United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN R. CLARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Adam Derby, a civil detainee at the Sexual Offender
Rehabilitation and Treatment Services Center
(“SORTS”), seeks leave to proceed in forma
pauperis in this civil action brought under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Having reviewed Plaintiff's financial
information, the Court grants Plaintiff's Motion to
Proceed In Forma Pauperis. See 28 U.S.C.
§1915. Additionally, after reviewing the Complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) and for the reasons discussed below,
the Court will give Plaintiff the opportunity to file an
Legal Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to dismiss
a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is
frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. To state a claim
for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal
conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a
plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere
possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679.
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. Determining
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.
Id. at 679.
reviewing a pro se complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the Court accepts the well-plead facts as true,
White v. Clark, 750 F.2d 721, 722 (8th Cir. 1984),
and liberally construes the complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A “liberal
construction” means that if the essence of an
allegation is discernible, the district court should construe
the plaintiff's complaint in a way that permits his or
her claim to be considered within the proper legal framework.
Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir.
2015). However, even pro se complaints are required
to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a
matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282,
1286 (8th Cir. 1980). See also Stone v. Harry, 364
F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir. 2004) (refusing to supply
additional facts or to construct a legal theory for the
pro se plaintiff that assumed facts that had not
a civil detainee at SORTS, brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging violations of his first amendment right
to freedom of religion; his fourteenth amendment right to
equal protection under the law; and violations of the
Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42
U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. Plaintiff names as
defendants all members of the “spiritual
committee” and the “Green Belt Committee” -
but Plaintiff does not clarify what these committees are. ECF
No. 1 at 2 ¶ 7. Specifically, Plaintiff names: (1)
Richard Wiskus, (2) Chuck Lotz, (3) Jeanie Semor, (4) Hannah
Newmier,  (5) Dr. Kimberly Buy, (6) all members of
the Green Belt Committee, and (7) John Doe. Plaintiff
specifies that he is suing John Doe in both his individual
and official capacities, but he does specify in what
capacities the other Defendants are being sued.
states that he is pretrial detainee in the custody of the
Missouri Department of Mental Health pursuant to the Missouri
Sexually Violent Predator Act, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 632.480
et seq. Plaintiff describes himself as a
“sincere practitioner of the Wiccan religion” and
he alleges that he is being denied thirty-three (33)
necessary items or accommodations for the practice of his
religion. ECF No. 1 at 3. These items/accommodations include:
(1) wands; (2) wooden athames; (3)
“idols/status”; (4) robes; (5) chalices; (6)
books; (7) religious ceremonies on the day of holidays; (8)
nighttime accommodations for full moon and sabbat ceremonies;
(9) non-sexual nude images; (10) open flame fires; (11) three
hours of time on sabbats (holy days); (12) wine for
consumption on sabbats; (13) dream catchers; (14) rugs; (15)
bracelets with charms; (16) rings with religious symbols and
stones; (17) tattoos; (18) smudging personal religious
items; (19) access to news programs and shows
that inform about politics and social issues; (20) tea light
candles for personal inside use; (21) food on the Sabbath;
(22) alter cloths; (23) alters; (24) foreign languages; (25)
religious oils; (26) face painting; (27) pentacle
plates;(28) pipes; (29) musical
“interments;” (30) Ouija boards or spirit boards;
(31) time outside daily; (32) a room for personal religious
practice; and (33) food donations to the Wiccan religious
feast. ECF No. 1 at 3-6.
relief, Plaintiff seeks an order from the Court requiring
“the state to come into compliance” with his
constitutional and RLUIPA rights, and for $1 in punitive
Legal Standards: Free Exercise of Religion and RLUIPA rights
for a civil detainee
a civil detainee, alleges violations of his rights under the
Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United
States Constitution and his rights under the Religious Land
Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The
Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution
determines the rights of individuals who have been
involuntary committed to a facility. Youngberg v.
Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 312-15 (1982). Although residents
at state institutions do have constitutionally protected
interests, these rights must be balanced against the reasons
put forth by the State for restricting their liberties.
Id. at 321. As inmates clearly retain their First
Amendment right to free exercise of religion in prison,
O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348
(1987), civil detainees retain such rights as well.
to the Supreme Court, a prison regulation infringing on an
inmate's constitutional rights is valid so long as it is
reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest.
Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987). Although
the Eighth Circuit has not addressed the applicability of
this standard in the civil detainee context, other courts
have applied the Turner analysis in considering
constitutional claims by civilly-committed sexually violent
predators. See, e.g., Phillips v. Palmer, No.
13-CV-4066-DEO, 2013 WL 5771026, at *3 (N.D. Iowa Oct. 23,
2013) (collecting cases).
No government shall impose a substantial burden on the
religious exercise of a person residing in or confined to an
institution, as defined in section 1997 of this title, even
if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,
unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the
burden on that person --
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest;
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that