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Repression Ohio Style

By John Perotti

On April 14, 1994, the 60th day of a hungerstrike by Danny Cahill (see PLN, April, 1994), state representatives Rhine McLin and Samuel Bateman ordered Lebanon Correctional Institution officials to take them to Danny's isolation cell. Danny had been experiencing daily vomiting and convulsions; his cell reeked of vomit. Lebanon prisoncrats had refused to recognize Danny's protest or medically monitor his strike, contrary to department rules.

Representative McLin promised to launch an investigation into the misuse and falsified charges of "gang related activity" used to repress prison activists and jailhouse lawyers and ordered the Lebanon physician to place Danny on a liquid diet. The original charges stemmed from Lebanon investigator Flick monitoring mail between myself, my companion Sharon, Chryztof Knecht, Bill Martin and Danny which were formulating tactics of legitimate legislative lobbying letters and flyers protesting the implementation of a supermax prison in Ohio, as well as support activities for our class action lawsuit against Ohio's governor and DORC challenging overcrowding in Ohio along with the reduced programs and conditions resulting from the overcrowding. The suit encompasses six different maximum and close security Ohio prisons and has eleven named plaintiffs.

In effect, Danny was charged with being a "gang leader" due to his being a plaintiff in Knecht et al. v. Voinavitch, et al. Case number C-1-94-12 (SD OH) (Judge Speigel). Justice Watch issued press releases and we expressed our respect and solidarity with them for their support. Danny is still held in isolation, recovering from the strike.

Any Ohio prisoners charged with a Class II R31 as a pretext to retaliate for legitimate constitutionally protected activities should write to State Representative McLin aprising her of the situation. We give our thanks to State Representatives McLin and Bateman for their conscientious involvement and intervention in the blatant abuse of power against Danny by Lebanon prisoncrats.

The retaliation I've been subjected to, besides the usual witholding and opening of legal and regular mail, denial of a visit from an 84 year old nun confined to a wheelchair, and the everyday verbal harassment, was to issue a reversal of the two set up infractions that placed me in administrative control (AC) then issue a reversal of the reversal that was supposed to let me out!

In response to a legal pleading where I informed the court that I had yet to recieve a ruling on my administrative appeal, 72 months after the tickets that placed me in AC (appeals are supposed to be heard within 30 days), Cheryle Jorgenson, staff attorney for the DORC, issued a "Decision of Director on Disciplinary Appeal 94-37" stating that there was no record of the RIB proceeding, and since none exists, to either rehear the case or expunge it from my record. This was dated March 17, 1994.

When I argued to MANCI officials that it would be a further constitutional violation to rehear a 72 month old case, and that I should be released to general population with the infractions expunged, they balked. On March 28, 1994, the sixth circuit court of appeals affirmed dismissal of a major retaliation suit in which I was a plaintiff, ruling for the prisoncrats. On March 29, 1994, MANCI training officer R. Plaster called me out to the office and informed me that he was going to call Cheryle Jorgenson and tell her he had "located" the records of the RIB proceeding and would make them available to her. This was done because they no longer had to defend against the previous suit which had them red handed.

Being the age old veteran of ending up on the short end of the stick when it comes to the state, I foresaw the events to come and hurridly prepared and filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus in the county court MANCI is located in, seeking enforcement of the reversal and asking for release into the general population. This was filed on April 7, 1994. Sure enough, Cheryle Jorgenson, writing for DORC Director Wilkenson issued a "Supplemental Decision of the Director on Disciplinary Appeal 94-37" dated, you guessed it, April 7, 1994, stating that the missing/non-existent records of the RIB proceeding "evidently" had been misfiled or misplaced at central office and now had been "discovered" and, upon review they now affirm the RIB findings and reverse the previous decision reversing the guilty finding.

In a further attempt to moot my petition for habeas relief I was transferred to the infamous Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. Upon my arrival here I was met by Captain Brown, whom I had won a $2,000 judgment against after he sprayed me in the face with a fire extinguisher and beat me while I was handcuffed and shackled. After winning that suit I was transferred from SOCF to a one man control unit range at the Lebanon Correctional Facility before being sent to Mansfield. It appears I've come full circle.

To carry on Danny Cahill's tradition of peaceful protest, I have followed his lead and began a hungerstrike on May 3, 1994, to protest my being kept in AC for this "reversal of the reversal" of the infractions that placed me in AC to begin with as well as my retaliatory transfer to SOCF. I ask that all the readers of this article write state representative Rhine McLin, with a copy to Director Reginald Wilkenson, calling for a full investigation into this glaring example of retaliation, and his justification for waiting 72 months to hear my administrative appeal, when regulations demand that he do so within 30 days, then issue an order reversing the case, only to "reverse his reversal" after he became victorious in the previous suit when the 6th circuit court of appeals affirmed the dismissal, and the same day I filed for a writ of habeas corpus demanding release based on the reversal. I ask that you demand my release back to general population and expunge the infractions, just as he ordered in his first reversal of March 17, 1994.

It is important that all of us send a message to the state legislators and our representatives exposing the obvious retaliation and repression for our legitimate utilizaton of the democratic process they they suposedly base our United States constitution and government on. When peaceful and legitimate process is denied, what does that leave us? Remember Attica, remember Santa Fe, remember Lucasville!
John Perotti. # 167712
P.O. Box 45699
Lucasville, OH. 45699-0001


In Re "Decision of Director on Disciplinary Appeal 94-37", John Perotti # 167712 SOCF release from AC.

State Representative Rhine McLin
16 E. Broad St. 9th F1. Rm. 901
Columbus, OH. 43216

Reginald Wilkenson
Director, DORC
1050 Freeway Drive N.
Columbus, OH. 43226

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