HRDC Litigation Project Update – 25th Anniversary Edition
by Lance Weber
After 25 years of publishing Prison Legal News and nearly as many years of litigation over PLN’s right to send its magazine and books to prisoners, the right to communicate news and information about the U.S. criminal justice system to those who need it the most is as insecure as ever.
As evidenced by the current docket for the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), PLN’s parent non-profit organization, publications still continue to be censored by corrections officials, typically without any regard for PLN’s due process rights. Prison and jail mailroom staff frequently censor PLN’s publications and fail to send PLN any notice despite the fact that they may deliver censorship notices to each prisoner subscriber. Accordingly, PLN relies heavily on letters from prisoners to determine when its Constitutional rights are being violated, but the volume of correspondence received at our office makes the management of this information very challenging. Incoming mail relevant to censorship and due process violations sometimes exceeds a hundred pieces per day. Obviously, the volume of mail we receive is too great for us to respond to every letter; therefore, when you write to HRDC, please keep your correspondence as concise and to the point as possible. But please do keep writing to report cases of PLN censorship.
If you are incarcerated and contact us to report censorship of PLN’s magazine, books or correspondence, it is most helpful if you are able to include a written response to your grievance or appeal concerning the censorship. Even if staff responses are unhelpful (such as a response claiming ignorance of any censorship or other “problems” with the mail), we would still like a copy that we can keep for our records. Further, a short declaration indicating exactly which items did not arrive in the mail would be helpful, such as which issue of PLN or which book order was rejected by prison or jail staff. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746, adding the following language to the signature block at the end of a dated, signed statement turns it into a declaration that PLN could potentially use as evidence: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”
PLN keeps excellent records of our publications mailed to prisoners, but typically we lack evidence of non-delivery of those publications to the recipients, which is where declarations are tremendously helpful. I know there are many people who reported illegal censorship practices to me in the early years of my employment at HRDC, and those practices are likely still causing problems for PLN subscribers. If you have previously written to me or to anyone else at HRDC or PLN about ordering publications or books that were paid for but never received, and your letter has gone unanswered due to our limited resources, please contact me and let me know about the censorship so I can try to address the problem at this time. Write to: Lance Weber, Attorney at Law, Attn: PLN Censorship, P.O. Box 1151, Lake Worth, FL 33460.
The following is a comprehensive list of all pending PLN litigation related to censorship and public records requests. This compilation also includes a select list of significant PLN-related cases that have been resolved over the past 25 years, plus other civil rights and wrongful death cases in which HRDC/PLN counsel have been involved. This does not include amicus briefs that PLN has filed or joined in other cases.
Why is PLN engaged in so much litigation? Because prison, jail and other government officials consistently violate the law and our rights.
Pending Censorship Cases
PLN v. County of Bernalillo, et al. The Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico has a policy that prohibits the delivery of books directly to prisoners through the mail. PLN books, including the Prisoner Diabetes Handbook, were censored by jail staff and not delivered to prisoners. PLN filed its complaint and a motion for preliminary injunction in February 2015, and is represented by Laura Ives and Mike Timm of Kennedy, Kennedy & Ives, LLC in Albuquerque, by Bruce Johnson and Angela Galloway of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP in Seattle, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. County of Kankakee, et al. The sheriff of Kankakee County, Illinois has a policy and practice that prohibits prisoners at the county’s two jails from receiving individual subscriptions to magazines and other periodicals. The practices of jail staff evolved so that an exception was being made to allow delivery of PLN but not for other publications. In his response to PLN’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the sheriff denied that PLN was ever censored and avoided the issue of whether individual subscriptions are banned at the jails. Declarations from prisoners and documentary evidence created by jail staff should help prove the existence of the illegal policy. PLN is represented by Jon Loevy, Arthur Loevy and Matt Topic of Loevy & Lovey in Chicago, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. The GEO Group, et al. Staff at the privately-run New Castle Correctional Facility in Indiana began censoring PLN’s monthly publication in 2014, purportedly due to certain ads contained in the magazine, despite the lack of censorship at any other Indiana prisons. In January 2015 the court entered a consent injunction prohibiting censorship of PLN “on the basis that it contains advertisements for goods or services, otherwise lawful, which are prohibited by DOC rules,” and requiring that the defendants provide notice to senders of censored publications, among other terms. PLN is represented by Ken Falk, Gavin Rose and Kelly Eskew of the ACLU of Indiana, by Jon Loevy, Arthur Loevy and Matt Topic of Loevy & Lovey in Chicago, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. County of San Diego, et al. In October 2014, PLN filed a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction challenging a San Diego County, California sheriff’s policy prohibiting jail prisoners from receiving correspondence that is not on a postcard and other rules that arbitrarily suppress the speech of PLN and other publishers. The motion has been fully briefed and remains pending. PLN is represented by Ernest Galvan, Blake Thompson and Jenny Yelin of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP in San Francisco, by Julia Yoo and Grace Jun of Iredale & Yoo, APC in San Diego, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Sullivan County, et al. PLN filed a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction in October 2013 challenging the Sullivan County, Tennessee jail’s “postcard only” policy that resulted in the censorship of PLN’s magazine, books and other correspondence. The jail changed its mail policy around the same time that PLN filed suit. The district court denied PLN’s motion for a preliminary injunction in March 2015, finding that the jail’s change of policy mooted the censorship claim. PLN’s motion for a preliminary injunction on the issue of due process for senders of censored mail remains pending. PLN is represented by Tricia Herzfeld and Will York of Ozment Law in Nashville, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Stolle, et al. PLN filed suit in July 2013 over the Virginia Beach, Virginia jail’s practice of censoring PLN’s publications on the bases that they contain sexually explicit materials