MN: Win in Minnesota as 8th Circuit rules civil commitment challenge can proceed.

Florida Action Committee: by Florida Action Committee; February 25, 2021


A win in the State of Minnesota, where a group of civilly committed individuals challenged their continued confinement. They will have their day in court. Below is a summary from the court and below that is a link to the opinion.

Plaintiffs, persons civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program pursuant to the Minnesota Civil Commitment and Treatment Act: Sexually Dangerous Persons and Sexual Psychopathic Personalities, alleged various conditions of confinement claims. For the court’s prior opinion in the matter, see Karsjens v. Piper, 845 F.3d 394 (8th Cir. 2017). Held: The district court properly dismissed Count 3 of the complaint alleging constitutionally inadequate treatment after applying the “shocks the conscience” standard; with respect to plaintiffs’ claims that they were denied adequate medical care, the district court erred in reviewing this claim under the “shocks the conscience” standard as this court has previously held that such claims are evaluated under the deliberate indifference standard; with respect to three counts alleging plaintiffs were subjected to punitive conditions of confinement, the court finds that such claims fall under the standard announced in Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979). On remand the district court should
consider these claims under the standard for punitive conditions outlined in Bell and review the totality of the circumstances of the confinement.

Remanded for further proceedings.

MN Civil Commitment 8th cir


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