Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Beam v. Madigan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 21, 2017

VERNON L. BEAM, Plaintiff,
v.
LISA MADIGAN, SA GODINEZ, GLADYSE TAYLOR, JOHN BALDWIN, JASON GARNETT, YLONDA HARRINGTON, CONNIE HOLIDAY, ROBERT GADUS, JESSICA STOVER, ALYSSIA WILLIAM SHAFFER, ZACHARY ROECKMAN, THOMAS AUSTIN, CHRISTOPHER CRAIG, DANNY SULLIVAN, ANGLEA WINSLOR, LISA ASHBURY, CINDY GARETTEY, and THOMAS HOLT, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge.

         Plaintiff Vernon Beam, an inmate in Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that his constitutional rights as a civil detainee under the Illinois Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (the “SDP Act”) have been violated repeatedly by the defendants, particularly since Plaintiff was allegedly ordered released in June 2013. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Initially, the Court must independently evaluate the substance of Plaintiff's claim to determine if the correct statute-in this case 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or 28 U.S.C. § 2254-is being invoked. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973) (dismissing § 1983 claims that should have been brought as petitions for writ of habeas corpus); Bunn v. Conley, 309 F.3d 1002, 1006- 07 (7th Cir. 2002) (district court should not have re-characterized declaratory judgment action as petition for habeas corpus); Godoski v. United States, 304 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir. 2002) (court must evaluate independently the substance of the claim being brought, to see if correct statute is being invoked). A petition for a writ of habeas corpus is the proper route “[i]f the prisoner is seeking what can fairly be described as a quantum change in the level of custody-whether outright freedom, or freedom subject to the limited reporting and financial constraints of bond or parole or probation.” Graham v. Broglin, 922 F.2d 379, 381 (7th Cir. 1991).

         Plaintiff is, in part, seeking an order directing defendants to release him from custody. (Doc. 1, p. 94). He cannot bring such a request in the context of this civil rights case under § 1983. Instead, he must bring a petition for habeas corpus relief under § 2254 seeking such relief in order to secure his release. To the extent any of Plaintiff's claims seek to obtain his release, they are dismissed with prejudice, though Plaintiff may bring a petition for habeas corpus relief instead. Further, any claims Plaintiff seeks to bring requesting compensation for his not being released are considered dismissed without prejudice. Thomas v. Schmitt, 380 F.. App'x 549, 550 (7th Cir. 2010) (civil detainee “may not sue for damages under § 1983 unless and until his commitment has been invalidated”) (citing Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994)).

         Upon careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         In his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following allegations: Plaintiff is a civilly committed pretrial detainee at Big Muddy who has been incarcerated as a sexually dangerous person (“SDP”) under the SDP Act since 1992. (Doc. 1, p. 22). Plaintiff was deemed no longer sexually dangerous May 14, 2013 and was ordered to be released on conditional release conditions by Judge James B. Stewart of Knox County Circuit Court on June 14, 2013. (Doc. 1, pp. 42, 54). Plaintiff was not released at that time. Id. On December 5, 2013, the committing court issued another order requiring Plaintiff to be released to his brother's home within ten days. Id. Defendants Godinez and Taylor disobeyed that order and did not release Plaintiff, and Baldwin has similarly not released Plaintiff since. Id. Agents and employees of Godinez, Taylor, and Baldwin have verbally threatened and “communicated to family members of the Plaintiff to not provide housing to the Plaintiff.” (Doc. 1, p. 44). Agents and employees of Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, and Shaffer have also discouraged potential landlords from renting to Plaintiff and have identified the Plaintiff as an SDP to potential landlords. Id. Godinez, Taylor, and Baldwin failed to properly supervise and train their agents and employees as to how to treat Plaintiff and other SDPs. (Doc. 1, p. 46). Further, these actions represent the “policy, custom, and/or practice of” Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, Shaffer, Roeckman, Garnett, and Winslor. (Doc. 1, pp. 48, 58).

         Godinez, Taylor, and Baldwin have denied Plaintiff access to a phone to search for appropriate housing. (Doc. 1, p. 52). Further, the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) does not provide transitional housing facilities for indigent SDP's with conditional release conditions. Id. However, IDOC does provide such transitional housing to criminally convicted sex offenders. Id. Up until the day this suit was filed, Madigan's office had not yet found appropriate housing for the Plaintiff despite an order issued in June 2014 by Judge Stewart requiring the Illinois Attorney General's office “to show how IDOC is looking for housing for the Plaintiff every thirty days.” (Doc. 1, p. 53). Instead, Shaffer consistently refuses to approve potential parole sites for the Plaintiff. Id.