and ordering forms with prices. In March 2015 the district court granted PLN’s motion for summary judgment and held that the jail’s policy on sexually explicit materials was overbroad and PLN was denied due process of law. PLN’s claim for damages remains pending. PLN is represented by Charlottesville, Virginia attorneys Jeff Fogel and Steve Rosenfield, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Cox, et al. About ten years after resolving PLN v. Crawford via a consent decree (see below), the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) once again began interfering with PLN’s free speech rights. In June 2013, after demand letters went unanswered, PLN filed suit over the censorship of its books and other correspondence due to NDOC mail policies and practices, such as a requirement that prisoners obtain pre-approval from prison officials before being allowed to receive books through the mail, a ban on stickers/labels and other rules that arbitrarily interfered with PLN’s rights. The NDOC began amending its mail policies shortly after the lawsuit was filed and discovery remains pending in the case. PLN is represented by Las Vegas attorneys Allen Lichtenstein and Staci Pratt, by Ernest Galvan of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP in San Francisco, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Chapman, et al. In September 2012, PLN filed a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction regarding the Walton County, Georgia jail’s ban on prisoner subscriptions to magazines and the failure of jail staff to provide due process to senders of censored mail. The case was bifurcated and the legal and equitable issues tried at a bench trial in February 2014. The court issued a ruling in August 2014 that declared the jail’s publication ban and due process policy were unconstitutional. PLN reached a settlement on its remaining claims for damages, and a motion for attorneys’ fees was submitted to the court and fully briefed as of January 2015. PLN is represented by Atlanta attorneys G. Brian Spears, W. Gerald Weber, Albert Wan and Jeffrey Filipovits, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Jones (formerly PLN v. Mayo). PLN filed suit against the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections in November 2011 over a statewide ban on PLN, purportedly due to advertisements in PLN offering services that would violate FDOC rules. The case is remarkably similar to a lawsuit previously filed by PLN in 2004 (PLN v. Crosby), in which PLN was banned by the FDOC on the basis of its ad content. In Crosby, both the federal district court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held the case was moot due to evidence offered by FDOC officials on the morning of trial claiming they had changed their policy and would allow PLN to be delivered to Florida state prisoners. The FDOC changed its policy again in 2009 and once again began censoring PLN, resulting in the current lawsuit. The case was submitted to the district court following a bench trial during the week of January 5, 2015, and a ruling remains pending. PLN is represented by Randy Berg and Dante Trevisani with the Florida Justice Institute in Miami, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Bezotte, et al. In August 2011, PLN filed a lawsuit challenging the Livingston County, Michigan jail’s policy of prohibiting all incoming correspondence except for postcards and the jail’s failure to provide due process to senders of censored mail. Summary judgment briefing was completed in April 2014 and we await the district court’s order. PLN is represented by Michigan attorneys Thomas Loeb, Brian Prain and Daniel Manville, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
Pending Public Records Cases
PLN v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, et al. In July 2012, PLN requested, via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), copies of records from the Bureau of Prisons or Federal Prison Industries – also known as UNICOR – related to UNICOR’s electronics recycling program, with a focus on hazardous or toxic materials and hazardous working conditions, deaths or injuries that have resulted from same, and related litigation involving UNICOR resulting in settlements or verdicts. The BOP responded to PLN’s FOIA request by assessing $2,744 in search and duplication fees. PLN appealed the assessment of fees and followed up by letter, but never received a response. PLN filed suit for FOIA violations in April 2014; the case is currently in the summary judgment briefing stage. PLN is represented by Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard with the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in Washington, D.C., and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Charles Samuels, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons. In August 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to the government in the fifth round of summary judgment motions in a FOIA case formerly known as PLN v. Lappin. PLN appealed the adverse decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and a three-judge panel heard oral argument in January 2015. The case involves PLN’s FOIA request for documents related to verdicts and settlements in litigation involving the Bureau of Prisons. PLN is represented by Ronnie London and Lisa Zycherman of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP in Washington, D.C., and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al. In July 2013, PLN filed a FOIA request for records related to telephone services and other documents concerning the ability of prisoners to communicate with people outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. Despite follow-up letters, the government never responded to PLN’s FOIA request; accordingly, PLN filed suit in April 2014. The case is currently in the summary judgment briefing phase. PLN is represented by Eric Stahl and Angela Galloway of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP in Seattle and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Corrections Corporation of America.PLN submitted a public records request to the Vermont Department of Corrections and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) in September 2012, seeking settlement and verdict information in lawsuits filed by prisoners. CCA ignored the request and PLN filed suit in May 2013. The trial court granted summary judgment in PLN’s favor and ordered CCA to submit records to the court under seal so it could assess the company’s claim that some of the documents contained “intimate personal details” that should not be disclosed under Vermont’s public records law. The parties await the court’s decision. PLN is represented by Dan Barrett of the ACLU of Vermont and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
Friedmann v. Marshall County. After the sheriff for Marshall County, Tennessee refused to produce records requested by PLN managing editor Alex Friedmann, demanding that he appear in person to make the request, Alex filed a public records suit in state court in May 2014. A trial was held the following month and the court ruled against the sheriff, ordering him to produce the records, related to the county jail, at no cost. The court declined to award fees to Alex’s attorney, Robert Dalton, and he filed a notice of appeal on that issue. Oral argument was held before the Tennessee Court of Appeals on April 8, 2015 and the appellate decision remains pending.
