Snyder v. King, No. 13-1899 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Snyder was involved in a fistfight with another town council member. He was convicted of battery. The court imposed a sentence of six months suspended and six months of home detention, but later determined that Snyder had violated probation. Snyder served the remainder of his sentence at the county jail. While Snyder was incarcerated, the County Voter Registration Board informed him that his voter registration had been cancelled under Ind. Code 3-7-46. Snyder knew that Indiana law permits him to reregister to vote at any time following release from jail. Snyder refused to re-register. He was turned away from voting in a special election. He sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of the National Voter Registration Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973gg; the Help America Vote Act, 42 U.S.C. 15301; the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1971; and the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions. On certification, the Indiana Supreme Court held that the Indiana Constitution authorized temporary disenfranchisement of any incarcerated convict. The district court dismissed the state defendants on sovereign immunity grounds; held that a county cannot be held liable under Section 1983 for acts done under state or federal law; and held that claims to enjoin de-registration or require reinstatement were not justiciable. Despite all parties arguing to the contrary, the Seventh Circuit found the case moot. Snyder waived any challenge to dismissal of the state defendants and failed to state a Monell claim against the county defendants.