         “Plaintiff has been diagnosed with several ‘mental impairments.'” (Doc. 1, p. 62). “Plaintiff is a disabled American.” Id. Plaintiff alleges has a right to receive treatment so as to effectuate recovery as a civil detainee. (Doc. 1, p. 88). Plaintiff was deemed ready for “Community Base Care and treatment” by Judge Stewart and a state psychologist. (Doc. 1, p. 63). On June 14, 2013, Judge Stewart ordered that the Plaintiff attend “AA Counseling, Anger Management Counseling, Relapse Prevention Counseling, and After Care Counseling in his conditional release conditions.” (Doc. 1, p. 86). Defendants Madigan, Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, Shaffer, Roeckman, Austin, Craig, Garnett, Harrington, and Holt are depriving Plaintiff of “uninstitutionalized” care, to which he has a right per the determination by Judge Stewart. (Doc. 1, p. 63). Further, Holt has stated that there is no AA Counseling at Big Muddy for civilly committed SDPs. (Doc. 1, p. 86). The Plaintiff also does not qualify for anger management counseling at Big Muddy, and Big Muddy does not have a licensed facilitator to provide it regardless. Id. Holt has also stated that Plaintiff does not qualify for relapse prevention counseling at present. Id. Baldwin, Shaffer, Garnett, Harrington, and Holt do not have an After Care Program at Big Muddy for civilly committed SDPs, though they do for the volunteer convicted sex offender program. (Doc. 1, p. 87). Baldwin has failed and continues to fail to ensure Plaintiff is receiving his court-ordered counseling and treatment. Id. He has intentionally failed to provide mental health treatment, and has failed to enact adequate procedures, training, personnel, staffing, and facilities to address the serious therapeutic needs of Plaintiff. Id.

         Plaintiff is also being deprived of his right to the “least restrictive environment possible to protect society” so that he might interact with non-disabled persons by Madigan, Godinez, Roeckman, Craig, Austin, Baldwin, Shaffer, Garnett, Sullivan, Harrington, Stover, and Holt. (Doc. 1, pp. 63-65). This type of environment was ordered by Judge Stewart on May 14, 2013. Id. Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, Shaffer, Roeckman, Craig, Austin, Garnett, Sullivan, Harrington, Stover, and Holt failed to properly advise, train, and supervise their agents and employees regarding the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and subjecting Plaintiff to discrimination related to his disability is a matter of custom, policy, and practice for these defendants. (Doc. 1, pp. 67, 69, 72, 90, 92-93).

         Employees and agents of Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, Roeckman, Austin, Craig, Garnett, and Sullivan subjected Plaintiff to unnecessary and improper restraints as well as searches as seizures repeatedly, including by members of the opposite sex, before and after meeting with visitors, before and during transportation, after receiving medical treatment or visiting the medical center, before and during court, while being transported to court appointments, and before, after, and during prison lockdowns. (Doc. 1, pp. 75-76). Godinez, Taylor, Roeckman, Austin, Craig, Baldwin, Garnett, and Sullivan failed to properly train and supervise their employees and agents in order to prevent these violations, and also maintained a policy, custom, and practice of allowing such violations. (Doc. 1, p. 78-80).

         Plaintiff alleges that the defendants' mistreatment of him was done as a form of punishment and was not reasonably related to any legitimate government objective. (See Doc. 1, pp. 57, 66, 78, 89). As a result of the actions of the defendants, Plaintiff claims he has suffered severe emotional, mental, and physical distress. (Doc. 1, p. 45, 49, 56, 83). In his request for relief, Plaintiff demands immediate release from Big Muddy. (Doc. 1, p. 94). Plaintiff also seeks a permanent injunction ordering IDOC procedures be enacted so that transitional housing facilities are provided to civilly committed SDPs on conditional release conditions. (Doc. 1, pp. 54-55). Similarly, Plaintiff seeks a permanent injunction ordering procedures be enacted to ensure IDOC obeys the regulations of the ADA with respect to civilly committed SDPs on conditional release conditions. (Doc. 1, p. 55). Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages for the alleged violations and a preliminary injunction preventing the defendants from violating Plaintiff's legal rights further. Id.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 6 counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.

Count 1 - Beginning June 14, 2013, Madigan, Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, Shaffer, Roeckman, Austin, Craig, Garnett, Sullivan, Harrington, Stover, and Holt failed to provide Plaintiff with treatment in order to effectuate his recovery, including by failing to make available certain treatment programs and failing to put Plaintiff in the least restrictive environment possible, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Count 2 - Godinez, Taylor, Baldwin, Shaffer, Roeckman, Garnett, and Winslor's agents and employees denied Plaintiff access to a phone to search for housing, discouraged family members and potential landlords from housing Plaintiff, and informed potential landlords that Plaintiff is an SDP, pursuant to a policy of these defendants to interfere in Plaintiff's search for housing in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Count 3 - Defendants failed to provide Plaintiff with institutionalized care for his mental impairments, including by failing to make available certain treatment programs and failing to put Plaintiff in the least restrictive environment possible, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
Count 4 - Defendants have violated Plaintiff's Equal Protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by implementing a policy in which their employees and agents treat SDPs differently from others, including by providing transitional housing and after ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.