Pending Statutory Challenge
PLN v. Kane, et al. The graduating class of Goddard College in Vermont chose PLN columnist and Pennsylvania prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal to deliver their commencement speech. Abu-Jamal, who received a bachelor’s degree from Goddard while on death row, did not mention the crime for which he was convicted or any of the related facts or circumstances in his pre-recorded speech. In response, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed the Revictimization Relief Act in just three weeks, allowing victims of personal injury crimes to sue an offender for “injunctive and other appropriate relief, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and other costs associated with the litigation” if they can establish mental anguish as a result of the offender’s conduct, including exercising their free speech rights. PLN and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law in January 2015. The court ruled in PLN’s favor and struck down the law on April 28, 2015. PLN is represented by Thomas B. Schmidt III, Amy Ginesky, Eli Segal and Tucker Hull of Pepper Hamilton, LLP, by Witold Walczak and Sara Rose of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, by Seth Kreimer of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
Resolved PLN Censorship Cases
PLN v. Lewis County, et al. PLN filed suit in April 2014 challenging the “postcard only” mail policy at the Lewis County, Washington jail. The court granted PLN’s motion for a preliminary injunction and the parties settled the case with a consent decree in November 2014. PLN also received damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Jesse Wing and Katherine Chamberlain of MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless in Seattle, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. County of Ventura, et al. In January 2014, PLN filed a challenge to the Ventura County, California sheriff’s ban on all incoming correspondence not on a postcard. The district court entered a preliminary injunction in favor of PLN and the parties entered into a consent decree that was adopted by the court in September 2014. PLN also received damages, fees and costs. PLN was represented by Brian Vogel of Ventura, California, by Sandy Rosen, Ernest Galvan and Blake Thompson of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP in San Francisco, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and Sabarish Neelakanta.
PLN v. Holder, et al. PLN filed suit in federal court against the sheriff of Comal County, Texas on July 8, 2013 for censoring PLN’s books, magazines and correspondence without adequate due process. A motion for preliminary injunction was filed but was mooted in September 2013 after the jail changed its mail policy. The parties settled the case with the county agreeing to pay damages, fees and costs. PLN was represented by attorneys James Harrington and Brian McGiverin with the Texas Civil Rights Project, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Robert Jack.
PLN v. Beth, et al. PLN filed suit against the sheriff of Kenosha County, Wisconsin on June 27, 2013 over the censorship of PLN’s books and magazine. In conjunction with the suit, PLN filed a motion for preliminary injunction. The case was resolved with a change in the jail’s mail policy confirmed by a consent decree, plus payment of damages, fees and costs. PLN was represented by the Chicago law firm of Loevy & Loevy and HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Mascara, et al. PLN filed a lawsuit against the jail in St. Lucie County, Florida in December 2013 over its “postcard only” policy and a ban on magazines and books. The district court granted PLN’s motion for preliminary injunction, and the sheriff changed the jail’s mail policy. The parties settled the remaining issues of damages, fees and costs. PLN was represented by attorneys Randall Berg and Dante Trevisani with the Florida Justice Institute, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Robert Jack.
PLN v. Betterton, et al.In November 2012, PLN filed suit against the Upshur County, Texas sheriff’s office for censoring PLN’s publications and other mail sent to prisoners, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. PLN simultaneously filed a motion for preliminary injunction, asking the district court to prohibit the jail from continuing to censor publications mailed to prisoners. The court granted a preliminary injunction and the parties settled in December 2013, with the county agreeing to pay damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Thomas S. Leatherbury, Sean W. Kelly, Kimberly R. McCoy and Marissa A. Wilson of Vinson & Elkins, LLP in Dallas, by Scott Medlock and Brian McGiverin with the Texas Civil Rights Project, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull.
PLN v. Columbia County, et al. PLN filed suit against the sheriff of Columbia County, Oregon on January 13, 2012 over the jail’s “postcard only” mail policy and a ban on magazines. The federal district court issued a preliminary injunction against the jail in May 2012, suspending its postcard only policy and ordering jail officials to deliver magazines to prisoners. In April 2013, following a bench trial, the court held that the jail’s postcard only policy was unconstitutional and entered a permanent injunction. This was the first time that a court had struck down a jail’s postcard only policy following a trial on the merits. The county and PLN subsequently settled the damages claims still at issue in the case, and attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $802,176 were awarded to PLN in March 2014. PLN was represented by attorneys Jesse Wing and Katherine Chamberlain of MacDonald Hoague & Bayless in Seattle, by the late Marc D. Blackman of Ransom Blackman, LLP in Portland, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull.
PLN v. Babeu, et al. PLN filed suit against the sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona challenging the county jail’s ban on all books, magazines and non-postcard mail. In March 2013 the district court granted in part and denied in part the parties’ cross-motions for partial summary judgment. The parties agreed to settle the remaining claims of damages, fees and costs. PLN was represented by Dan Pochoda with the Arizona ACLU, by Ernest Galvan and Blake Thompson of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Gusman, et al.In September 2011, PLN filed suit against the sheriff of Orleans Parish, Louisiana, challenging a ban on books and magazines at the Orleans Parish Prison. The parties entered into a consent judgment and the jail changed its mail policies in December 2011. The parties settled PLN’s damages claim, and the court awarded attorneys’ fees and costs in 2014. PLN was represented by New Orleans attorneys Mary Howell, Elizabeth Cumming and John Adcock, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Umatilla County. PLN filed suit against Sheriff John Trumbo over a policy that restricted correspondence to and from prisoners at the Umatilla County, Oregon jail to postcards only. The policy also prohibited the delivery of books, catalogs, newspapers and magazines that had not been pre-approved. Sheriff Trumbo changed the mail policy and PLN accepted the county’s offer of judgment to resolve PLN’s damages claims in August 2012. In May 2013, the district court awarded attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by attorneys Jesse Wing and Katherine Chamberlain with the Seattle law firm of MacDonald Hoague & Bayless, by the late Marc D. Blackman with the Portland firm of Ransom Blackman, LLP, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull.
