WARNER v. ORANGE COUNTY DEPT. OF PROBATION
827 F.Supp. 261 (1993)
Robert WARNER, Plaintiff,
ORANGE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PROBATION, Defendant.
No. 93 Civ. 1544 (GLG).
United States District Court, S.D. New York.
July 29, 1993.
Robert N. Isseks, Goshen, NY, for plaintiff.
Stephen R. Hunter, County Atty., Dept. of Law, Government Center Goshen, NY (Michael P. Bazell, Sr. Asst. County Atty., of counsel), for defendant.
GOETTEL, District Judge:
This is an action for compensatory damages and injunctive relief brought by Plaintiff Robert Warner against Defendant Orange County Department of Probation.
I. STATEMENT OF THE FACTS
On November 13, 1990, Plaintiff was convicted of Driving While Ability Impaired under N.Y.Veh.Traf.Law Section 1192(1). This was Plaintiff's third alcohol-related driving offense within a period of slightly more than one year. Plaintiff received a sentence of three years probation which included several "conditions of probation." The subject of the present complaint is condition No. 5 which states: "That you will attend Alcoholics Anonymous at the direction of your probation officer." Plaintiff's Complaint at 3.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an organization dedicated to helping people recover from alcoholism. AA is not a party to this action. According to affidavits submitted by Defendant, there are over 35,000 AA programs in the United States and over one million members. Some important principles of the AA program are set forth in a pamphlet entitled "The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous" which was allegedly distributed to Plaintiff and to many other new participants in AA. Several of these "steps" include language acknowledging the existence of a Higher Power and the necessity of subjugating oneself to such a Power as a precondition of successful treatment of alcoholism. Examples include: