Howe v. Godinez, No. 14-844 (S.D. Ill. 2021)
Nature of Case: Plaintiffs are civil detainees under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act (“SDPA”). Plaintiffs filed the present case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, alleging that Defendants are violating their constitutional rights, including Plaintiffs’ right to receive mental health treatment and Plaintiffs’ liberty interests under the Fourteenth Amendment by subjecting them to a punitive environment. Plaintiffs requested declaratory and injunctive relief.
Holding: The Southern District of Illinois found that the Sexually Dangerous Persons Program in which Plaintiffs are currently detained suffers from systemic failures which have resulted in Plaintiffs being detained indefinitely with “no real hope” of being released. The Court thus concluded that Defendants have deprived Plaintiffs of due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court further held that a permanent injunction was warranted and necessary due to deficiencies in the delivery of mental health services.