PLN v. Geatreaux, et al.In February 2012, PLN filed suit against the sheriff of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana over the censorship of PLN’s publications. The sheriff changed the jail’s mail policy and a consent judgment was entered on April 9, 2012, with the parish agreeing to pay damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by New Orleans attorneys Elizabeth Cumming and John Adcock, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull.
PLN v. County of Sacramento, et al. On April 5, 2011, PLN filed suit against the sheriff of Sacramento County, California over the jail’s ban on Prison Legal News, purportedly because the magazine is bound with staples. The district court entered a preliminary injunction against the jail in March 2012, and the parties subsequently settled the case via entry of a consent decree and the payment of damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Ernest Galvan and Blake Thompson of the San Francisco law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull.
PLN v. Board of Commissioners of Shawnee County. PLN filed suit challenging the Shawnee County, Kansas jail’s ban on books and magazines in August 2011. The case settled with the entry of a stipulated judgment in March 2012 that included changes in the jail’s mail policy and payment of damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Doug Bonney, formerly of the ACLU of Western Missouri and Kansas, by Kansas City attorneys Fred Slough and James Jenkins, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. DeWitt. PLN sued the Berkeley County Jail in Moncks Corner, South Carolina in October 2010 over the jail’s policy of barring prisoners from receiving any reading materials except the Bible. The U.S. Department of Justice intervened in the litigation against the jail. The case settled on January 11, 2012 with the entry of a consent injunction governing mail policies, and the county agreed to pay a total of $599,900 for PLN’s damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Susan Dunn with the ACLU of South Carolina, by David Fathi with the ACLU National Prison Project, by David Shapiro, formerly with the ACLU National Prison Project, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Lee. In October 2011, PLN filed suit against the New York State Department of Correctional Services, challenging a ban on Prison Legal News, books distributed by PLN and other correspondence from PLN, including legal mail. The case settled in November 2012, resulting in a complete reversal of the censorship of PLN, a change in mail policies and the payment of damages and attorneys’ fees by the defendants. PLN was represented by Bob Keach of Albany, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber and former HRDC staff attorney Alissa Hull.
PLN v. Poor. PLN sued the sheriff of Galveston County, Texas in June 2010 over the county jail’s policy of banning books, magazines and newspapers. The case settled in February 2011 with the entry of a consent decree governing mail policies at the jail and payment of damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Scott Medlock, Lauren Izzo and Brian McGiverin with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
PLN v. Spokane County. In January 2011, PLN filed suit challenging a ban on all mail except postcards at the Spokane County jail in Washington. The case settled in August 2011 with a consent decree that ended the jail’s ban on books, magazines and non-postcard mail; the defendants also agreed to pay attorneys’ fees, costs and damages. PLN was represented by Jesse Wing and Katherine Chamberlain with MacDonald Hoague & Bayless of Seattle, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Chelan County. PLN filed suit in September 2011 over the Chelan County, Washington jail’s ban on all books and magazines. The parties settled in December 2011, entering into a consent decree governing mail policies at the jail. The county agreed to pay damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Jesse Wing and Katherine Chamberlain with MacDonald Hoague & Bayless of Seattle, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Stephens. In December 2009, PLN sued the sheriff of St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana over the jail’s ban on magazines, newspapers and books. The jail agreed to settle the case in May 2010 by changing its mail policy to allow prisoners to receive books and magazines, and paying damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by New Orleans attorneys Mary Howell and Elizabeth Cumming.
PLN v. Freeman.In October 2007, PLN sued the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia over a policy that banned all books and non-religious publications. The court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the policy in February 2008, and Fulton County agreed to settle the case on April 22, 2010 by changing the jail’s mail policy and paying damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Atlanta attorneys Brian Spears and Gerry Weber.
PLN v. Corrections Corporation of America.PLN filed suit against CCA in September 2009 over the censorship of its publications at the Saguaro Correctional Facility in Eloy, Arizona. In June 2010, CCA settled the case by changing its mail policies and agreeing to pay damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Dan Pochoda, Legal Director of the ACLU of Arizona, and Ernest Galvan with the law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP.
PLN v. Johnson, et al.In October 2009, PLN filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections challenging the censorship of PLN’s publications and other correspondence. The parties settled the case for injunctive relief and payment of damages, attorneys’ fees and costs in September 2010. PLN was represented by Charlottesville attorneys Jeffrey E. Fogel and Steven D. Rosenfield.
PLN v. Clarke. PLN sued the Massachusetts DOC in April 2008 over the exclusion of PLN’s books from the department’s approved vendor list. A week after filing suit, PLN was added to the vendor list. The case settled in May 2009 with the DOC agreeing to pay damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Boston attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton.
PLN v. Schwarzenegger.In 2006, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agreed to settle PLN’s claims that numerous aspects of the prison system’s policies violated PLN’s federal and state rights. As part of the settlement, the CDCR agreed to change its mail rules and policies, and ordered five-year PLN subscriptions for all CDCR facilities. The district court maintained jurisdiction to enforce the agreement and awarded attorneys’ fees to PLN in 2008. Although the case is closed, PLN continues to monitor the CDCR’s compliance with the settlement. PLN is represented by Sandy Rosen and Ernest Galvan with the law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP.
