Bechtold v. Hogan et al

Filing 3

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 2/27/2017. (c/m 2/27/2017 aos, Deputy Clerk)

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IN TIlE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE ()JSTlUCT OF MARYLAND Southern Division * BRIAN ANTHONY BECHTOLD, #10902 * Plaintiff, Case No,: G.JH-I 7-69 * v, * GOVERNOR LA \VI~ENCEHOGAN, et aI., * Defendants, * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION Brian Anthony Bechtold ("Plaintiff') officials and personnel. filed the instant civil rights action against state seeking injunctive relief and damages. ECF No. J. PlaintifThas a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. lOCI' NO.2. which shall be granted. also filed For the following reasons. Plaintiff-s Complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice. I. BACKGROUND Plaintiff who is confined at Clifton T. Perkins State Hospital ("CTPI!"). claims that when female CTPII patients arc classified to medium security. they arc sent to CTPll's Side" minimum security housing and "are released to the community No. I at 3. lie complains and subsequently "North faster and rcleased." lOCI' that although he was approved for and sent to medium security in 2010 in 2016. he has never been sent to minimum security. hi. Plaintiff generally complains that he has been held for many years and that he has been treated unlilirly due to his race and gender. in violation of his constitutional rights. !d lie seeks $75.000.000,00 in damages. and he asks that CTI'II be shut down by NATO troops or that the Warden from the Maryland Correctional The Maryland Institution of Jessup take over operations for CTI'H. state court docket reveals that in 1992. Brian Anthony Bechtold was charged with two counts of murder in the Circuit Court t()r Montgomery criminally inpatient !d responsible. and was committed care and treatment. SI.'I.'Slall.' 1'. County. was found not to Clilion T. Perkins State Hospital ("CTPH") Bl!c1l1old. CAEI' 65215C (Montgomery I()r Cty. Cir. Ct. 1992). Dkt. No, 41.1 The docket shows that Plaintiff has receivcd periodic review of his commitment and applications denied and Plaintitrs for release, Id at Okt. Nos. 70.97. continued commitment. On January 9. 2017. the Court received The applications was ordered by a circuit court judge, t(lI' filing Plaintilrs have been Id action. brought under 42 U.S.c. ~ 1983. ECF No.1. II. DISCUSSION Pursuant to 28 U,S.c. ~ 1915( e)(2)(13 )(ii) and 28 U.s.c. ~ 1915A. the Court must dismiss a complaint liled in l(mna pauperis or by a prisoner seeking civil redress against a government entity or oflicer if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Ross \', Barol1. 493 F. App'x 405. 406 (4th Cir. 2012). liberally construcd . .1'1.'1.' Ilarris 5897710. Although complaints \', .1011.1',\'1.'11 l!I!allhearl.' filed by pro se plaintiffs should be !'ro,i.I'.. at *2 (D, Md. Oct. 6. 2015). such a complaint No. ELI I-I 5-2730. 2015 WI. must plead lilcts sullicient to "state a rThe state court docket can be accessed at hllp:l/c:.Jscsl.'ardu:oLlrls.~tah':.lIld.lIs 'rascscarch (last visited February 21. 2(17). 2 claim to rclicfthat is plausible on its face:' 550 U.S. 544. 570 /Jell Atlal1tic Corji. v. Twomhly. (2007): see also Harris. 2015 WI. 5897710. at *2 (stating that thc pleading standard articulated in Twomhly applies to cascs tiled by selt~represcnted when the plaintilfplcads that the defcndant statements. recitals of the elements do not sufficc," provide the 'grounds' and a tormulaic of his 'entitlelmcntj recitation alleged:' Ashcro/i \', Iqhal, 556 U.S. 662.678 of a cause of action. supportcd by mere conclusory to to relicI' requires more than labcls and conclusions. ofa cause ofaction's elements will not do."). undcr 42 U.S,c. ~ 1983. which "authorizes a party who has ofa lederal right under the color of state law to seck relief through an action at law. suit in equity. or othcr proper proceeding for redress:' City olMol1terey DillIes at MOl1terey, Ltd .. 