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Guilliot v. Harmon

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

July 19, 2019

SAUL V. GUILLIOT (BOP Register No. 14208-035), Plaintiff,
D.J. HARMON, Warden, ET AL., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Saul V. Guilliot, a federal prisoner, initially brought this pro se action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb et seq. See Dkt. No. 3. And his case was referred to the undersigned United States magistrate judge for pretrial management under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and a standing order of reference from Chief Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn.

         On August 27, 2018, the Court, accepting the undersigned's recommendation, granted Defendants D.J. Harmon, Dr. Jennifer Caperton, G. Schanfish, and Dr. Kevin McDermott's motion to dismiss in part, dismissing all claims but Guilliot's RFRA claim without prejudice to his filing an amended complaint by September 17, 2018. See Dkt. No. 21; see also Dkt. No. 20. Defendants answered on September 10, 2018. And Guilliot failed to file an amended complaint by the Court's deadline.

         As directed by the October 2, 2018 Order Requiring Motion for Summary Judgment and Regarding Discovery and Briefing [Dkt. No. 25], Defendants moved for summary judgment, requesting that the Court dismiss Guilliot's RFRA claim with prejudice, see Dkt. Nos. 26, 27, & 28. Guillot responded. See Dkt. Nos. 24 & 35. And Defendants filed a reply in support of their motion for summary judgment. See Dkt. No. 36.

         The undersigned enters these findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation that the Court should grant the motion for summary judgment and dismiss the RFRA claim - and thus this action - with prejudice.

         Applicable Background

         Guilliot, who affiliates with the Wican faith, is a federal prisoner, incarcerated at FCI Seagoville, and is serving a 151-month sentence for receiving child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A). See United States v. Guilliot, No. 6:08-cr-334 (01) (W.D. La), aff'd, 383 Fed.Appx. 416 (5th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 562 U.S. 1017 (2010). His projected release date is December 21, 2019. See Dkt. No. 28 at 105, 108-09.

         The sole remaining issue is whether Defendants, acting in their official capacities, violated Guilliot's rights under RFRA by denying him access to tarot cards containing nude images. See Dkt. No. 3, ¶¶ 8-11, 43.

         And the undesigned draws the applicable background set out below from Defendants' brief in support of the summary judgment motion [Dkt. No. 27], supported by citation to their appendix [Dkt. No. 28], facts which Guilliot states he “largely agrees with, ” except Defendants' assertion “that the Rider-Waite deck contains images of nude children, ” Dkt. No. 34 at 4.

After serving time at several other federal facilities, Plaintiff was transferred to FCI Seagoville and arrived there on November 20, 2014. Shortly after Plaintiff arrived at FCI Seagoville, staff from the institution's Sex Offender Management Program explained the Correctional Management Plan (CMP) process to Plaintiff. Due to behaviors documented in Plaintiff's files and Plaintiff's disciplinary record while at his prior institutions, including “possession of images of adolescents” and “sexually provocative photos of women, ” Plaintiff was issued a formal CMP warning. Staff explained to Plaintiff that it was determined on a case-by-case basis what behavior was “risk-relevant” so as to prompt issuance of a CMP. ...
On July 9, 2015, approximately seven months after his arrival at FCI Seagoville, a CMP was generated for Plaintiff, which he signed and reviewed on August 7, 2015. The CMP alleged that Plaintiff, while at FCI Seagoville, had submitted an inter-library loan request for a book entitled The Girl, by Samantha Geimer, which is the author's personal account of “having been drugged and sexually assaulted when she was 13-years-old.” The plan explained that it imposed restrictions “in the interest of ensuring the good order, discipline and security of the institution and to protect the public.” The CMP restricted Plaintiff from, among other things, ordering, purchasing, or requesting “any materials ... that contain or could reasonably be expected to contain any depiction ... of sexual content, nudity, or pictures of models who are scantily clad ... or in sexually provocative poses or positions.” The plan further stated that Plaintiff would “not possess or view materials ... that are risk-relevant to you, even if those materials are available to other inmates at this institution (e.g., available in the Education library, etc.).” The CMP warned that “any personal property that is deemed to be risk relevant ... may be confiscated as contraband.” As of November 18, 2016, Plaintiff was removed from the CMP. However, Plaintiff was instructed that future incidents of risk-relevant behavior could result in the CMP being reinstated. ...
Plaintiff sent an electronic request, on January 30, 2017, to Defendant Schanfish, FCI Seagoville's supervisory chaplain, asking him to justify the prison's alleged practice of denying inmates cards from tarot decks that contain nudity. Indeed, on one occasion in 2013, FCI Seagoville staff had denied a different inmate's request for a tarot deck known as the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. The supervisory chaplain had reviewed cards in that deck and determined that certain cards contained images of nude adults and children, including uncovered female breasts and female and male genitalia. FCI Seagoville staff notified the inmate that the request for the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck was denied because the deck contained nudity and violated policy.
In Plaintiff's January 30, 2017 message, he noted, “[m]y faith includes the sacredness of human bodies and sexuality.” Two days later, the prison's Religious Services department responded by referencing two BOP program statements: first, Section 7(c) of BOP Program Statement 5360.09, entitled “Religious Beliefs and Practices, ” which states that, among other religious practices, “nudity” is “never authorized”; and, second, Section 4.6.1 of BOP Program Statement 5324.10, entitled “Sex Offender Programs, ” which permits prison officials to restrict inmates from possessing, among other items, “[i]tems that may be used as sexual paraphernalia (e.g., photographs, pictures, or drawings depicting adults or children in sexually explicit or suggestive poses or situations)” and “[a]ny other personal property deemed inappropriate by the SOMP [Sex Offender Management Program] Coordinator due to its association with the inmate's risk to engage in sexually offensive behavior.” According to Plaintiff, FCI Seagoville's chaplain also personally explained to him that tarot decks containing nudity were not allowed “due to the graffic [sic] pictures and Seagoville being SOMP [Sex Offender Management Program] yard.” The chaplain informed Plaintiff that there were many other tarot decks Plaintiff could order that do not contain nudity, and that one such deck was available in the FCI Seagoville chapel for inmates to check out. Plaintiff agrees that the chaplain “allows pre-approved [tarot] decks.”
On March 2, 2017, Plaintiff was again issued a CMP. The CMP noted that, on January 30, 2017, Plaintiff had sent an electronic message to the Religious Services department in which he disputed the chaplain's decision to remove cards containing nudity from tarot decks. The plan further noted that, on February 2, 2017, a routine search of Plaintiff's property revealed that he was “in possession of two magazines and several loose magazine pages containing a preponderance of scantily clad female models in bikinis and posed in sexually provocative positions, ” including “at least one image of nudity depicting a female model's buttocks” and “images depicting female models engaged in sex acts with adult men and women.” According to the CMP, the magazines contained instructions for ordering pornographic videos. Plaintiff was also found in possession of a photograph of a young “female model wearing short cut shorts and a revealing shirt that partially exposes her breast.” Plaintiff admits that at least some of the images that he had “contained implicit, rather than explicit, sexual content.” The restrictions listed in the latter CMP were similar to the restrictions in the earlier one. As with the previous CMP, the plan explained that the restrictions were “in the interest of ensuring the good order, discipline and security of the institution and to protect the public.” Because Plaintiff had been removed from his prior CMP less than four months earlier, the latter CMP “remain[s] in effect until Plaintiff demonstrates at least two years of clear conduct with no violations of the Plan.”

Dkt. No. 27 at 7-11 (citations and footnote omitted).

         Defendants agree that Guilliot has exhausted administrative ...

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