PLN v. Lindsey. PLN sued the sheriff of Dallas County, Texas in February 2007 over the jail’s policy of banning all publications. The county entered into a consent decree in October 2007, agreeing to change the jail’s mail policies and paying damages, attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Scott Medlock of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
PLN v. Lehman. PLN filed suit against the Washington DOC in 2001, challenging the censorship of PLN’s book and subscription flyers, renewal notices and other correspondence sent via standard rate mail. The district court entered summary judgment on PLN’s claims, enjoined the DOC’s ban on bulk mail and catalogs, and required that notice be provided when those items were censored. See: PLN v. Lehman, 272 F.Supp.2d 1151 (W.D. WA 2003). The defendants filed an interlocutory appeal, which they lost. See: PLN v. Lehman, 397 F.3d 692 (9th Cir. 2005). The case settled on remand with the DOC agreeing to pay damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Jesse Wing and Tim Ford of MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless in Seattle.
PLN v. Werholtz. In 2002, PLN sued the Kansas DOC over its policy requiring that prisoners purchase all subscriptions and publications from their prison trust accounts. The district court dismissed the case after consolidating it with complaints filed by two Kansas prisoners. See: Zimmerman v. Simons, 260 F.Supp.2d 1077 (D. Kan. 2003). On appeal, the Tenth Circuit reversed and remanded in Jacklovich v. Simmons, 392 F.3d 420 (10th Cir. 2004), finding that PLN had produced sufficient evidence to go to trial. The appellate court held PLN was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on its due process claims, and ordered the lower court to enter an injunction as to those claims. Following remand, the case went to trial in February 2007. The district court found the DOC’s policies were unconstitutional, granted injunctive relief and later ordered the defendants to pay PLN’s attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by Kansas attorneys Bruce Plenk and Max Kautsch.
PLN v. Crawford. The Nevada DOC banned all copies of PLN in 2000, claiming the magazine constituted “inmate correspondence.” PLN filed a lawsuit and obtained a preliminary injunction requiring delivery of PLN subscriptions and mail to Nevada prisoners. The defendants entered into a consent decree in September 2000, agreeing to deliver PLN and pay damages, and the district court awarded attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by David Fathi of the ACLU National Prison Project and Don Evans of Reno, Nevada.
Cowles v. Christensen. PLN filed suit in 1998 challenging a policy at the jail in San Juan County, Utah that banned third-class mail. The suit was consolidated with other cases in separate litigation, Jones v. Salt Lake County, and eventually settled for fees, damages and changes in the jail’s mail policy. PLN was represented by the late Brian Barnard of Salt Lake City.
PLN v. Hood. In 2003, PLN sued the warden of the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado after the ADX – the “supermax” prison of the federal Bureau of Prisons – began censoring PLN under a policy banning all publications that included discussions of prisons or prisoners. The case withstood a motion to dismiss by the defendants; however, the ADX mooted PLN’s claim by changing its policy, and PLN voluntarily withdrew the suit in 2005. PLN was represented by attorneys Mickey Gendler of Seattle and Bill Trine of Colorado.
PLN v. Millard County. PLN filed suit in 2001 over the Millard County, Utah jail’s censorship of PLN publications. The case settled with the county paying damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and agreeing to make policy changes. PLN was represented by the late Brian Barnard.
PLN v. Cook. From 1991 until 2001, the Oregon DOC banned third-class mail. PLN filed suit in 1998 challenging the ban. The case lost in the district court and PLN appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which reversed in PLN v. Cook, 238 F.3d 1145 (9th Cir. 2001). The Court of Appeals instructed the lower court to enter injunctive relief in PLN’s favor, holding that the ban on bulk mail, and absence of due process when such mail was censored, violated the Constitution. The district court entered an injunction and awarded attorneys’ fees in 2001. PLN was represented in the district court by Alison Hardy and the late Marc Blackman of Portland, Oregon, and on appeal by Sam Stiltner and Janet Stanton of Seattle.
PLN v. Schumacher. Despite the injunction in PLN v. Cook, the Oregon DOC continued to ban mail sent by PLN to Oregon prisoners via third-class mail. Prison officials also enacted bans on catalogs and gift subscriptions, and failed to provide notice to the sender. PLN filed a second suit in 2002 challenging these practices; the DOC settled the case in 2003 by entering into a consent decree, revising the challenged policies, and paying damages and attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Mickey Gendler of Seattle and the late Marc Blackman.
PLN v. Haley. PLN filed suit in 1999 over the Alabama DOC’s ban on gift subscriptions. The case settled in 2000 when the DOC changed its mail policies to allow prisoners to receive subscriptions and to provide notice to the sender if mail was censored. PLN was represented by Rhonda Brownstein and Catherine Smith of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Catalyst v. Box Elder County. PLN filed suit challenging the Box Elder County, Utah jail’s ban on publications in 1998. The jail settled soon after the lawsuit was filed, paying damages and attorneys’ fees and changing its policy. The late Brian Barnard represented PLN in this case.
Waterman v. Commandant. The U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas censored an issue of PLN in 2003 due to PLN’s advertising content. A federal district court held that the censorship was unconstitutional and ordered the issue of PLN to be delivered to prisoner Craig Waterman, who litigated the case pro se. See: Waterman v. Commandant, 337 F.Supp.2d 1237 (D. Kan. 2004).
PLN v. Ransom. In 1998, the Michigan Department of Corrections banned PLN’s book, The Celling of America: An Inside Look at the U.S. Prison Industry, from all of its prisons, claiming it incited violence. PLN, Common Courage Press (the book’s publisher) and two prisoners filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the ban in 1999. Michigan prison officials settled the case soon afterwards, paying damages, costs and attorneys’ fees, removing The Celling of America from the DOC’s banned book list and revamping their censorship procedures. The plaintiffs were represented by attorney Dan Manville.
