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Lopez-Flores v. Clarke

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

February 28, 2019

JOSE LOPEZ-FLORES, Plaintiff,
v.
HAROLD W. CLARKE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT)

          Henry E. Hudson Senior United States District Judge.

         Jose Lopez-Flores, proceeding pro se and in forma pauper is, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. Lopez-Flores names as defendants, Harold W. Clarke, the Director of the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") and Israel Hamilton, the Warden of Haynesville Correctional Center. Lopez-Flores's claims flow from his confinement and adjudication as a sexually violent predator pursuant to section 37.2-900 of the Virginia Code, the Sexually Violent Predator Act ("SVPA"). Specifically, Lopez-Flores contends that:

Claim 1 Defendants violated Lopez-Flores's rights under the (a) Double Jeopardy Clause and (b) the Due Process Clause by "holding the plaintiff (now a civil detainee) beyond his mandatory prison release date in the same facility ... under the same punitive conditions as when the plaintiff was serving his criminal sentence." (Compl. ¶ 14.)[1] Lopez-Flores further complains that Defendants refuse to "transfer the plaintiff to a civil facility... and provide the plaintiff with proper sexual offender therapy ...." (Id.)
Claim 2 Defendants violated Lopez-Flores's rights under the Due Process Clause by failing to afford him the rights enumerated under Section 37.2-400(A) of the Virginia Code for individuals detained under the SVPA. (Id. at 11-13.)
Claim 3 Section 37.2-906(A) is (a) "void for vagueness"; (b) violates the Ex Post Facto Clause; and, (c) violates the Double Jeopardy Clause. (Id. at 13.)

         Lopez-Flores demands monetary damages against Defendants for Claims 1 and 2. (Id. at 21.) Additionally, with respect to Claims 1 and 2, Lopez-Flores requests injunctive relief by:

(a) transfer[ring] the plaintiff to a civil facility which provides the plaintiff with the care and treatment, consistent with the objectives of any legitimate SVP commitment act; (b) restore the plaintiff his rights and privileges ... as particularly stated in Va. Code 37.2-400; (c) segregate the plaintiff from the sight and sound of the other prisoners at all times, and (d) cease criminally punishing the plaintiff as a criminal convict[.]

(Id.) With respect to Claim 3, Lopez-Flores requests that the Court "(a) declares the statutory scheme of Va. Code §§ 37.2-900 et seq. to be unconstitutional and invalid, and; (b) order that the Virginia General Assembly re-promulgate the VSVPA to be consistent in all manners with the Supreme Law of the Land." (Id.)

         For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16) will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Standard for Summary Judgment

         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)).

         Further, "Rule 56 does not impose upon the district court a duty to sift through the record in search of evidence to support a party's opposition to summary judgment." Forsyth v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting Skotak v. Tenneco Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915 & n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3) ("The court need consider only the cited materials ....").

         In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants submit the affidavit of James E. Parks, the Director of Offender Management Services for the VDOC ("Parks Aff." ECF No. 17-1) and submissions from Lopez-Flores's Sexually Violent Predator commitment proceeding (ECF No. 17-2). Lopez-Flores has not responded. In light of the foregoing submissions, the following facts are established for the Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court draws all permissible inferences in favor of Lopez-Flores.

         II. ...


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