United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHERINE MENENDEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Nicholas Olson is civilly committed at the Minnesota Sex
Offender Program. Prior to his commitment, Mr. Olson had been
convicted of third-degree and fourth degree criminal sexual
conduct in the Minnesota state courts. See State v.
Olson, No. 53-CR-14-865 (Minn. Dist. Ct.); State v.
Olson, No. 32-CR-10-167 (Minn. Dist. Ct.).
relevant here, two legal consequences (beyond the terms of
imprisonment and eventual civil commitment) followed from the
criminal convictions. Minnesota law requires that persons
convicted of certain sexual offenses be sentenced to a
mandatory ten-year or lifetime term of conditional release,
depending upon the circumstances of the conviction.
See Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subds. 6-7.
Minnesota law also requires that persons convicted of sexual
offenses register with the State and regularly provide
information regarding residences, work location, vehicles
owned, and so on; failure to register or provide accurate
information is a criminal offense. See Minn. Stat.
litigation, Mr. Olson challenges the legality of the
conditional-release and registration statutes. Mr. Olson did
not pay the filing fee for this matter, but instead applied
for in forma pauperis (“IFP”) status.
See ECF No. 5. That IFP application is now before
the Court and must be considered before any other action may
be taken in this matter.
review, this Court concludes that Mr. Olson qualifies
financially for IFP status, but for the reasons explored
below his case should be dismissed. An IFP application should
be denied and the underlying action dismissed when an IFP
applicant has filed a complaint that fails to state a cause
of action on which relief may be granted. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); Atkinson v. Bohn,
91 F.3d 1127, 1128 (8th Cir. 1996) (per curiam); Carter
v. Schafer, 273 Fed. App'x 581, 582 (8th Cir. 2008)
(per curiam) (“[C]ontrary to plaintiffs' arguments
on appeal, the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) apply
to all persons proceeding IFP and are not limited to prisoner
suits, and the provisions allow dismissal without
service.”). In reviewing whether a complaint states a
claim on which relief may be granted, this Court must accept
as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint and
draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Aten v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 511 F.3d 818, 820 (8th
Cir. 2008). Although the factual allegations in the complaint
need not be detailed, they must be sufficient to “raise
a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). The complaint must “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. In
assessing the sufficiency of the complaint, the Court may
disregard legal conclusions that are couched as factual
allegations. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009). Pro se complaints are to be construed liberally, but
they still must allege sufficient facts to support the claims
advanced. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th
initial matter, Mr. Olson seeks relief under “the Bane
Act, ” see, e.g., Am. Compl. ¶ 2 [ECF No.
4], presumably a reference to the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act,
Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, a California state statute. But
Mr. Olson is a civil detainee of the State of Minnesota
seeking relief exclusively from defendants sued in their
official capacities as agents of the State of Minnesota. It
is therefore difficult to see what relevance the Bane Act
could ever have to these proceedings. Mr. Olson fails to
articulate any basis for relief provided by this law.
relevant are Mr. Olson's claims that the
conditional-release and registration statutes violate his
federal constitutional rights. Nevertheless, Mr. Olson's
constitutional claims are insufficiently pleaded and should
Olson raises essentially three grounds for relief in this
proceeding. First, Mr. Olson suggests that, for a variety of
reasons, he should not have been subject to a term of
conditional release at all under Minnesota law as a result of
his offense. See, e.g., Am. Compl. ¶¶
52-53. Mr. Olson's arguments on this point are difficult
to discern. Contrary to Mr. Olson's assertions,
conditional release is not a “new charge” for
which additional procedures or findings of fact are
necessary; it is instead simply one aspect of the sentence
imposed for the offenses for which a defendant has been found
guilty. There is no allegation that the criminal proceedings
themselves violated Mr. Olson's federal due process
rights, and in any event, it would be far too late for Mr.
Olson to seek to have his criminal convictions invalidated.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2244(d).
Mr. Olson alleges that the terms of his conditional release
unlawfully coerce him into complying with sex-offender
treatment, as failure to comply with treatment amounts to a
violation of the terms of his conditional release and may
therefore result in the revocation of his conditional release
and his return to prison. Mr. Olson fails to allege how the
requirement that he complete sex-offender treatment violates
his constitutional rights. The mere fact that the State of
Minnesota imposes treatment as a condition of release from
incarceration does not, by itself, amount to a constitutional
violation; this is, after all, the entire point of
conditional release-that defendants abide by the conditions
under the potential penalty of revocation. Without further
allegations regarding the specific constitutional rights
infringed as a result of the treatment requirement, Mr.
Olson's claim is insufficiently pleaded.
Mr. Olson alleges that the conditions imposed by the
Minnesota registration statute, § 243.166, violate his
Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. These
constitutional claims have been squarely rejected previously
as raised against the Minnesota registration statute,
including by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. See
Larson v. Roy, No. 12-0707 (MJD/AJB), 2013 WL 3280247,
*5-8 (D. Minn. June 26, 2013) (citing Gunderson v.
Hvass, 339 F.3d 639, 643 (8th Cir. 2003)). Mr. Olson is
unable to distinguish his challenge to the statute from this
controlling precedent. Therefore, Mr. Olson's claims fail
as a matter of law.
these reasons, it is recommended that this matter be
dismissed and Mr. Olson's IFP application denied. Mr.
Olson's claim that the condition of release that he
undergo treatment amounts to a violation of his
constitutional rights is at least hypothetically amenable to
repleading and therefore should be dismissed without
prejudice; amendment of Mr. Olson's other claims would be
futile, and those claims should therefore be dismissed
with prejudice. See Pet Quarters, Inc. v.
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp., 559 F.3d 772, 782
(8th Cir. 2009) (dismissal with ...