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Washington Gift Publication Ban Unconstitutional

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a prisoner may receive books
from a publisher and be paid by an outside source. Washington Prisoner
Tommie Lee Stewart was refused to possess two books sent directly from the
publisher and paid for by his sister. His 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action
filed in the Eastern District Court of Washington alleged first amendment
violations that required monetary damages and injunctive relief. The
district court granted summary judgment, to prison officials.

The Ninth Circuit held "there is no rational relationship between
defendant's gift publication bar and the proffered legitimate governmental
interests of controlling the flow of contraband into the prisons,
combating fire hazards and maintaining adequate storage space, avoiding
over-burdening prison staff, and prohibiting incidents of strong arming."
Accordingly, the district court erred by granting relief to prison
officials on this issue. However, the court held the law was not clearly
established on the issue at the time of events in this suit, and prison
officials are entitled to qualified immunity. The matter was remanded for
entry of injunctive relief to allow Stewart to receive books purchased by
a relative. This is an unpublished opinion. See: Stewart v. Walter, 188
F.3d 515, 1999 WL 613395 (9th Cir. 1999)

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Related legal case

Stewart v. Walter

TOMMIE LEE STEWART, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. KAY WALTER; TOM ROLFS; and RONALD MCKEE, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 98-35804


188 F.3d 515; 1999 U.S. App.

April 29, 1999 n2, Submitted

n2 The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. See Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2).

August 12, 1999, Filed


PRIOR HISTORY: Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. D.C. No. CV-97-00281-FVS. Fred L. Van Sickle, District Judge, Presiding.

Reported in Full-Text Format at: 1999 U.S. App.

REVERSED in part, AFFIRMED in part, and REMANDED.