United States District Court, D. Colorado
LINDSAY A. SAUNDERS,  Plaintiff,
ANDERS JACOBSON, in his official capacity as Interim Director of the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections; and ERIN JACOBS, in her official capacity as Director of Platte Valley Youth Services Center, Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' THIRD MOTION TO
B. Shaffer United States Magistrate Judge.
Lindsay A. Saunders sued Defendants Anders Jacobson and Erin
Jacobs, in their official capacities for respectively the
Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Youth
Corrections (“DYC”) and the DYC's Platte
Valley Youth Services Center (“Platte Valley) for not
permitting her to access local news while she was in Platte
Valley's custody. She seeks prospective injunctive relief
in the form of requiring Platte Valley to permit her personal
subscription to the Denver Post, subject to the
facility's existing screening policies. Defendants move
to dismiss the action as moot because Plaintiff is no longer
in DYC custody and is not expected to return to DYC. For the
reasons that follow, the court grants the motion and
dismisses this action without prejudice.
filed her complaint pro se on October 2, 2015. Doc.
1. On October 7, 2015, Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher
granted Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma
pauperis and ordered appointment of a guardian ad litem.
Doc. 4. Attorney Megan Anne Baker accepted the appointment as
guardian ad litem on a pro bono basis. Doc. 5.
the same month, Plaintiff sought appointment of a pro bono
lawyer. On November 17, 2015, Judge Gallagher granted
Plaintiff's request and placed her on the list seeking
pro bono representation under the court's Civil Pro Bono
Panel, D.C.COLO.LAttyR 15. Doc. 9. Pro bono counsel Chuan
“CiCi” Chen and Douglas L. Abbott accepted the
appointment and entered appearances in respectively March
2016 and November 2016. Docs. 13, 47. Pursuant to initial
review procedures for in forma pauperis complaints, Judge
Gallagher required Plaintiff to amend her complaint. Doc. 18.
Through counsel, Plaintiff did so on June 30, 2016. Doc. 19.
1, 2016, the case was redrawn to Judge William J.
Martínez, who referred the case to this magistrate
judge for nondispositive proceedings. Docs. 20-22. On
September 1, 2016, the parties consented to this magistrate
judge's jurisdiction to hear the case under 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). Doc. 34. Judge Martínez then referred
the case to the undersigned for all purposes. Doc. 36. After
Defendants moved to dismiss, the parties agreed that
Plaintiff could file a second amended complaint.
Plaintiff's second amended complaint brought two claims
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: violation of her First Amendment
rights of freedom of speech and association (first claim),
and retaliation for her exercising the right to petition
(second claim). Doc. 39 (“SAC”). Plaintiff
subsequently dismissed the retaliation claim. Doc. 52.
alleges inter alia that
At all relevant times during Ms. Saunders's commitment at
Platte Valley, Platte Valley has maintained a stated policy
prohibiting its youth residents from accessing “local
media[, ] including newspapers and TV news.” * * * Ms.
Saunders has a First Amendment right to freedom of speech and
association that has been violated by Defendants' policy
to categorically ban access to local news media.
The policy as established, maintained, and enforced by
Defendants prevents youth residents and detainees from
receiving local news media, whose access is important to the
rehabilitative nature of the youths' commitment or
detention at Platte Valley.
Such a policy, both facially and as applied to Ms. Saunders,
violates the free speech and association rights guaranteed by
the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. * * * Accommodating Ms. Saunders's First
Amendment right to free speech and association through access
to local news would not place on Platte Valley or other DYC
detention centers an undue burden with respect to their
guards or staff members, their other youth residents or
adjudicated delinquent juveniles, or their allocation of
Doc. 39, SAC ¶¶ 14, 79-81, 86. Plaintiff requests
“[a]ppropriate prospective injunctive relief against
Defendants prohibiting further violations of Ms.
Saunders's First Amendment rights.” Id. at
October 25, 2016, the court set a final pretrial conference
in February 2017 and a two day bench trial in March 2017.
Docs. 44, 45. On January 24, 2017, the parties jointly moved
to continue the final pretrial conference because Plaintiff
sentencing hearing on an unrelated criminal charge scheduled
for February 17, 2017.… Depending on the sentence she
receives, she may be transferred to the Colorado Department
of Corrections before the trial in this action. … If
she is moved, Ms. Saunders may no longer be subject to the
Division of Youth Corrections policies she challenges in this
Doc. 57 at pp. 1-2. At Plaintiff's February 17
sentencing, she “was sentenced to probation … on
an adult charge. … [S]he returned to Platte Valley to
carry out adult probation concomitantly with [her] juvenile
commitments.” Doc. 76 at p. 2. During the trial,
Plaintiff was in DYC's custody, and she remained so when