Ohio High Court Denies Relief to Prisoner Challenging White Supremacist Classification
by Ed Lyon
Ohio state prisoner William H. Evans Jr. was designated to be a white supremacist by a classification committee’s ruling in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), the state’s prison system. This designation was arrived at solely by virtue of Evans having the words “white power” tattooed on his hands. There was no evidence or observation by officials of any gang activity on Evans’ part.
Evans unsuccessfully attempted to have this racist identifier removed from his prison records through the DRC’s grievance procedure. He then unsuccessfully sought judicial assistance in his quest to the state’s Tenth District Court of Appeals via a mandamus proceeding. The Ohio Supreme Court granted certiorari in the matter and ultimately denied relief as well.
Because Evans was identified as a racist, yet not involved in racially motivated negative activities, he was not sanctioned or denied privileges afforded to other well-behaved prisoners. Therefore, he could not show harm resulting from the identifier.
His fears of being reported to a federal database were unfounded because only hate crimes were reportable data.
Finally, the Court ruled that Evans’ fears of being denied parole because of his racist designation were not addressable as a future event. Since Evans did not allege, nor could he prove, any harm resulting to him over the DRC’s racist designation, relief was denied.
See: The State ex rel. Evans, Appellant, v. Chambers-Smith, Dir., et al., Appellees, Case No. 2019-Ohio-1335, Ohio Sup. Ct.
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Related legal case
The State ex rel. Evans, Appellant, v. Chambers-Smith, Dir., et al.
|Cite||Slip Opinion No. 2019-Ohio-1335.|
|Level||State Supreme Court|