Crofton v. Spaulding. Beginning in the mid-1990s, the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla required that prisoners purchase all books and publications using funds in their prison trust accounts. PLN was among the publications censored under this policy. Washington prisoner Clayton Crofton challenged the policy pro se and obtained two injunctions requiring delivery of his PLN subscription even though it was not purchased from his trust account. The injunctions were upheld on appeal, where Crofton was represented by attorney Mickey Gendler. See: Crofton v. Roe, 170 F.3d 957 (9th Cir. 1999).
Humanists of Washington v. Lehman.In 1997, PLN filed suit challenging the Washington DOC’s ban on third-class mail, gift subscriptions, bans on magazine articles, photocopies and court rulings, and limits on newspaper articles. The Washington DOC settled the case in early 2000 by changing its mail censorship policies and paying attorneys’ fees and costs. The suit was sponsored by the ACLU of Washington and the plaintiffs were represented by attorneys Mickey Gendler and Joe Bringman of Perkins Coie.
Washington Bulk Mail Ban. When Airway Heights Corrections Center opened in 1994, it banned all third- and fourth-class mail. PLN subscribers Don Miniken and Don MacFarlane filed suit against the practice in 1996. In Miniken v. Walter, 978 F.Supp. 1356 (E.D. WA 1997), the ban was struck down as unconstitutional. In an unpublished ruling in a separate case, the ban also was struck down. See: MacFarlane v. Walter, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Wash.), Case No. 2:96-cv-03102-LRS. Mickey Gendler represented Don Miniken on behalf of the Washington ACLU. In addition to an injunction, the court awarded attorneys’ fees, costs and damages.
Mead v. ISRB. In 1994, PLN co-founders Ed Mead and Paul Wright sued the Washington Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board, challenging the Board’s order that Ed have no contact with any felons after his release, which precluded him from being involved with PLN. In an unpublished ruling, Judge Robert Bryan of Tacoma upheld the ban. The case was dismissed as moot by the Ninth Circuit in 1997 when, after three years, Ed was discharged from ISRB supervision. The lawsuit was sponsored by the ACLU of Washington with representation by attorneys Frank Cuthbertson and Mike Kipling.
Resolved PLN Public Records Cases
PLN v. Corrections Corporation of America. PLN filed suit in the District Court of Travis County, Texas in May 2013, alleging that Corrections Corporation of America had failed to respond to a public records request. PLN requested a number of records from the company, including contracts between CCA and state and local government agencies, as well as settlements, verdicts and judgments entered against CCA in Texas. PLN contended that the company was the functional equivalent of a government agency performing the inherently public service of operating prisons and jails, and thus must comply with Texas’ public records statute. CCA operates nine facilities in Texas, including four that house state prisoners. On September 15, 2014 the court entered final judgment in favor of PLN, holding that CCA is a “governmental body” pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act and ordering the company to produce the requested records and pay PLN’s attorneys’ fees. CCA produced the requested records and did not appeal. PLN was represented by attorneys Cindy Saiter with Scott, Douglass & McConnico, LLP and by Brian McGiverin with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Friedmann v. CCA.In May 2008, PLN managing editor Alex Friedmann sued Corrections Corporation of America in state court under Tennessee’s public records statute, seeking disclosure of certain records related to CCA’s operation of prisons and jails in Tennessee. The trial court held that a private prison company was subject to the state’s public records law, and CCA appealed. In August 2009 the Court of Appeals found that CCA was the functional equivalent of a state agency and therefore subject to the public records law; in a revised ruling on September 16, 2009, the appellate court clarified that the records requested by PLN were subject to disclosure for all but one CCA-operated prison in Tennessee. See: Friedmann v. CCA, 310 S.W.3d 366 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2009). On remand, the trial court held on December 1, 2011 that CCA must disclose the remaining records at issue in the case, including verdicts and settlements in lawsuits against the company. CCA again appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed on February 28, 2013, holding the company must produce the requested records. Following remand CCA settled the case in May 2013, producing the records and paying attorneys’ fees. Alex was represented by Memphis attorney Andrew Clarke.
PLN v. Prison Health Services. On August 26, 2010, PLN filed suit in Washington County Superior Court in Vermont under the state’s public records statute, seeking litigation-related documents and other information from Prison Health Services – a private medical care contractor implicated in the deaths of several Vermont prisoners. PHS settled the case in February 2012 by producing the requested documents and paying PLN’s attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by Dan Barrett with the Vermont ACLU.
PLN v. District of Columbia. PLN filed a public records lawsuit in June 2008 against the District of Columbia, seeking records related to litigation against the D.C. Department of Corrections. The suit challenged the District’s refusal to produce records in electronic format as required by District law and its refusal to waive copying fees when doing so was in the public interest. The court ordered the District to produce the requested records in July 2009. The case concluded in December 2011 with the disclosure of all the requested records and the court awarding attorneys’ fees and costs to PLN. PLN was represented by Carl Messineo and Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund in Washington, D.C. and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. On May 20, 2008, PLN filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, seeking disclosure of Bureau of Prisons’ video footage and photos of the murder of a prisoner at the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Colorado. The video and photos were shown in open court during the murder trials of the victim’s assailants; however, the government refused to release them to PLN. On September 16, 2009, the district court granted in part and denied in part summary judgment motions filed by both parties, and ordered the defendants to produce part of the video. PLN appealed to the Tenth Circuit, and numerous organizations joined an amicus brief on PLN’s behalf – including 60 Minutes, the Associated Press, Westword, the American Society of News Editors, the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists and the ACLU of Colorado. In January 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment and PLN filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, which was denied in October 2011. PLN was represented by Boulder, Colorado attorney Gail K. Johnson in the district court and the Tenth Circuit, and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber, Neil Siegel of Duke Law School, Zachary Tripp of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C. and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement of Bancroft PLLC in Washington, D.C.
