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Consiglio v. King

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 25, 2016

SAM CONSIGLIO, JR., Plaintiff,
AUDREY KING, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Sam Consiglio, Jr. (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff’s complaint, filed on June 26, 2015, is currently before the Court for screening.

         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). The pleadings of detainees are construed liberally and are afforded the benefit of any doubt. Blaisdell v. Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations, ” Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989), and “a liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled, ” Bruns v. Nat’l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)). Also, while a plaintiff’s allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         To survive screening, Plaintiff’s claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff’s Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently detained at Coalinga State Hospital, and names Audrey King, the Executive Director, as the sole defendant. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated his First Amendment rights by denying him his right to purchase a computer with internet access. Plaintiff asserts that the computer with internet access is needed because the state made up a mental disorder so that he would be committed for life, and he seeks to “[get] himself out of this nightmare.” Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant claims her actions are to prevent patients from obtaining pornography. Plaintiff says this is “absurd” because patients at Coalinga can obtain pornography and other materials from hospital staff that bring in contraband. Plaintiff seeks an order directing Defendant to allow him to purchase a computer with internet access.

         III.SVP Detainees at Coalinga State Hospital

         Plaintiff alleges that he is a detainee at Coaling State Hospital in Coalinga, California. The Court takes judicial notice of the record from the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Fourth District, Division 1, Case No. D063173, affirming the judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Case No. MH107124, showing that Plaintiff has been involuntarily committed for an indeterminate term to the custody of the State of California Department of State Hospitals, after he was found to be a sexually violent predator (“SVP”) within the meaning of the Sexually Violent Predators Act (“SVP Act”), Welf. & Inst.Code, 1 § 6600 et seq. People v. Consiglio, No. D063173, 2014 WL 643758, (Cal.Ct.App. Feb. 20, 2014), review denied (May 21, 2014).[1]

         To be determined to be an SVP, a detainee must have been convicted of a sexually violent offense and have a diagnosed mental disorder that makes it “likely that he . . . will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.” Cal. Welf. & Instit. Code § 6606(a)(1). Sexually violent offenses include acts such as rape, spousal rape, aggravated sexual assault of a child, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts involving children, oral copulation, continuous sexual abuse of a child and penetration by a foreign object, or kidnaping or assault with the intent to commit one of these other crimes. Cal. Welf. & Instit. Code 6000(b). The sexually violent act must have been committed “by force, violence, duress, menace, fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person, or threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person . . . .” Id. SVPs may be held for an indeterminate term but the continued need for detention must be reviewed annually. Cal. Welf. & Inst.Code § § 6604, 6605.

         Although SVPs are not prisoners, they are detained to protect others from them as well as to provide them treatment. “Sexually violent predators are involuntarily committed because their mental disease makes them dangerous to others. Neither the commitment nor the evaluation proceeding is something they themselves seek in order to obtain a cure. The state evaluates and commits to protect others from them.” Seaton v. Mayberg, 610 F.3d 530, 540 (9th Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted). The SVP Act “is aimed at protecting society from, and providing treatment for, that ‘ small but extremely dangerous group of sexually violent predators’ who have diagnosable mental disorders identified while they are incarcerated for designated violent sex crimes, and who are determined to be unsafe and, if released, to represent a danger to others through acts of sexual violence.” Garcetti v. Superior Court, 85 Cal.App.4th 1113, 1117 (2000) (quoting Stats.1995, ch. 763, § 1)).

         As a SVP, Plaintiff is not entitled to full constitutional rights. See Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 131 (2003). However, he is entitled to substantive rights which include: adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, safety and freedom from unnecessary bodily restraint, as well as “minimally adequate or reasonable training to ensure safety and freedom from undue [physical] restraint.” Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 315-16, 319 (1982). Restrictions imposed on SVPs need not be the least intrusive or those that the Court agrees with, as long as they advance a legitimate interest of the hospital. Valdez v. Rosenbaum, 302 F.3d 1039, 1046 (9th Cir. 2002) (a particular condition or restriction on detainee that is reasonably related to legitimate governmental objective does not, without more, amount to punishment); Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 540 (1979) (institutional policies and practices “are peculiarly within the province and professional expertise of corrections officials” as long as they are not an “exaggerated response” to institutional needs for order and security).

         IV. ...

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