Dyous v. Psychiatric Security Review Board
ORDER granting 15 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Robert N. Chatigny on 1/25/17. (Karges, K)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
: Case No. 3:16-cv-283(RNC)
Psychiatric Security Review
RULING AND ORDER
Plaintiff brings this action against the State of
Connecticut Psychiatric Security Review Board (“the
Board”) seeking a declaratory judgment that his
confinement at Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut
Valley Hospital violates the Due Process and Equal
Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
submits that (1) since his commitment to Whiting, he
has been convicted of a crime in state court after
being found competent to assist in his defense; (2)
inmates who are similarly situated are released at the
completion of their prison sentences; and (3) his
continued confinement at Whiting is not authorized by
any valid state statute.
The Board has moved to
dismiss the action arguing that under controlling
precedent plaintiff’s exclusive federal remedy is a
petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2254.
I agree with the Board’s argument and
therefore grant the motion.
On March 22, 1985, following a criminal trial in
Connecticut Superior Court, plaintiff was found not
guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and
committed him to the Department of Mental Health for a
period not to exceed 25 years.
to expire on March 21, 2010.
His commitment was due
However, on March 19,
2010, the State petitioned to continue his confinement
with the support of the Board.
The Superior Court
ordered plaintiff’s commitment to continue for an
additional three years.
Pursuant to that order, the
commitment was due to expire on March 18, 2013.
On April 26, 2010, an acquittee at Whiting
complained that plaintiff had struck him with a radio.
As a result of the complaint, the State charged
plaintiff with criminal assault.
Superior Court found him competent to assist in his
defense, convicted him of assault in the third degree
and gave him a suspended sentence of one year.
then returned to Whiting.
On April 24, 2012, the State again petitioned to
continue plaintiff’s confinement with the support of
On March 18, 2013, the Superior Court
ordered that plaintiff’s commitment continue until
March 18, 2018.
The Connecticut Appellate Court
State v. Dyous, 153 Conn. App. 266, 100 A.3d
The Connecticut Supreme Court granted
certification to appeal, received briefs and heard
argument, then ruled that the petition for
certification had been “improvidently granted.”
v. Dyous, 320 Conn. 176, 128 A.3d 505 (2016).
Prior to bringing the present action, plaintiff
filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in state
court seeking immediate release from Whiting.
the petition was denied.
Dyous v. Rehmer, Docket No.
CV10-4012049-S, 2014 WL 3805582 (Conn. Super. Ct. June
The judgment was recently affirmed by the
Connecticut Supreme Court.
Dyous v. Commissioner of
Mental Health and Addiction Services, 324 Conn. 163
In Preiser v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court held
that when a state prisoner challenges the fact or
duration of his imprisonment and the relief he seeks is
a determination that he is entitled to release, his
sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus after
exhausting available state court remedies.
475, 500 (1973).
Lower federal courts have
consistently held that the Declaratory Judgment Act may
not be used as a substitute for habeas corpus.
Benson v. State Bd. of Parole & Prob., 384 F.2d 238,
239–40 (9th Cir. 1967); Jackson v. Scalia, 780 F. Supp.
2d 81, 83 (D.D.C. 2011); Laird v. Mackay, No. 10–396–
MO, 2010 WL 3585199 (D. Ore. September 9, 2010); Hill
v. State of Tennessee, 465 F. Supp. 789, 789 (E.D.
Tenn. 1978); Hogan v. Lukhard, 351 F. Supp. 1112,
1113–14 (E.D. Va. 1972).
Plaintiff argues that this action is not barred by
Preiser because he is seeking declaratory relief rather
than release from confinement.
If plaintiff were to
prevail, however, he would rely on the judgment to gain
release prior to the expiration of his current
Thus, his request for declaratory relief
is tantamount to seeking relief from confinement for
purposes of Preiser.
See Murphy v. Travis, 36 F. App'x
679, 681 (2d Cir. 2002)(claim for mandatory injunction
requiring state to provide plaintiff with de novo
parole release hearing was tantamount to seeking relief
from confinement and thus barred by Preiser).
Accordingly, the motion to dismiss is hereby
So ordered this 25th day of January 2017.
Robert N. Chatigny
United States District Judge
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