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Prison Legal News: October, 2000

Issue PDF
Volume 11, Number 10

In this issue:

  1. The Penal System and the U.S. Labor Market (p 1)
  2. Massachusetts Prisoners' Political Action Committee Floundering (p 4)
  3. NH Supreme Court Overturns Prisoner Voting Rights (p 5)
  4. Habeas Hints: Statute of Limitations (p 6)
  5. Ohio Prison Food Contract Sparks Controversy (p 8)
  6. First Federal Execution Postponed (p 9)
  7. Nassau Jail Guards Convicted, Sentenced for Fatal Beating (p 10)
  8. No Immunity in Denying Kosher Diet (p 11)
  9. Ninth Circuit Reverses Madrid v. Gomez, Adopts Martin v. Hadix (p 12)
  10. Nominal Damages Not Monetary Award Under PLRA Attorney's Fees Cap (p 13)
  11. $100,000 Settlement in TX Restraint Chair/Pepper Spray Death (p 13)
  12. VP's Drug Dealer Still Litigating Retaliation Claim (p 14)
  13. California Private Prison Riot (p 14)
  14. $50,000 to Settle CA Jail Beating Suit (p 15)
  15. Crack in the Federal Scheme: The October Rebellion of 1995 (p 16)
  16. New Jersey Parole Board Chief Resigns (p 18)
  17. Escape Costs Oklahoma Private Prison $304,375 (p 19)
  18. OK Private Prison Fined $168,750 (p 19)
  19. Wisconsin Ban on Crosses Struck Down (p 21)
  20. HIV+ Detainee States Conditions Claim (p 21)
  21. Administrative Exhaustion Required in Bivens Suits (p 22)
  22. Claim Exhausted When Prison Refuses Grievance Appeal (p 22)
  23. No Administrative Exhaustion Required When AG Won't Give Hearing (p 23)
  24. Family Wins $12.9 Million Award in Michigan Jail Death Suit (p 24)
  25. WI DOC Ends Censorship of PLN (p 26)
  26. From the Editor (p 26)
  27. News in Brief (p 27)
  28. Arpaio Runs for Reelection on Backs of Prisoners, For the Third Time (p 28)

The Penal System and the U.S. Labor Market

Bruce Western, Princeton University

Kathy Beckett, Indiana University

The low rate of US. unemployment contrasts strikingly with very high levels of joblessness in Europe. Official statistics show that U.S. unemployment is now around 4% while European unemployment is over 10% and has been persistently high throughout the 1980s and ...

Massachusetts Prisoners' Political Action Committee Floundering

Massachusetts prisoners were set back in their electoral efforts when the formation of a political action committee (PAC) inside the walls of the Massachusetts Correctional Institution was banned by executive order of Republican Governor Paul Cellucci. Guards confiscated the prisoners' political materials and put the prisoners in solitary confinement. Prison ...

NH Supreme Court Overturns Prisoner Voting Rights

By Ronald Young

As previously reported in PLN, New Hampshire state prisoner David J. Fischer successfully litigated the right of New Hampshire prisoners to cast absentee ballots in local, state, and federal elections. Fischer alleged that legislation prohibiting felons from voting violated his right to vote under Part I, Article ...

Habeas Hints: Statute of Limitations

By Kent Russell

This column is intended to provide "habeas hints" for prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys ("in pro per"). The focus of the column is habeas corpus practice under the AEDPA - the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus ...

Ohio Prison Food Contract Sparks Controversy

In 1998 senior officials of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DORC) were convinced that outsourcing prison food service would be the next great leap forward for Ohio penology. So they bid out a contract for private firms to provide food service at the Noble Correctional Institution. Of the ...

First Federal Execution Postponed

By Bill Dunne

Federal authorities announced on July 6, 2000, a plan to delay the execution of Juan Raul Garza, previously scheduled for August 5, 2000. Garza was convicted in 1993 in Brownsville, TX, of ordering three drug-related murders, for which he denies responsibility. His execution would have been the ...

Nassau Jail Guards Convicted, Sentenced for Fatal Beating

Two Nassau County (NY) jail guards who fatally beat an unarmed jail detainee were sentenced May 26, 1999, to 11 years in federal prison, and a jail supervisor who tried to cover up for them received nearly 6 years.

In the July 1999 issue of PLN we reported that four ...

No Immunity in Denying Kosher Diet

The court of appeals for the Second Circuit held that fact issues requiring a trial were present in a Jewish prisoner's lawsuit over the denial of a kosher diet. The court also held prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity from money damages in this case.

Nathaniel Jackson ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Madrid v. Gomez, Adopts Martin v. Hadix

Ninth Circuit Reverses Madrid V. Gomez, Adopts Martin v. Hadix

By Matthew T. Clarke

The Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) attorney fees caps do not apply to work performed prior to the enactment of the PLRA, but it does apply to work performed after ...

Nominal Damages Not Monetary Award Under PLRA Attorney's Fees Cap

A federal district court in Maine has held that the award of one dollar in nominal damages does not invoke the PLRA attorney's fees cap, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d)(2).

Raymond P. Boivin, a Maine state pre-trial detainee, sued a guard at Maine Correctional Institution--Warren under 42 ...

