Ireland v. Anderson, 2017 WL 1067751 (D.N.D. 2017)
Nature of Case: Federal § 1983 civil rights lawsuit. Initial compliant was handwritten pro se document alleging that North Dakota’s civil commitment scheme for those adjudged “sexually dangerous individuals” was unconstitutional on a number of grounds, including that civil commitment scheme:
- Claim that civil commitment was a violation of the Eighth Amendment for individuals who were juveniles during their commitment proceedings;
- Violated equal protection in that plaintiffs were similarly situated to individuals who were subject to commitment for non-sexual grounds;
- Was unconstitutional in that it did not afford plaintiffs a right to a jury trial during civil commitment;
- Was unconstitutional in that it allowed for indefinite commitment, allowed for commitment without criminal conviction, and allowed for commitment based on clear and convincing evidence, thereby violating plaintiff’s rights to substantive due process;
- was unconstitutional on its face in that statute demanded no affirmative action be taken to discharge individuals committed once they no longer met criteria for commitment.
Holding: [Ed. Note: As of 7-2-18, litigation is still ongoing in the district court] Magistrate judge issued Report & Recommendation (which was later adopted in full by the District Court) that the state defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment as to the above claims be granted, save for the final claim. R&R recommended, and Court held, that North Dakota statutory scheme for civil commitment of “sexually dangerous individuals” was facially unconstitutional in that it did not demand the state take any affirmative steps to discharge individuals who no longer met the criteria for civil commitment, which exposed individuals in the plaintiff class up to potentially a year of confinement, even as they no longer presented a danger.
- 7-30-18 R&R re Recommendation on SJM
- Order Adopting Reports and Recommendations (pdf)
- Report and Recommendation on Cross-Motions for Partial Summary Judgment (pdf)
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