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Thomas Dorsey v. andrew M. Cuomo

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK


August 5, 2011

THOMAS DORSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANDREW M. CUOMO, GOVERNOR; ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL; AND MICHAEL HOGAN, DR., COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL HEALTH, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mae A. D'Agostino, U.S. District Judge:

ORDER

Plaintiff pro se, formerly an inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional and Community Supervision ("DOCCS") and the New York State Office of Mental Health ("NYSOMH"), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendants violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. See Dkt. No. 1. Specifically, plaintiff claims that his due process rights were violated because the provisions of New York Mental Health Law §§ 10.03(S), 10.06(J), and 10.07(C), and New York Penal Law § 130.91 are unconstitutionally vague.*fn1

At plaintiff's probable cause hearing, it was determined that the actions that led to plaintiff's imprisonment were sexually motivated and, therefore, plaintiff was sent to a secure treatment facility to await his civil commitment trial. See Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 13. Plaintiff filed the present action while awaiting his civil commitment trial.

On February 23, 2011, plaintiff's civil commitment trial concluded, with the jury finding that there was no clear and convincing evidence to support the conclusion that plaintiff's felony conviction was sexually motivated; and, therefore, plaintiff was released. See Dkt. No. 14-1 at 1-2. The Attorney General did not appeal the decision. See id. at 2.

Plaintiff filed the present action while awaiting his civil commitment trial. On March 4, 2011, after plaintiff's release, defendants filed an amended letter motion seeking dismissal of this action as moot. See Dkt. No. 14.

In a Report-Recommendation and Order dated July 14, 2011, Magistrate Judge Homer held that, "[w]hile [plaintiff] was initially placed at the secure facility after the findings in his probable cause hearing and throughout the duration of his civil confinement hearing, he was ultimately found not to have committed a sexually motivated felony. Thus, [plaintiff] did not require civil confinement or further treatment and was released. Because he was never placed in civil confinement, his claims relating to the constitutionality of SOMTA are moot and should be dismissed." See Dkt. No. 16 at 7-8 (footnote omitted).*fn2 Plaintiff failed to object to Magistrate Judge Homer's Report-Recommendation and Order.

When a party files specific objections to a magistrate judge's report-recommendation, the district court makes a "de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). When a party fails to make specific objections, however, the court reviews the magistrate judge's report for clear error. See Farid v. Bouey, 554 F. Supp. 2d 301, 307 (N.D.N.Y. 2008); see also Gamble v. Barnhart, No. 02CV1126, 2004 WL 2725126, *1 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 29, 2004) (citations omitted). After the appropriate review, "the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

Having reviewed Magistrate Judge Homer's July 14, 2011 Report-Recommendation and Order and the applicable law, the Court concludes that Magistrate Judge Homer correctly determined that the Court should grant defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint as moot. See Ashford v. Spitzer, No. 9:08-cv-1036, Dkt. No. 136, at 12 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 8, 2010) (dismissing the plaintiff's claims as moot because he was not placed in civil confinement).*fn3 Since plaintiff does not challenge the probable cause hearing that led to his detention pending the civil commitment trial and because the jury found in plaintiff's favor (finding that clear and convincing evidence did not support a finding that plaintiff's felony conviction was "sexually motivated"), the Court finds that plaintiff's case is now moot.

Accordingly, the Court hereby

ORDERS that Magistrate Judge Homer's July 14, 2011 Report-Recommendation and Order is ADOPTED in its entirety for the reasons stated therein; and the Court further

ORDERS that defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint (Dkt. Nos. 7, 14) is GRANTED; and the Court further

ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall serve a copy of this Order on all parties in compliance with the Local Rules; and the Court further

ORDERS that the Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in defendants' favor and close this case.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Albany, New York


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