RETURN: JANUARY 19, 2010
GEORGE LENIART : SUPERIOR COURT
VS. : J. D. OF NEW LONDON
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, :
BRIAN K. MURPHY :
V E R I F I E D C O M P L A I N T
1. This is an action for injunctive relief against the defendants seeking that the plaintiff, George Leniart, be provided access to his legal papers, timely transport to the courts and opportunity to sleep during the nights on which he stands trial. He brings this action claiming violation of his rights under the Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
2. Jurisdiction of this court is invoked under the provisions of Sections 1331, 1343(3) and 1367(a) of Title 28 and, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
3. The plaintiff is currently in trial during jury selection in a capital felony being prosecuted in the Judicial District of New London before Judge Stuart M. Schimelman. He is housed at the Walker Special Management and Reception Unit in Suffield, Connecticut, a facility under the dominion and control of the Department of Correction.
4. The Department of Correction is the state agency responsible for the care and custody of sentenced inmates and pre-trial detainees on behalf of the State of Connecticut.
5. Brian K. Murphy is the Commissioner of the Department of Correction and is the final policy maker for the department.
6. Mr. Leniart is in the custody of the Department of Correction by virtue of the capital felony charges he currently faces and as a result of his status as a parolee in unrelated charges.
7. Jury selection commenced in the capital felony on January 4, 2010. Evidence is expected to commence on January 25, 2010. The court schedule for each of the days associated with jury selection and trial is expected to be 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
8. Mr. Leniart is being systematically deprived of sleep during the course of these proceedings by the defendants, and, as such, his right to a fair trial is being impinged. The sleep deprivation claim arises from the following facts:
a. Mr. Leniart is awoken each day at 3:00 a.m. for transport from Suffield to New London.
b. Rather than being transported directly from Suffield to New London, Mr. Leniart is transshipped to various other locations, including the Corrigan Correctional Institution.
c. At the close of each day's court proceedings, Mr. Leniart is returned to Suffield by means of indirect routes, requiring a stop and detention at the Corrigan Correctional facility.
d. Mr. Leniart does not arrive in Suffield until somewhere between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.
e. The result of transportation regime is that Mr. Leniart is given an opportunity to sleep two to four hours per night.
9. Mr. Leniart arrived in the New London Superior Court on January 4, 2010 with his legal papers and was prepared to assist his counsel, serving as a Special Public Defender, with his defense. Those papers have since been confiscated and he has not been permitted to return to court with them.
10. Mr. Leniart has been held briefly each morning and night at the Corrigan Correctional Institution. While there, guards have taunted him, and informed other inmates that Mr. Leniart is a so-called "ripper," thus placing Mr. Leniart in fear for his physical safety. Mr. Leniart has been convicted previously of a sex offense and currently stands trial for the kidnaping, rape and murder of a child under the age of sixteen.
11. The defendants refuse to provide Mr. Leniart transport directly from the Walker Reception and Special Management Unit in Suffield to the New London Superior Court, a distance of approximately 65 miles. That trip should take no more than 90 minutes each way.
12. Upon information and belief, other pre-trial detainees have been provided individual transportation, thus permitting them to retain their legal papers, avoid harassment and intimidation at other penal institutions, and obtain adequate sleep at night.
13. The defendants have offered Mr. Leniart the option of being housed at the Corrigan Correctional facility during the pendency of his trial, but Mr. Leniart has rejected the offer as he fears for his life and safety while at Corrigan. He has also been informed he cannot have access to his legal papers while at Corrigan unless he views those papers in a counselor's office, which will give him virtually no time to review the papers during the pendency of his trial.
14. The action of the defendants in depriving Mr. Leniart adequate sleep and access to his legal papers inflicts irreparable injury upon the plaintiff. If convicted of a capital felony, the plaintiff faces a sentence of life without possibility of parole.
15. The plaintiff has attempted to raise these issues in the trial court before Judge Stuart Schimelman and has not been granted the relief requested.
16. The facts and circumstances supporting paragraphs one through fourteen are more particularly described in the affidavit of Mr. Leniart attached to this Complaint as Exhibit A.
17. The facts asserts in paragraph 15 are made on representation of the undersigned as counsel for Mr. Leniart in the underlying capital felony trial.
WHEREFORE, the plaintiff claims judgment against the defendants and each of them, jointly and severally, as follows:
1. A temporary and permanent injunction requiring the defendants to provide individual transport from the Walker Reception and Special Management Unit to the New London Superior Court commencing immediately and continuing throughout the pendency of the trial currently being conducted.
2. An order requiring that the plaintiff be permitted to bring his legal papers to and from Court each day so that he may provide assistance to counsel in defense of the charges brought against him.
3. Such other relief as to this court shall appear to be fair and equitable.
NORMAN A. PATTIS (#408681)
649 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524