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Prisoner Litigation in the US Courts

This is a 311 page book by federal District of Columbia district court judge Charles Richey. The book is aimed primarily at federal court judges who must deal with pro se prisoner litigation. It also gives an excellent explanation of procedural and constitutional issues to prisoners who file suit in federal court.

The book covers each phase of a prison civil rights lawsuit, from drafting a complaint to issuance of a summons. It discusses the appointment of counsel in civil rights cases as well as the award of attorney fees. Extensively footnoted, the book contains numerous case citations dealing with prison constitutional issues, which will be useful to anyone litigating such claims.

The only drawbacks to this otherwise well written and informative book are that shortly after it was printed the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) was signed into law; which significantly changed the procedural aspects of prison litigation by pro se litigants. (See July, 1996, PLN). The book contains numerous forms but they are all sample orders for judges to use, not motions for use by litigants. Lastly, much of the book focuses on District of Columbia law which is somewhat different from that in other circuits. Despite this, the book is a reasonably priced addition to any library collection. Cost: $18.50. Contact: West Publishing, P.O. Box 64779, St. Paul, MN 55164-0779.

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