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Britt v. Stewart

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

February 7, 2014

R.E. BRITT, Petitioner,
JAMES W. STEWART, III, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM OPINION (Granting Respondent's Motion for Summary Judgment)

HENRY E. HUDSON, District Judge.

Raymond E. Britt, a Virginia state detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 ("§ 2254 Petition") challenging his commitment as a sexually violent predator ("SVP") by the Circuit Court for the City of Newport News ("Circuit Court"). By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered January 29, 2013, this Court denied Respondent's Motion to Dismiss and ordered further briefing. Britt v. Stewart, No. 3:12CV20-HEH, 2013 WL 357212, at *3 (E.D. Va. Jan. 29, 2013.) Respondents[1] have filed a Supplemental Brief in Support of motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 18). By Memorandum Order entered September 19, 2013, the Court provided notice of its intent to convert the Motion to Dismiss into a Motion for Summary Judgment and provided Britt with Roseboro [2] notice. (ECF No. 21.)[3] The matter is now ripe for disposition. As discussed below, the Court finds Britt's claims are defaulted and lack merit.


A. State Proceedings

On September 7, 2011, the Circuit Court entered final judgment against Britt finding him to be a sexually violent predator pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predators Act, Va. Code Ann. § 37.2-900, et seq. (West 2012) ("SVPA"). Under the authority of sections 37.2-908 and 37.2-912 of the Virginia Code, the Circuit Court committed Britt to the custody of the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services ("DBHDS"). Sexually Violent Predator & Commitment Order at 1-3, Commonwealth v. Britt, No. CL10-00716V-04 (Va. Cir. Ct. Sept. 7, 2011).[4] Britt filed neither an appeal nor a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in state court. (Br. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 2; Pet'r's Mot. Return 2.)

B. Federal Proceedings

On January 9, 2012, the Court received Britt's § 2254 Petition. In his § 2254 Petition, Britt contends:

Claim One: Section 37.2-900 et seq. of the Virginia Code is an unlawful bill of attainder under Article I, Section 9 and 3 of the U.S. Constitution.[5] (§ 2254 Pet. 2.)
Claim Two: Civil commitment violates the Fourteenth Amendment[6] because it is used "to single out one group of people ex-sex offenders." ( Id. at 3 (capitalization corrected).)
Claim Three: Civil commitment violates the Thirteenth Amendment[7] because it amounts to slavery. ( Id. )


Summary judgment must be rendered "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). It is the responsibility of the party seeking summary judgment to inform the court of the basis for the motion, and to identify the parts of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file." Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the motion is properly supported, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by citing affidavits or "depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) and 56(e) (1986)).

In reviewing a summary judgment motion, the court "must draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." United States v. Carolina Transformer Co., 978 F.2d 832, 835 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). However, a mere scintilla of evidence will not preclude summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251 (citing Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448 (1872)). Moreover, not all disputes of fact preclude summary judgment. Instead, "the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Id. at 248. With respect to materiality, "[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id.

As to genuineness, the nonmoving party "must produce... evidence that creates a fair doubt; wholly speculative assertions will not suffice." Bongam v. Action Toyota, Inc., 14 F.Appx. 275, 280 (4th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). "A motion for summary judgment may not be defeated by evidence that is merely colorable' or is not sufficiently probative.'" M& M Med. Supplies & Serv., Inc. v. Pleasant Valley Hosp., Inc., 981 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1993) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50). Nor will mere "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts'" create a genuine dispute. Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). Thus, "[t]he nonmovant can show that a dispute is genuine only if it ...

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