526 U.S, 687. 707 (1999) (internal quotations not itselfa inference /d. (citing 7\l'OlI1hly, 550 U.S. at 555) ("a plaintilTs obligation PlaintilT tiled his Complaint becn deprived "A claim has facial plausibility lactnal content that allows the court to draw the rcasonable is liable lor the misconduct (2009). "Thrcadbare plaintiffs). source of substantive rights elsewhere conferred:' v. Del MOl1tes omittcd), The statute "is rights. but merely provides a mcthod of vindicating AlhriJ:ht v. O/im'. ledcral 510 U.S, 266. 271 (1994) (internal quotations omitted), Plaintiff appears to allege that Delendants Equal Protection Clause orthe Fourteenth discriminated Amenchnen1.2 against him in violation orthe Plaintilfbroadly claims that hc has Plaintifr also references the Eighth Amendment in his Complaint. ECF NO.1 at 3. To establish a primafacit' case challenging conditions or confinement under the Eighth Amendment. a plaintiff Illust show both "( I ) a serious deprivation ora basic humane need; and (2) deliberate indifference to prison conditions on the part ofprisoll otlicials." Williams \', GraTin. 952 F.ld 820. 824 (4th Cir. 1991) (internal citation omitted). In order to demonstrate that he has met the !irst prong of the test articulated in William.'i. a plaintifTmust provide "cvidence ora serious medical and cmotional deterioration attrihutable to the challcnged condition:' Strickler t'. Waters, 989 F.2d 1375. 1381l(4th Cir. 1993) (internal citations and quotations omitted). llere. PlaintilThas referenced the Eighth .:! 3 bccn discriminatcd against duc to his racc. without providing any tilrthcr detail. ECF No. I at 3. PlaintifTalso daims that he has been discriminated against due to his sex. alleging that fcmale patients with medium sccurity badges arc sent to "minimum security levd status on the North Sidc" of CTPII and that thcy arc "releascd faster:' Id. The Equal Protection Clause requircs that ..the dassi fication of persons [to I which a law applies must be 'reasonablc. not arbitrary. and must rcst upon some ground of dilTerenee having a fair and substantial rdation to thc objcct of the legislation:" Sy/\'ia De,'. Corp. ". Ca"wl Cty., 48 F,3d 810,818 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting Roysler Gual10 Co. ". Virgil1ia, 253 U.S. 412. 415 (1920)). To establ ish a prima/clcit' case for violation of equal protection, a plainti ITmust show tirst "that he has been trcated differcntly from others with whom he is similarly situated:' and second ..that thc uncqual trcatment was the result of intcntional or purposcful discrimination:' Morrisol1". Garraghly, 239 F.3c1648, 654 (4th Cir. 2001). "If a plaintiffmakcs showing. the court analyzes the disparity under the appropriate level of scrutiny:' this initial Sal1d/al1d" C & D LLC \'. Cty. o{lIon:\" 737 F.3c145, 55 (4th Cir. 2013) (citing Morrisol1 ". Garraghly, 239 F.3d at 654)J Amendment in proximity to his requests for access to cable television and video games. as well as nine hours of outside recrealion time each day. ECF No. I at 3. However. PlaintifThas neither alleged an emotional or physical injury. nor has he provided any facts related to his current conditions of confinement. Therefore. his Eighth Amendment claim fails. J PlaintilTclaims that he has been discriminated against as a result of his race and gender. ECF No. I at 3. Outside of the context of prison regulations. courts apply different tiers of scrutiny depending on the classification the law makcs. See J\/orri.wnl. 239 F.3d at 654-55. Race-based classifications arc subject to strict scrutiny. meaning thaI "such classifications arc constitutional only irthcy arc narrowly tailored measures that further compelling governmental interests:' Anaraml Constructors, Inc. t'. rena, 5 15 U,S. 200. 227 ( 1995). Gender.hased classifications arc subject to intennediatc scrutiny. meaning that "classifications by gender must serve important governmcntal objectives and must be substantially related 10 achicvcment of those objectives:' Craig \'. Boren, 429 4 To mect the tirst prong. thc "similarly persons materially 7:14CVOOI40. 