United States District Court, D. Connecticut
VICTOR J. VELASCO, Plaintiff,
SCOTT SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley United States District Judge.
Victor J. Velasco (“Velasco”), currently confined
at Northern Correctional Institution (“Northern”)
in Somers, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Velasco names 137
defendants including employees of the Department of
Correction, the University of Connecticut Health Center, and
the Department of Public Safety; an Assistant Attorney
General; a court reporter; and employees at Inmates'
Legal Aid Program. Velasco asserts claims pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his rights under the
First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments
and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Doc. No. 1, ¶
10. He also references the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act, the Prison Rape Elimination
Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act,
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and 42 U.S.C. §§
1981, 1982, 1985 and 1986. Id., ¶¶ 27-28.
The complaint was received on May 28, 2019, and Velasco's
motion to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on
June 24, 2019.
section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, the
Court must review prisoner civil complaints and dismiss any
portion of the complaint that is frivolous or malicious, that
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or
that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. Id. In reviewing a pro se
complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the
allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the
strongest arguments [they] suggest.” Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also
Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010)
(discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se
litigants). Although detailed allegations are not required,
the complaint must include sufficient facts to afford the
defendants fair notice of the claims and the grounds upon
which they are based and to demonstrate a right to relief.
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56
(2007). Conclusory allegations are not sufficient.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The
plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
is 43 years old. He suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a
form of autism. Doc. No. 1, Statement of Claims, ¶ 25.
March 6, 2018, in the presence of Warden Nick Rodriguez,
Velasco informed Commissioner Semple of his various claims.
The next day, Warden Rodriguez emailed John Aldi about the
conversation. Doc. No. 1, Statement of Facts ¶ 1. Aldi
acknowledged the email. Id., ¶ 2.
January 17, 2011, Velasco filed an administrative remedy
regarding his religion of Kingism, exercise, and medical
issues. Then-warden Angel Quiros responded to the grievance
on January 21, 2011. Id., ¶ 3. Quiros directed
Velasco to contact Religious Services regarding concerns
about his religion or religious affiliation. Id.,
¶ 4. On January 24, 2011, Velasco submitted a request to
Religious Services asking that his religious designation be
changed to Kingism. Id., ¶ 5.
January 2019, Velasco received by mail over 2000 documents
from Department of Correction files. One document addressed
to John Aldi from Religious Services and dated March 16,
2011, stated: “‘Kingism'-a religion/code of
conduct that the Latin Kings (gang) follow and obey. -the
above is a direct quote from one of the Google sites.
‘Kingism'-Google it-lots of hits.”
Id., ¶ 6.
alleges that Aldi deliberately concealed this document from
him in 2011 to initiate disciplinary proceedings against
Velasco because Velasco had filed a federal lawsuit against
Aldi's friends and co-workers. Id., ¶ 7.
Velasco claims that the concealment of this document
prevented him from pursuing a claim regarding his religion in
2011. Id., ¶ 8.
March 16, 2011, Reverend Bruno submitted a
contraband/physical evidence tag and chain of custody
document to Aldi regarding the request for designation of
religion. Id., ¶ 9. On March 28, 2011, Velasco
was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a
federal court action. Id., ¶ 10.
next day, Aldi issued a disciplinary report for Security Risk
Group (“SRG”) or gang affiliation. He did not
reference the March 16, 2011 note which Velasco considered
exculpatory. Id., ¶ 11. S. Wilson was the
investigator on the disciplinary charge. Id., ¶
12. He recorded three witnesses requested by Velasco,
obtained a witness statement from Warden Quiros, and obtained
supplemental reports from Reverend Bruno and Robert Bernd.
Id., ¶ 13. Bernd states that Kingism was not a
recognized religion. Velasco alleges that he
recognizes Kingism as a religion and assumes that the note
indicated that the Department of Correction recognized
Kingism as a religion after the Google search. Id.,
¶ 14. The investigator's report does not reference
the Google search results. Id., ¶ 15.
chose Counselor Kay as his advocate. Id., ¶ 16.
Counselor Kay initiated his advocate's investigation on
April 6, 2011 but did nothing. Id., ¶¶
17-18. Counselor Kay recommended a guilty finding.