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Joseph Aruanno v. Officer Caldwell

June 8, 2011

JOSEPH ARUANNO,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER CALDWELL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



APPEARANCES: JOSEPH ARUANNO, #363 Special Treatment Unit- Annex P.O. Box #CN905 Avenel, NJ 07001

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martini, District Judge:

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Joseph Aruanno, who is civilly committed under the New Jersey Sexually Violent Predator Act, filed a Complaint without prepayment of the filing fee. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).

This Court dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, without prejudice to the filing of an amended complaint stating a cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against at least one named defendant. On June 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. Having thoroughly reviewed Plaintiff's allegations in the Amended Complaint, this Court will dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted as against defendants Merrill Main, George Hayman, and Jennifer Velez, and allow the § 1983 excessive force claim to proceed against defendant Officer Caldwell.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has been civilly committed as a sexually violent predator since 2004. As explained in 2010 by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals,

[i]n 1994, while in Florida, he exposed himself to two adolescent girls as they were walking home from school and engaged in lewd conduct in their presence. As a result of this incident, Aruanno pled guilty to second-degree lewd conduct, and was sentenced to ten years' probation. Just two years later, in 1996, Aruanno sexually molested an eight-year-old girl who had been playing on the front steps of her house in Wildwood, New Jersey. A jury convicted Aruanno of second-degree sexual assault, and he was sentenced to ten years in prison, and disqualification from parole for five years. The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court affirmed the conviction and sentence. The New Jersey Supreme Court denied certification. State v. Aruanno, 793 A. 2d 716 (N.J. 2002) (table op.).

In April 2004, while Aruanno was still serving his prison sentence, the State of New Jersey . . . filed a petition to involuntarily commit Aruanno pursuant to the New Jersey Sexually Violent Predator Act ("SVPA), N.J.S.A. § 30:4-27.24 et seq. . . . .

At the commitment hearing, the State presented the testimony of Dr. Vivian Shnaidman . . . . Dr. Shnaidman testified that Aruanno was a chronic paranoid schizophrenic, but her diagnosis explicitly ruled out diagnoses of exhibitionism and pedophilia. Nevertheless, Dr. Shnaidman opined that Aruanno's schizophrenia, when combined with his previous violent conduct, created a "very high" risk of future violence. In particular, because Aruanno refused to take psychotropic medication to treat his schizophrenia, he would continue to suffer from psychotic delusions which would render sex offender treatment useless. According to Dr. Shnaidman, Aruanno would have serious difficulty controlling his sexually predatory behavior without undergoing treatment for his schizophrenia . . . .

Aruanno testified on his own behalf at the hearing. He denied committing either the Florida or the New Jersey offense, and testified that he believed the State had filed the commitment petition in retribution for his decision to go to trial for the New Jersey offense, rather than accepting a deal to plead guilty . . . .

The state court found that Aruanno suffered from a mental abnormality which created "substantial, significant, severe difficulty controlling his sexually violent behavior," and granted the State's petition for involuntary commitment. Aruanno appealed the order, and the Appellate Division affirmed. In re Civil Commitment of J.A., 2007 WL 609284 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 2007).

Aruanno v. Hayman, C.A. No. 09-3499 slip op., pp. 2-4 (3d Cir. May 27, 2010).

In 2009, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court reversed the Law Division's May 3, 2007, order denying post-conviction relief on the New Jersey conviction, vacated the conviction, and remanded the case.*fn1 See State v. Aruanno, 2009 WL 1046033 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. April 21, 2009), certif. denied, 199 N.J. 543 (2009) (table).

Since being detained in New Jersey, Mr. Aruanno has filed over 28 civil cases in this Court, and 27 appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

The original Complaint in this case (Docket Entry #1) named the following defendants:

Officer Caldwell, Dr. Merrill Main, Commissioners George Hayman and Jennifer Velez, and 20 John and Jane Does. Plaintiff asserted the following in the section of the form complaint instructing him to state the facts of his case:

Despite numerous federal cases such as #01-789; #04-3066; #07-1212; #08-305; etc; the defendants have been permitted to continue to engage in such brutal and sadistic retaliation with impunity without any concern for requested injunctive relief in these cases, though counsel has made many promises to obtain the restraining orders we request but has been one big lie, where on 9-17-09 defendant Caldwell entered my cell and attacked me for "snitching" as he called my litigation.

And which includes having hearings recently in front of Superior Court Judges John Kennedy and Philip Freedman about issue in #08-305 where after the concern of violence was raised the defendants were warned that, "the hearings are confidential, etc.," but despite that the defendants immediately retaliated again[st] plaintiff, other ...


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