880 (4th Cir. 2016) (mem,); see a!so Bourne \', 2014 WI. 2930053. To mcet the second prong. a plaintitTmust factors with thc inmatcs in the arcas he his home. his criminal account il)r his different treatment). provc •.that therc was 'clear and intcntional' ('el1/. Radio CO.. !I1C. I', (,ilyoj'Nor/h!k. 811 F.3d 625. 635 (4th Cir. 2016) (quoting .<')'h'ia Del', Corp .. 48 F.3d at 825 (intcrnal citations in detcrmining No, at *3 (W,D. Va. June 27. 2014) (linding that the plaintitThad history. and dozcns of other factors" could Icgitimately probative App!egll/e, Lt'. 179 srI'. Va, Reg '!.Iai!. becausc "his sceurity levcl. the stage of his trial proceedings. discrimination:' "idcntifY Ko!he \" Hogal1. 813 F.3d 160. 185 (4th Cir. 2016). rel1 'g gral1/ed. "not shown that hc shares all relevant classification comparcs" standard. a plaintilTmust identical to him ... who havc receivcd different trcatmen!." F, Supp. 3d at 533 (quoting 636 F, App'x situated" omittcd»). Factors that arc intent include: ( I) evidencc of a 'consistent pattern' of actions by the decision making body disparately impacting members of a particular class of persons; (2) historical background ofthc dccision. which may take into account any history of discrimination by the decision making body or the jurisdiction it reprcscnts: (3) the speeitic sequence of events leading up to the particular decision bcing ehallcngcd. including any signiticant departurcs from normal proccdures: and (4) contemporary statemcnts by dccision makers on thc record or inminutcs of their meetings. Cel1lra! Radio CO.. /I1C 811 F.3d at 635 (quoting S.l'h'ia Del'. Corp .. 48 F.3d at 819) (internal .. U.S. 190, 197 (1976). "Class of one" claims, "hich arise "hen the plaintifTallcgcs a violation of the Equal Protection Clause but does "not allege membership in a class or group:' afC subject to rational basis review. "ill. (~l lI'i1/mrhrook t'. O/ech. 528 U.S. 561. 564 (2000) (internal citation omitted). meaning that the classification is constitutional "50 long as it bears a rational relation 10 some legitimate end:' Romer \', £\'0I1S. 517 U.S. 620. 631 (1996). However. all prison regulations arc valid if"reasonahly related to legitimate penological interests and not an exaggerate response to a particular concern:' regardless orthe classification. ,\forri.wJI1, 239 F.3d;]t 655 ("This more deferential standard applies even \\hen the alleged infringed constitutional right \vould otherwise warrant higher scrutiny. "). 5 citations omittcd). I'laintiffhas not satislied the "similarly situated" element of an equal protection claim. because he failed to take into account an)' factors that would be relevant in comparing inmatcs. including thc severity of the crime committed. length of detcntion. or behavior during period of confincment. among othcrs. Indeed. the fact that Plaintilfis incarcerated for two charges of murder could rcasonably cxplain why othcr inmates may have bccn rcleased more quickly in comparison to I'laintill Even ifl'laintilfhad satislied the "similarly situated" element. he has not alleged any Illcts that would lead this Court to find that Defendants acted with discriminatory intcnt. In sum. Plaintiff has not alleged any fllcts to show who actually discriminated against him. exactly how he was discriminatcd against. and why he believcs his race and gcndcr arc thc reasons he bccame the subjcct of discrimination. Inthc abscnce of these IllctS. I'lainti ff has failcd to state an cqual protcction claim upon which relief may be granted. III. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated hercin. the Complaint will be denied and dismissed without prcjudice. A separate Ordcr f(llIows. Datc: Fcbruarv ~ /k/?- 7. 2017 , GEORGE J. HAZEL Unitcd States District Judgc (,

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