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Parkman v. O'Connor

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

August 1, 2019

WILLIAM O'CONNOR, et al. Defendants.



         On August 13, 2018, Plaintiff, Robert Parkman, an inmate currently confined at the Brooklyn Correctional Institution in Connecticut, brought a civil action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Attorney William O'Connor, Probation Officer Justin Quick, and an unidentified supervisory official in the state's Office of Adult Probation. Compl. (DE#1). He sought “mental and emotional relief” for what appeared to be a claim that the defendants wrongfully placed him in a “sex offender special unit, ” even though he only pled guilty to unlawful restraint. Id. at 6. On May 6, 2019, this Court dismissed the due process claim without prejudice because Plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that he was burdened by the stigma of being placed in a sex offender treatment program or facts showing the defendants' personal involvement in the program placement. Initial Review Order (DE#13).

         In dismissing his claim without prejudice[1], the Court instructed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint alleging facts showing the following:

(1) A clear statement as to whether Plaintiff is suing Defendants in their individual capacities, their official capacities, or both;
(2) A clear statement as to the type of relief sought (i.e. money damages, injunctive relief, and/or declaratory relief);
(3) An explanation of the “sex offender special unit” and specific facts showing that the placement in the unit imposed on Plaintiff a burden or alteration of his status or rights;
(4) Facts showing that the placement in the unit was based on false information; and
(5) If sued in their individual capacities for damages, facts showing Defendants personal involvement in the sex offender classification and/or placement.

         Initial Review Order at 8. On June 25, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant amended complaint naming Probation Officer Quick and Probation Supervisor Kevin Lawrence as Defendants. Am. Compl. (DE#20). For the following reasons, the Court will permit the amended complaint to proceed.

         Factual Allegations

         On March 8, 2016, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to unlawful restraint in the first degree and was sentenced to five years of imprisonment, execution suspended after one year, and three years of probation. Am. Compl. at 5; Case Detail, State v. Parkman, No. HHD-CR15-0679258-T (Conn. Super. Ct. Mar. 8, 2016).[2] Plaintiff had also been charged with sexual assault in the first degree, but the state later dismissed that charge. Compl. at 5; Am. Compl. at 12. One year later, Plaintiff was released from Department of Correction (“DOC”) custody and began his probationary term. Am. Compl. at 5. Conditions of probation included that the plaintiff have no contact with the victim, drive only with a valid license, and complete an alcohol treatment program. Id.

         Just before he was discharged from DOC custody, Plaintiff met with two counselors who discussed with him the nature of his case. Am. Compl. at 5. One of the counselors told him that, based on the allegations in the police report and his guilty plea to the unlawful restraint charge, his “sex score” would be raised to level three. Id. at 5, 11. Plaintiff contested this decision and did not understand why his score was being raised. Id. at 5. He later learned that Supervisor Lawrence had placed him in the “sex offender unit” based on his conviction for unlawful restraint. Id. at 5-6.

         On June 6, 2016 after he was released, Plaintiff met with Officer Quick at the Office of Adult Probation and signed some paperwork. Am. Compl. at 5. At that meeting, Quick informed Plaintiff that he had set an appointment for him with The Connection, Inc.[3] Id. A woman from The Connection, Inc. gave Plaintiff a booklet outlining the program, telling him what he cannot do as a sex offender. Id. Plaintiff was shocked upon hearing the information because he had not been convicted of a sex offense. Id. He told Quick that he was not convicted of a sex offense and that he did not have a court order for mandatory sex offender treatment, but Quick dismissed his complaints. Id. at 6.

         During the next probation appointment on July 11, Quick arranged a phone call with Plaintiff's attorney, Stephen Cashman. Am. Compl. at 6. Cashman told Quick that Plaintiff was not legally bound by the conditions of the sex offender unit and instructed Plaintiff to only sign standard probation paperwork. Id. Cashman then asked Quick to permit Plaintiff some time to provide ...

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