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Joseph P. Schimminger v. Camden County Correctional Facility's Csls Program

July 19, 2011


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



Plaintiff, Joseph P. Schimminger, a state inmate confined at the Camden County Correctional Facility in Camden, New Jersey, at the time he submitted the above-captioned Complaint for filing, seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis. Based on his affidavit of indigence, the Court will grant plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (1998) and order the Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint.

At this time, this Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, to determine whether the Complaint should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice.


Plaintiff, Joseph P. Schimminger ("Schimminger"), brings this civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the following defendants: the Camden County Correctional Facility ("CCCF") CSLS Program; Lieutenant V. Hilton; Officer Accardo; and Officer Boardley. (Complaint, Caption and ¶¶ 4.b through 4.c). The following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint, and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the veracity of plaintiff's allegations.

Schimminger alleges that the defendants have violated his Eight and Fourteenth Amendment rights by causing plaintiff to be held without due process and "intentionally subjecting [plaintiff] to cruel and unusual punishment for [his] unlawful detainment." (Compl., ¶ 4b). Plaintiff states that, on January 24, 2010, he was sentenced to serve a 365 day sentence, which was to be served pursuant to the CSLS Program.*fn1 Consequently, he was permitted to serve his sentence on weekends only, and he began service of his sentence on February 13, 2010. On June 3, 2010, plaintiff states that he was seriously injured on his job and was taken to the hospital in Berlin, New Jersey. He had x-rays taken that revealed plaintiff had sustained a broken collar bone. The doctor ordered that plaintiff's arm be immobilized with a special sling, and he was given prescription medication and a medical note upon his release from the hospital on June 4, 2010. Plaintiff reported in person to the CSLS Program and showed Officer Boardley his medical note and injury. Boardley allegedly instructed plaintiff to call out each day that plaintiff was to report to serve his sentence under the CSLS Program. Plaintiff further alleges that Boardley told him that he was excused from the CSLS Program and told to go home. (Compl., ¶ 6).

Schimminger states that he followed the instructions he received and called out each weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) for the next six weeks while he recovered from his injury. Plaintiff returned to the CSLS Program on July 24, 2010, stating that, while his arm still hurt, he could perform his duties. Plaintiff signed in at 8:00 a.m. and put on his work vest and waited until the work crews were assigned. About one hour after plaintiff had reported to the CSLS Program, Officers Hinton and Accardo approached plaintiff and placed him in handcuffs. Schimminger was then brought to the CCCF, where he was processed and placed in a seven-day lock down. He states that he had asked about seeing a judge and was told that he would see one. On July 28, 2010, plaintiff was placed in general population at CCCF. Schimminger states that he wrote repeated requests for reinstatement into the CSLS Program, but did not receive any response until August 4, 2010. (Compl., ¶ 6).

On August 4, 2010, Lt. Hinton wrote to plaintiff, stating that plaintiff had been informed in May 2010 to report his medical condition to Judge Pugliese so that his CSLS obligation could be properly suspended. Hinton further informed plaintiff that he should have his counsel present all documentation with his request for reinstatement to the CSLS Program in a letter to Judge Pugliese. Finally, Hilton told plaintiff that he would not be in his predicament if he had followed her instructions initially. (Compl., ¶ 6).

Schimminger states that he began to write letters to the courts and he began to speak to a private attorney about what to do. Plaintiff also wrote to the Camden County Public Defender's Office and the Gloucester County Public Defender's Office. He wrote to Judge Pugliese as well. Schimminger alleges that he has not had any response to his letters. Accordingly, Schimminger filed a grievance against the CSLS Program for violating him. He also wrote to the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") on October 29, 2010. On November 8, 2010, plaintiff received a letter from Judge Randall Freeman, which letter stated that plaintiff's case is in the jurisdiction of Camden County.

Plaintiff sent the letter from Judge Freeman to Lt. Hilton. (Compl., ¶ 6).

On January 14, 2011, Schimminger wrote to this Court asking that he be permitted to assert new grounds against the defendant CCCF CSLS Program. Plaintiff states that, on October 30, 2010, he was called to go to the sergeant in admissions at CCCF, who offered to reinstate plaintiff in the CSLS Program. Schimminger readily agreed and went back to his cell block. When plaintiff did not hear from Sergeant Boyd, he tried to contact him. Schimminger found out that Boyd told his family that he never made any such offer. On December 30, 2010, plaintiff again was called down to admissions and again was questioned about whether he wanted to be reinstated in the CSLS Program. An officer from the CSLS Program allegedly asked plaintiff about the days he had missed without calling out. Plaintiff apologized and asked to be reinstated. After he failed to hear from the CSLS Program for two weeks, Schimminger's family contacted Sgt. Boyd, who stated that he had no knowledge of any offer for plaintiff to be reinstated in the CSLS Program. Schimminger contends that these two incidents constitute cruel and unusual punishment. (Docket entry no. 3).

Plaintiff seeks to be released from CCCF and reinstated in the CSLS Program. He also asks to be compensated for the time that he was confined from July 24, 2010 to the present. (Compl., ¶ 7).

On April 8, 2011, plaintiff wrote to the Court to advise that he was to be released from the CCCF in ...

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