Isby v. Brown, No. 15-3334 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Seventh Circuit finds that 10 years of prison segregation raised serious constitutional concerns. In 1989, Isby was incarcerated for robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. Months later, Isby hit a prison counselor. Officers gassed Isby and entered his cell. During the altercation, a dog was killed, and Isby stabbed two officers. Isby was convicted of attempted murder and battery, and sentenced to an additional 40 years. Isby was moved among Indiana prisons and received several major‐conduct reports. Since October 2006, Isby has been in long‐term segregation. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, citing the Eighth Amendment and the Due Process Clause. Unaware that Isby had accumulated three “strikes” for filing frivolous suits or appeals and was restricted under the Prison Litigation Reform Act from seeking pauper status, 28 U.S.C. 1915(g), the court granted Isby’s request to proceed in forma pauperis, but rejected his claims, and allowed him to appeal as a pauper. The Seventh Circuit declined to dismiss the appeal, affirmed with respect to the Eighth Amendment claim, and remanded for further proceedings on Isby’s due process claim. The court noted serious constitutional concerns: the “repeated issuance of the same uninformative language (without any updates or explanation of why continued placement is necessary) and the length of Isby’s confinement, could cause a reasonable trier of fact to conclude that Isby has been deprived” of liberty without due process.