by Paul Wright
Beginning with this issue of PLN there will be some changes in the law articles. Due to the limited space we have for news and law articles and the ongoing growth in prison and jail related cases being decided by the courts, we are going to focus more on appellate court rulings and final decisions on the merits in the lower courts. This means that cases at the district court level that deny summary judgment to prison or jail defendants will rarely be reported in PLN unless they decide new or novel issues of law. We reported those cases in the past since they are useful to litigants in the districts where the case arose and tend to show patterns of abuse and liability. We hope this will cut down on the back log of law articles and better serve our readers.
In this issue we report the settlement of PLN's second censorship lawsuit against the Oregon DOC. Despite PLN's ongoing success in challenging censorship efforts by prisons in various parts of the country, PLN is still faced with myriad censorship problems, all of which require staff time and resources to attempt to resolve administratively, and if that is not possible, to initiate litigation to resolve it.
Prisoner readers who experience censorship of PLN or the books we distribute should notify PLN and send any documentation. We also encourage prisoner readers to exhaust whatever administrative remedies are available to better document the problem. Such documentation has frequently been essential in proving PLN's claims. PLN remains committed to ensuring that all prisoners be able to receive both our magazine and the books we distribute and we are prepared to pursue free speech litigation as necessary to ensure this occurs
PLN's office staff have noticed that many readers are sending legal pleadings and documents, usually from their criminal cases to PLN's office. As a practical matter, PLN lacks the time and resources to do anything with these materials. We are very interested in verdicts and settlements when prisoners win cases.
Due to the shortage of space in PLN, as noted above, however, we will only rarely report on cases at the filing stage or before they are resolved on the merits. Exceptions to that are class actions challenging systemwide practices where counsel represents the plaintiffs. We lack the resources to assist prisoners with their criminal convictions and are unaware of any national programs which can. Sending pleadings from criminal cases to PLN is a waste of your copies and postage, since PLN also lacks the resources to return the material absent an SASE.
PLN is now distributing a new law dictionary which is much bigger and more detailed than the one we had previously distributed. See page 33 for details. PLN continues its efforts to find quality legal materials to distribute to prisoner litigants but there is an unwillingness by most legal publishers to do anything other than direct sales.
Enjoy this issue of PLN and please encourage others to subscribe.
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login