Wooten v. Johnson County Adult Detention Center et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ENTERED: This matter is dismissed for failure to state a claim for relief. Signed by U.S. Senior District Judge Sam A. Crow on 03/31/21. Mailed to pro se party Michael A. Wooten by regular mail. (smnd)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
MICHAEL A. WOOTEN,
CASE NO. 18-3067-SAC
CALVIN HAYDEN, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on the second amended
complaint (Doc. 22) filed by a pre-trial detainee in the Johnson
County Adult Detention Center (JCADC).
In an earlier order, the court summarized the factual
background of plaintiff’s claims as follows:
Plaintiff is charged with aggravated indecent
liberties and sexual exploitation of a child. He was taken
into custody in October 2017 and was ordered to have no
contact with the juvenile victim. However, he repeatedly
contacted the victim by telephone from the jail; in a
state court proceeding, the State described the contents
intimidation…the defendant discussed with and suggested
to the juvenile victim that she commit suicide.” (Doc.
15, p. 11.) The jail became aware of these calls and took
steps to block the victim’s phone number. Despite this,
the plaintiff was able to contact the victim using
different telephone numbers that were not programmed into
the jail telephone system (Id., p. 12.).
In December 2017, the state district court ordered
that plaintiff be prohibited from using the telephone in
the JCADC. The jail responded by placing plaintiff in a
solitary confinement cell with release for three hours
daily. (Id., p. 7).
In the earlier order, the court directed plaintiff to show
cause why the claims should not be dismissed and granted leave to
file a second amended complaint. In the second amended complaint,
plaintiff alleges defendant Hayden, the Sheriff of Johnson County,
and defendant Judge Kelly Ryan of the Johnson County District Court
“made the decision to punish [him] by solitary confinement.” Doc.
22, p. 2. He also explains, “I filed several motions with the
Johnson County Court for release during that time and the judge
denied the motions.” Id. at p. 3. Although the caption portion of
the form complaint also identifies as defendants Sgt. Hostetler and
“6 remaining on additional sheet”, plaintiff does not identify any
personal participation by these defendants.
The court has screened the amended complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a), which requires the court to conduct an initial review
of a complaint against governmental officers filed by a prisoner
and under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), which requires a review of a
complaint brought by
a party proceeding in
determine its sufficiency. The court must dismiss a complaint or
any part of it if a plaintiff presents claims that are legally
frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)–(2).
Fourteenth Amendment from being subjected to any punishment without
due process. Blackmon v. Sutton, 734 F.3d 1237, 1241 (10th Cir.
2013). However, governmental officials may place restrictions on a
pretrial detainee without due process, so long as the measures
imposed do not amount to punishment. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520,
The distinction between whether a condition does or does not
amount to punishment turns on whether the condition is imposed
incident to a legitimate governmental interest or purpose. Id. at
536-37. Those restrictions that “are reasonably related to the
institution’s interest in maintaining jail security do not, without
more, constitute unconstitutional punishment, even if they are
discomforting.” Id. at 540.
In this case, the decision to place plaintiff in segregation
came after less restrictive measures were unsuccessful in curbing
his telephone contacts with the victim of the criminal charges
pending against him. It appears the state district court considered
those measures necessary, as the plaintiff reports the trial court
support a finding that the placement was related to a legitimate
interest, namely, preventing an accused from contacting a victim,
rather than punishment.
Next, plaintiff’s claim for relief seeks monetary damages for
the stress of being placed in segregation and for being denied a
speedy trial. A claim alleging the denial of a speedy trial must be
addressed in the state courts, and, if necessary, through federal
plaintiff’s claim for compensatory damages is barred by 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(e). That provision, enacted as part of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA), states that “[n]o Federal civil action may be
emotional injury suffered
while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury or the
commission of a sexual act....”).
For the reasons set forth, the court concludes the plaintiff’s
second amended complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a
claim for relief. Plaintiff’s placement in segregation, though
restrictive, is supported by a legitimate institutional purpose.
IT IS, THEREFORE, BY THE COURT ORDERED this matter is dismissed
for failure to state a claim for relief.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
This 31st day of March, 2021, at Topeka, Kansas.
S/ Sam A. Crow
SAM A. CROW
U.S. Senior District Judge
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