$100,000 Settlement in TX Restraint Chair/Pepper Spray Death

On February 22, 2000, Tarrant County, Texas agreed to pay a $100,000 settlement to the estate of James Livingston, 30, to settle a wrongful death suit. On July 6, 1999, Livingston was arrested on a trespassing warrant. He was allegedly abusive while being booked into the Tarrant county jail ...

VP's Drug Dealer Still Litigating Retaliation Claim

The court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit held that law-of-the-case doctrine foreclosed a challenge to a legal decision made at an earlier stage of the litigation and that the district court must determine whether government officials were motivated by improper intent before denying their motion for summary ...

California Private Prison Riot

By W. Wisely

Racial brawling broke out between black and Latino prisoners at Victor Valley Community Correctional Facility March 1, 2000. Six prisoners were sent to hospitals near the Adelanto, California, medium security private prison operated by Marantha Private Corrections LLC.

Fighting began at 7:00 P.M. and allegedly ...

$50,000 to Settle CA Jail Beating Suit

In April 2000, Sacramento county paid $50,000 to settle a prisoner's excessive force lawsuit that two Sacramento county jail guards, later fired for assaulting another prisoner, also beat him. Troyd Ransom was in the Sacramento county jail on a parole hold in February 1999, when guards Dan Berringer ...

Crack in the Federal Scheme: The October Rebellion of 1995

By Bill Dunne

Between October 19 and October 26, 1995, the U. S. Bureau of Prisons (federal prison system) experienced a series of largely spontaneous but causally related uprisings in its then 84 prison, 100,000 prisoner gulag archipelago. Involving a range of demonstrations and direct action, this widespread rebellion ...

New Jersey Parole Board Chief Resigns

The chairman of the New Jersey state Parole Board submitted his resignation July 28, 2000, as authorities neared the end of a two-year investigation into his alleged links with organized crime. A law enforcement source close to the investigation told The Record, the newspaper of Bergen County, that authorities will ...

Escape Costs Oklahoma Private Prison $304,375

Gordon Flud's April 12, 2000, escape from a Hinton, Oklahoma rent-a-jail didn't end well for him--or for his prison. Flud, 44, jumped fences, avoided razor wire and climbed down the Great Plains Correctional Facility administration building's rainspout in his bid for freedom. But that freedom lasted only ...

OK Private Prison Fined $168,750

On March 5,2000, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) fined the Great Plains Correctional Facility (GPCF) in Hinton, Oklahoma, $168,750 for failing to provide adequate medical care to the 812 Oklahoma prisoners housed in the prison. GPCF is owned by the Hinton Economic Development Authority, a county government ...

Wisconsin Ban on Crosses Struck Down

The court of appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a Wisconsin prison rule banning crosses unless it was attached to a rosary violated the First amendment rights of Protestants.

This is the latest installment in a long running lawsuit over the Wisconsin Department of Corrections attempt to ban religious ...

HIV+ Detainee States Conditions Claim

A federal district court in Indiana held that an HIV positive detainee was entitled to a trial to resolve his claims over inhumane conditions of confinement and discrimination due to his HIV status.

Edward Roop was arrested on a warrant after arguing with a police officer. Upon being booked into ...

Administrative Exhaustion Required in Bivens Suits

The court of appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that federal prisoners filing Bivens suits must exhaust all administrative remedies regardless of whether or not they are seeking money damages. As previously reported in PLN, the Fifth, Ninth and Tenth circuits have held that prisoners filing Bivens suits seeking only ...

Claim Exhausted When Prison Refuses Grievance Appeal

The court of appeals for the Eleventh circuit held that a Georgia prisoner had exhausted his administrative remedies as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) when the prison refused to process his grievance appeal.

Tracy Miller, a paraplegic Georgia state prisoner, filed suit claiming 11 prison guards dragged ...

No Administrative Exhaustion Required When AG Won't Give Hearing

By Paul Wright

A federal district court in New York held that a medical indifference claim required administrative exhaustion under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) even though money damages were not available as a remedy in the prison grievance system. After staying the suit and remanding the case for ...

Family Wins $12.9 Million Award in Michigan Jail Death Suit

By Ronald Young

Eddie B. Swans Sr., the personal representative of the estate of Edward Swans, brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action against the City of Lansing, Michigan. The Chief of Police Jerome Boles, the Lansing City Jail administrator, and several Lansing police officers were named ...

WI DOC Ends Censorship of PLN

In early August 2000, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) announced it would end its haphazard ban on PLN in Wisconsin prisons. Since January 2000, some Wisconsin prisons had refused to allow prisoners to subscribe or renew their subscriptions to PLN by paying for the subscription via their prison trust ...

From the Editor

Paul Wright

Recent issues of PLN have reported on criminal justice news in Texas and the response from Republican presidential candidate, George Bush Jr., to these events. PLN has reported on Bush's supervision of the Texas plantation-like prison system and death machine to duly point out the fact that ...

News in Brief

Belgium: On July 10, 2000, Bertrand Sassoye, a political prisoner of the Combatant Communist Cells (CCC), was released after serving 14 years in prison. Sassoye had been convicted of participating in dozens of bombings carried out by the CCC against NATO and capitalist targets in Belgium. CCC members Pascale Vandegaarde ...

Arpaio Runs for Reelection on Backs of Prisoners, For the Third Time

By Paul Wright

With the American electoral process consisting largely of saccharine spectacle, and with no substantive issues to get in the way of corporate rule, prisoner bashing has become an accepted political path to elected office. Politicians vie with each other to show who is most insensitive to human ...