United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
VERNON L. BEAM, Plaintiff,
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.
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
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.
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).
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)).
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
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).
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.
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.
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).
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).
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
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
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 ...