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Ohio Prisoner Awarded $90.50 For Lost Property, Filing Fee

On August 19, 2004, the Ohio Court Of Claims awarded $90.50--to be paid by
the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC)--to a state
prisoner whose property was confiscated and then lost by DRC personnel.

Mark Wooden, a prisoner at the Richland Correctional Institution (RCI), was
removed from the general population and placed in segregation on September
17, 2003. An RCI guard packed up his property. During the pack up, Wooden
claimed, a remote control, headphones, mirror, adapter, and a pair of
sunglasses were confiscated. According to Wooden, the confiscated items
were placed in storage for a short while and then discarded.

Wooden sued the DEC, pro se, seeking $65.50 for the discarded property (the
estimated replacement value) and recovery of the $25.00 filing fee. The DRC
admitted the items in question had been confiscated and subsequently lost
or stolen. The DRC denied liability, however, arguing that Wooden had not
produced sufficient evidence to establish ownership of the property. Wooden
argued to the contrary, submitting property papers for his headphones and
explaining that while property papers were not issued for remote controls,
he did have property papers for his television.

The Court concluded that Wooden was the "rightful owner of all confiscated
property items," and further held that the DEC had presented insufficient
evidence to show that the property "was altered to such an extent as to
radically change the characteristic of the property." Accordingly, the
Court awarded Wooden $90.50--$65.50 for the property and $25.00 for the
filing fee--and assessed court costs against the DRC. See: Wooden v. Ohio
Department Of Rehabilitations And Correction, 2004 Ohio 4820 (OH 2004).

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Related legal case

Wooden v. Ohio Department Of Rehabilitations And C