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Monday, August 17, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decided two more Indiana cases on Friday, one a reversal in an inmate's constitutional right to marry case

Humberto Sanchez-Rengifo v. J. Caraway (SD Ind., Lawrence), a 15-page opinion, Judge Ripple writes:

Humberto Sanchez-Rengifo, imprisoned after a conviction in the District of Columbia, brought a petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, the district in which he is serving his sentence. The district court denied the petition and did not address the matter of a certificate of appealability. Mr. Sanchez-Rengifo then filed an appeal here. We conclude that, for purposes of habeas corpus relief, Mr. Sanchez-Rengifo’s petition must be deemed as seeking relief from a detention “aris[ing] out of process issued by a State court,” 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(1)(A). A certificate of appealability is therefore required before he can pursue an appeal in this court. On review of Mr. Sanchez-Rengifo’s submissions, we conclude that a certificate of appealability cannot be granted. Accordingly, we dismiss Mr. Sanchez-Rengifo’s petition for lack of jurisdiction. * * *

Mr. Sanchez-Rengifo has not raised a substantial showing that his due process rights or his protections against double jeopardy were violated. Consequently, we deny Mr. Sanchez-Rengifo a certificate of appealability and dismiss his appeal for want of jurisdiction. APPEAL DISMISSED

In Rebecca Riker v. Bruce Lemmon (SD Ind., Pratt), a 24-page opinion, Judge Ripple writes:

While working as an employee of a contractor at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Rebecca Riker engaged in a romantic relationship with inmate Paul Vest. When the relationship became known, her employment ended. She later requested that she be allowed to visit Vest, but prison officials denied those requests as forbidden by the institution’s inmate visitation policy. Ms. Riker and Vest later submitted an application to marry, which prison officials also denied.

Ms. Riker then brought this action against several individual officials of the Indiana Department of Corrections (“the Department” or “IDOC”), in their official and individual capacities, challenging the denials of her requests to visit and to marry Vest. She sought damages against the individual defendants as well as declarative and injunctive relief. The district court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. It concluded that prohibiting Ms. Riker from visiting Vest was reasonable and that this restriction did not unconstitutionally burden her right to marry. The court also granted the individual defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity.

In this appeal, Ms. Riker limits her challenge to the district court’s determination that, based on the summary judgment record, the defendants’ refusal to permit the marriage does not violate Ms. Riker’s rights guaranteed by the Constitution. We respectfully disagree with the district court and conclude that, on this record, the defendants have failed to justify adequately the denial of Ms. Riker’s marriage request. We accordingly reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case for further proceedings. * * *

The district court erred in granting the Department’s motion for summary judgment and concluding that the Department’s denial of Ms. Riker’s request for a brief, onetime visit in order to participate in a marriage ceremony did not violate her constitutional right to marry. The judgment of the district court is reversed, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. Ms. Riker may recover the costs of this appeal. REVERSED AND REMANDED

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 17, 2015 09:27 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions