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Scott v. Plante

decided: March 29, 1976.

ALLEN BODINE SCOTT, APPELLANT,
v.
DR. INGRE RUDOLPH PLANTE, M.D. ALLEN B. SCOTT V. ANN KLEIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS COMMISSIONER OF INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES; ALLEN B. SCOTT V. DR. MARTIN WEINBERG; ALLEN B. SCOTT V. GOV. BRENDAN T. BYRNE; ALLEN B. SCOTT, APPELLANT, V. HON. RICHARD J. HUGHES ALLEN B. SCOTT, APPELLANT



ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY. D.C. Civil Action Nos. 1052-73, 74-989, 74-1715, 74-1958 and 74-2032.

Seitz, Chief Judge, Gibbons and Rosenn, Circuit Judges.

Author: Gibbons

Opinion OF THE COURT

GIBBONS, Circuit Judge

These consolidated appeals bring before us five separate pro se complaints filed by Allen B. Scott, a long time resident of Trenton State Hospital, a psychiatric hospital to which New Jersey has customarily committed persons charged with a crime but unable to stand trial or acquitted by reason of insanity.

In District Court Civil Action No. 1052-73, consisting of complaints filed on July 17, 1973 and July 27, 1973, the defendant is Dr. Ingre Rudolph Plante, a physician employed as Chief Executive Officer of the Trenton State Hospital (hereinafter Hospital). These complaints allege that Scott has been confined to the Hospital since 1955, that all charges against him were dismissed on the ground of insanity in 1968, and that since 1968 he has been confined in violation of his constitutional rights. The July 27th complaint asserts that Scott has been forced to take drugs and other treatment against his will and without consent of any family member. The complaints seek declaratory relief and damages.

In District Court Civil Action No. 74-989, filed July 1, 1974, the defendant is Ann Klein, the New Jersey Commissioner of Institutions and Agencies, which department includes the Hospital. The complaint alleges that the defendant has "made no effort to rehabilitate me, discharge me or transfer me to a civil hospital, sense [sic] my charges were dismissed over 5 years ago." The complaint seeks damages and injunctive relief.

In District Court Civil Action No. 74-1715, filed November 4, 1974, the defendant is Dr. Martin Weinberg, Medical Director of the Hospital and New Jersey Mental Health Commissioner. The complaint states:

I developed a lung condition or tuberculosis from the lack of fresh air or proper ventilation in the Vroom Bldg. Dayrooms. The dayrooms are full of smoke and stale air. There is inadequate heating and ventilation in all of the Vroom Bldg.

I should of [sic] been transferred to the civil hospital tuberculosis bldg.

The Vroom Building is the maximum security wing of the Hospital. The complaint seeks damages and a transfer to a civil tuberculosis hospital. It also repeats the allegation in Civil Action No. 1052-73 of unlawful confinement.

In District Court Civil Action No. 74-1958 filed December 6, 1974, the defendant is Governor Brendan T. Byrne. It repeats the allegation in Civil Action No. 1052-73 that all criminal charges against Scott have been dismissed, and claims that the refusal to transfer him to a civil hospital violates his constitutional rights. The complaint seeks declaratory relief and damages.

In District Court Civil Action No. 74-2032, filed December 30, 1974, the defendant is Chief Justice Richard J. Hughes. On behalf of Scott and all similarly situated inmates of the Vroom Building, the complaint alleges that the practice of holding hearings on sanity in the Vroom Building does not give the inmates a meaningful hearing. Scott contends that the presiding judge does not permit inmates to testify on their own behalf and that the hearings are not open to the public but instead are held in the staff room which provides no room for inmates to have family or relatives present. Scott also repeats the allegation of Civil Action No. 1052-73 that since criminal charges have been dropped he should be transferred to a civil hospital. The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as damages on behalf of the class.

In all five actions Scott sought the appointment of counsel, but in each case the court ruled that ...


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