University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Incumaa v. Stirling PC-SC-0007
Docket / Court 9:12-cv-03493-DCN ( D.S.C. )
State/Territory South Carolina
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On December 12, 2012, a prisoner at the SCDC serving a life-sentence without the possibility of parole filed this pro se lawsuit against the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC). The plaintiff claimed the SCDC was substantially burdening his practice of religion which ... read more >
On December 12, 2012, a prisoner at the SCDC serving a life-sentence without the possibility of parole filed this pro se lawsuit against the director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC). The plaintiff claimed the SCDC was substantially burdening his practice of religion which violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA). Additionally, the plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on the grounds that the SCDC violated his Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process rights. The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that the plaintiff had been in administrative segregation since 1995, after his involvement in a riot where several guards were taken hostage. Since being placed in administrative segregation, he had committed no infractions. The plaintiff practiced a religion called the Nation of Gods and Earths (NOGE), a derivation of the Nation of Islam, also known as the Five Percenters. The SCDC did not recognize NOGE as a legitimate religious denomination and classified NOGE as a Security Threat Group. The plaintiff claimed that the SCDC would not release the plaintiff into the general population unless he renounced his religion.

On October 9, 2013, the case was reassigned to Judge David C. Norton. After requesting supplemental memoranda on the case, Judge Norton granted summary judgment to the defendant in district court on March 11, 2014. The director of the SCDC was terminated on March 11, 2014, and the new director's name was substituted on the docket.

The plaintiff then appealed to the Fourth Circuit. On July 1, 2015, the Fourth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. The court affirmed the dismissal of the RLUIPA claims because the plaintiff failed to show that his confinement in administrative segregation was because of his religious affiliation rather than because of his participation in the riot.

The appeals court reversed the district court’s decision as to the Fourteenth Amendment due process claims. The appeals court determined that the plaintiff had a protected liberty interest because of the hardships of indefinite solitary confinement. Though a prisoner’s placement in administrative segregation was reviewed every 30 days, the appeals court determined there was a triable dispute as to the adequacy of the procedure and remanded that issue.

After the case was remanded, the plaintiff retained private counsel. While it is likely that the case was resolved outside of court after counsel became involved, as of March 2017, no further motions have been filed in response to the remanded section of the case.

Amanda Kenner - 03/04/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Administrative segregation
Religious programs / policies
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
Defendant(s) Bryan P. Stirling
Plaintiff Description Prisoner member of the Nation of Gods and Earth (NOGE).
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
9:12-cv-3493 (D.S.C.)
PC-SC-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/03/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-SC-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/12/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 25]
PC-SC-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/16/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Response to Summary Judgment [ECF# 28]
PC-SC-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 34]
PC-SC-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/13/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 44] (D.S.C.)
PC-SC-0007-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 46]
PC-SC-0007-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Reply to Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum and Affidavit of Robert E. Ward [ECF# 47]
PC-SC-0007-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (2014 WL 958679) (D.S.C.)
PC-SC-0007-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/11/2014
Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion (791 F.3d 517)
PC-SC-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/01/2015
Source: Justia
Judges Norton, David C. (D.S.C.)
PC-SC-0007-0002 | PC-SC-0007-0007 | PC-SC-0007-9000
Thacker, Stephanie Dawn (Fourth Circuit)
PC-SC-0007-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Franklin-Best, Elizabeth Anne (South Carolina)
PC-SC-0007-9000
Johnston, Erin Camille (District of Columbia)
PC-SC-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Lindemann, Andrew F. (South Carolina)
PC-SC-0007-0004 | PC-SC-0007-0006 | PC-SC-0007-0008 | PC-SC-0007-9000

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