119, 1124 (7th Cir.1987); cf. Lingle v. Norge Division of Magic Chef, Inc., 823 F.2d 1031, 1044 n. 14 (7th Cir.1987) (en banc), rev'd on other grounds, --- U.S. ----, 108 S.Ct. 1877, 100 L.Ed.2d 410 (1988)), they are rights of prisoners. The quoted language creates, at most, a right to receive visitors, not a right to visit. Mrs. Mayo has no standing to assert such a right, unless perchance as the representative of a prisoner who wants her to visit and is somehow unable to assert his rights directly, such hindrance to first-party litigation being the normal prerequisite to allowing a third party to assert one's rights. See Singleton v. Wulff, 428 U.S. 106, 116, 96 S.Ct. 2868, 2875, 49 L.Ed.2d 826 (1976). But nowhere is it alleged that any prisoner desires a visit from Mrs. Mayo, let alone that such prisoner is unable to enforce without her aid whatever right he might have to receive a visit from her. The absence of an allegation that any prisoner desires a visit from Mrs. Mayo excuses us from having to consider possible exceptions to the hindrance requirement for third-party litigation. See Gometz v. Henman, 807 F.2d 113, 115 (7th Cir.1986).

Last, Mrs. Mayo invokes Administrative Directive 05.01.106 issued by the Illinois prison system. This directive is in two sections, "Policy" and "Procedure." The "Policy" section states, so far as bears on this case, that "In order to preserve the security of the facility, visitor access shall be carefully controlled. 1. Visitors who demonstrate inappropriate behavior will be temporarily or permanently restricted from institutional visits." The reference to "inappropriate behavior" is too vague to confer an entitlement on visitors. It does not purport to constrain the exercise of discretion by the prison authorities, and thus does not create the sort of entitlement that resembles, and counts as, property. Cf. Reed v. Village of Shorewood, 704 F.2d 943, 948 (7th Cir.1983). The "Procedure" section of the directive sets forth procedures for determining whether a visitor has behaved inappropriately and, if so, whether the visitor should be barred temporarily or permanently. Procedures alone do not create a substantive entitlement on which a suit under the due process clause may be based. See, e.g., Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 471, 103 S.Ct. 864, 871, 74 L.Ed.2d 675 (1983); Archie v. City of Racine, 847 F.2d 1211, 1217 (7th Cir.1988) (en banc); Mathews v. Fairman, 779 F.2d 409 (7th Cir.1985); Shango v. Jurich, 681 F.2d 1091, 1100-03 (7th Cir.1982). However, the "Procedure" section contains, besides procedures, a long list of behaviors that warrant temporary barring and another long list of...

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