In the Matter of a Complaint by Paul Wright v. Office of the Corporation Counsel. When PLN requested records related to a settlement involving a prisoners’ death at a jail in Hartford, Connecticut, the city denied PLN’s request for a fee waiver and demanded $27.50 in copying fees. PLN appealed to the state’s FOIA Commission, which held on September 23, 2009 that PLN was entitled to a fee waiver. The city was ordered to provide the records at no cost. On November 12, 2009, the city appealed the Commission’s ruling to Superior Court, paying a $300 filing fee to contest the waiver of $27.50 in copy costs. The Superior Court ruled in favor of the city. After PLN appealed, the defendants stated in a June 16, 2011 letter that they were waiving the copy fees. PLN was represented in the Superior Court by attorney Brett Dignam at Yale Law School and law students Robyn Gallagher and Megan Quattlebaum, and on appeal by Bridgeport, Connecticut attorney Sean McElligott and HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
PLN v. GEO Group, Inc. PLN filed suit in December 2005 over GEO Group’s failure to comply with a public records request seeking details about the amount of money that GEO (formerly Wackenhut Corrections) had paid out in litigation related to its operation of private prisons in Florida. The state court granted three motions to compel against GEO Group. GEO eventually produced the requested records in late 2009, but the case remained pending final resolution. On May 13, 2010, PLN announced that GEO had settled the case by producing all of the requested records and paying PLN’s attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by attorney Frank Kreidler of Lake Worth, Florida.
PLN v. Tilton. In December 2007, PLN filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, seeking records of litigation payouts by the state’s adult and juvenile prison systems over a multi-year period. The CDCR provided some of the requested records, and in December 2009 the court ordered the Department to produce all responsive records to PLN. The CDCR agreed to settle the case on September 30, 2010 by producing all the records and paying PLN’s attorneys’ fees and costs. PLN was represented by the law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP.
PLN v. City and County of San Francisco.On August 20, 2009, PLN filed suit to obtain public records related to litigation payouts involving the San Francisco jail. Although a partial spreadsheet of cases was produced, the requested records were not. The lawsuit settled in September 2010 after all of the requested records were produced and the city agreed to pay PLN’s attorneys’ fees. PLN was represented by the San Francisco law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP.
PLN v. Mississippi DOC. In March 2009, PLN filed suit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections and Global Tel*Link (GTL), a prison phone service company, to obtain a copy of GTL’s contract with the Mississippi DOC. The contract had been sealed by a state court in a previous case involving GTL. PLN settled the suit in June 2009 when GTL agreed to produce a copy of the contract and related documents. PLN was represented by Jackson, Mississippi attorneys Robert B. McDuff and Sibyl C. Byrd.
PLN v. Office of Open Records. PLN filed a petition in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania under the state’s Right-to-Know law in May 2009, after the Office of Open Records upheld the denial of a fee waiver in a public records request submitted by PLN to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. The DOC had refused to waive $8,750 in copy fees, refused to provide the records in electronic format and later denied PLN’s request with respect to certain documents. The court ruled on April 8, 2010 that the DOC had failed to substantiate the amount of copy fees and failed to justify its denial of PLN’s fee waiver request. The decision by the Office of Open Records was therefore vacated and remanded for further proceedings. PLN was represented by Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the Pennsylvania ACLU, and by Andrew Foster, Alicia Hickok and Richard Coe.
Washington Public Records Case I. After being denied documents related to prison staff misconduct and a prison industry program, PLN filed suit over the denial of its public records request. In this first PLN public records case in Washington state, the superior court ordered the DOC to produce documents related to the closing of a prison industries telemarketing company, and awarded attorneys’ fees and statutory penalties. PLN was represented by David Bowman of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP.
Washington Public Records Case II. In PLN’s second Washington public records suit, a Pierce County superior court judge ordered the Washington DOC to provide PLN with records related to the misconduct and drug-related death of an employee at the McNeil Island Corrections Center, as well as the facility’s safety inspection documents. The DOC also was required to pay PLN’s attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as statutory penalties. PLN was represented by Shelley Hall of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP.
Washington Public Records Case III. In 2000, PLN filed a public records request seeking documents related to discipline involving Washington DOC medical staff who had maimed or killed prisoners through medical neglect, as well as documents related to medical staff with suspended licenses or other medical disciplinary records. The DOC refused to provide the information, claiming that doing so would hinder its law enforcement functions. PLN filed suit and lost at the trial and appellate court levels. See: PLN v. Washington DOC, 118 Wash.App. 1069 (Wash.App. Div. 2, 2003). The Washington Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case in 2005, ordering production of the requested records and awarding attorneys’ fees, costs and statutory penalties totaling $541,155 – the largest award in a public records case in state history at that time. PLN was represented by Andy Mar, Michelle Earle Hubbard and Alison Howard of Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP. See: PLN v. Washington DOC, 115 P.3d 316 (Wash. 2005).
Intervention in CCA FLSA Suit. PLN filed a motion to intervene in a class-action Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Kansas in July 2009. The suit, which alleged that CCA had violated labor laws by failing to fully compensate its employees, had settled in February 2009; however, the settlement agreement was sealed. PLN moved to unseal. The district court granted PLN’s motion despite opposition from CCA, and unsealed the settlement on August 27, 2009; PLN then reported the amount and terms of the settlement agreement. PLN was represented by Doug Bonney, Chief Counsel and Legal Director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. The FLSA class-action suit was Barnwell v. CCA.
Intervention in CCA FLSA Suit II. In February 2014, PLN filed a motion to intervene in a class-action FLSA lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Kentucky. The suit claimed that CCA had violated labor laws by failing to fully compensate its employees, and settled in November 2013. The settlement was filed under seal. The district court granted PLN’s motion to unseal the settlement agreement over CCA’s objections; PLN was represented by Bill Sharp of the ACLU of Kentucky. The FLSA class-action lawsuit was Johnson v. CCA.
Prisoner Civil Rights Cases
Wrongful Death Suit in Pennsylvania.HRDC attorneys co-counseled with Jonathan Feinberg at the Philadelphia law firm of Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg, LLP in a case involving the suicide of a prisoner at a privately-operated facility in Pennsylvania. The case resolved pre-litigation pursuant to a confidential settlement that was finalized in October 2013.
CCA Infant Wrongful Death Suit in Tennessee.On November 17, 2011, HRDC counsel Lance Weber and attorneys Andrew Clarke and Luther Sutter filed suit on behalf of former prisoner Countess Clemons and the estate of Roland Clemons, her deceased infant child, alleging that CCA employees at the Silverdale Detention Facility in Chattanooga failed to take her to a hospital in a timely manner when she began experiencing preterm labor. Upon arrival at the hospital over five hours after she first requested assistance from CCA staff, Countess’ son was born but died shortly afterward. The case resolved in 2014 with CCA agreeing to pay $690,000 in a non-confidential settlement.
CCA Wrongful Death Suits in Hawaii.HRDC filed separate lawsuits against Corrections Corporation of America, the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Public Safety over the deaths of two Hawaii prisoners held at CCA’s Saguaro Correctional Center in Eloy, Arizona. The family of Bronson Nunuha sued CCA on February 15, 2012; Nunuha had been placed in a controversial behavior modification program at the CCA-run prison, where he was brutally murdered by two members of a rival gang. Clifford Medina’s family filed suit against CCA on May 23, 2012. Medina was housed in a segregation cell with another prisoner who strangled him to death. The lawsuits claimed that the deaths were due to understaffing, deliberate indifference to prisoners’ safety and CCA’s negligence in running the Saguaro facility. Both cases settled under confidential terms in 2014. The Nunuha and Medina families were represented by HRDC, the San Francisco law firm of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP and Dan Gluck with the Hawaii ACLU.
Wrongful Death Case in Washington State.HRDC co-counseled with a Seattle law firm to represent the estate and minor children of Ricardo Mejia, a 26-year-old Washington state prisoner who died as a result of the deliberate indifference of prison medical staff. Mr. Mejia suffered a horrible, painful death in January 2011 due to sepsis, septic shock and untreated necrotizing fasciitis (commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria). A wrongful death suit was filed in December 2013 and the case settled in early 2014 for $740,000. Mejia’s estate and two minor children were represented by Jesse Wing of the law firm of MacDonald Hoague & Bayless and by HRDC counsel Lance Weber.
Tennessee Jail Suicide Case. In October 2010, Memphis attorney Andrew Clarke and HRDC counsel Lance Weber settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving the estate of a prisoner who committed suicide while housed at a jail operated by a private prison company. The case settled pre-litigation and the terms of the settlement were confidential.
Tennessee Jail Wrongful Death Suit.HRDC and Nashville-based co-counsel David Randolph Smith filed a lawsuit in May 2010 on behalf of the estate of Roy Glenn Hall, Jr., a 52-year-old prisoner who died due to medical neglect while held at a jail in Davidson County, Tennessee. The defendants included Correct Care Solutions, a private medical contractor, and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. The case settled under confidential terms in August 2012.
As indicated by the above list, PLN maintains a busy docket simply to ensure that prisoners can receive books and magazines in the mail, and to ensure government officials comply with public records laws. PLN has been in the vanguard of the fight for free speech in prisons and jails; no other publisher in U.S. history has stood up for the First Amendment as PLN has with its very limited resources. As noted in this month’s cover story, Prison Legal News is the most censored publication in America.
We are grateful to the many attorneys, law firms and organizations named above that have generously given their time, energy and resources to help PLN fight and mostly win these cases, and for the help and support we have received from our readers, because we could not do this alone. Sadly, two great lawyers who fought and won multiple PLN battles did not live to see our 25th anniversary. The names of Marc Blackman of Oregon and Brian Barnard of Utah appear many times in the above cases. I had the pleasure of meeting Marc and working with him on our Columbia County case, but never had a chance to meet Brian. They are sorely missed.
Despite PLN’s considerable courtroom success, our magazine and books continue to be censored in prisons and jails nationally. The only thing restricting PLN’s ability to challenge all of the censorship problems it faces is a lack of internal resources to adequately staff our legal department. We hope to add more employees to our litigation team in the coming years to be better able to address these censorship issues. In the meantime we will continue to try to improve our ability to hold prison and jail officials accountable for violating the very Constitutional provisions and laws they are sworn to uphold, and we greatly appreciate all the help we receive from you, PLN’s readers.
Lance Weber has served as general counsel for the Human Rights Defense Center and director of HRDC’s litigation project since 2010. He graduated in 1997 from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri, Kansas (inactive), New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida and Washington; he is admitted to practice before numerous federal district and appellate courts nationally. Prior to joining HRDC, Lance practiced law in Kansas City, Missouri and in New Hampshire.
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