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Prison Legal News: May, 2000

Issue PDF
Volume 11, Number 5

In this issue:

  1. Testing Testing: Sweat Patch Under Scrutiny (p 1)
  2. The History of Prison Legal News (p 1)
  3. PLN in Court (p 5)
  4. $880,000 In GA Medical Neglect Suit (p 6)
  5. From the Editor (p 6)
  6. Texas Prison Dentist Settles Dentures Suit for $3,150 (p 6)
  7. $600,000 In GA Medical Neglect Suit (p 6)
  8. Colorado Denies Hepatitis C Treatment as Too Expensive (p 7)
  9. DOJ Investigates CMS Health Care at Missouri Prison (p 8)
  10. Washington Civil Commitment Held in Contempt (p 8)
  11. From the Editor (p 8)
  12. Louisiana Prosecutors Have "Ties" to Murder (p 9)
  13. New Mexico Private and State Prison Phone Rates Challenged (p 9)
  14. CCA Prison Under Gang Control: Death and Injury Suits Filed (p 10)
  15. Five Lawyers in Peru Freed (p 10)
  16. Black Prison and Jail Employees Win Discrimination Lawsuits (p 11)
  17. $150,000 Judgment Against Prison Officials Upheld (p 11)
  18. 2003 Washington Legislative Round-up (p 12)
  19. Post Conviction Update (p 12)
  20. Washington DOC Personnel In-Fighting Results in $230,000 Settlement (p 13)
  21. Retaliation, Publication Ban and Lack of Dental Care States Claim (p 14)
  22. Bad Water Causes Florida Prison Evacuation (p 14)
  23. Investigators Probe Ohio Paroles-For-Sale Scam (p 15)
  24. Book Review: Inmate Litigation (p 16)
  25. FDOC Hazardous to Prisoners' Health (p 16)
  26. Good and Bad News in Haverty Aftermath: No Good Time for Ad-Seg Placement (p 17)
  27. Prison Labor's Race to the Global Bottom (p 18)
  28. Palestinians Still Imprisoned Despite Peace Process (p 19)
  29. Transfer Moots Wiccan's Claim (p 20)
  30. Texas Death Row Hunger Strike (p 20)
  31. Comatose Prisoners Expose the Limits of Mercy (p 20)
  32. California to Outfit All Prison Guards With Stab-Resistant Body Armor (p 20)
  33. International Perspectives on the Death Penalty (p 21)
  34. Nevada Religious Group Gets Federal Money to Help Prisoners, Delivers Nothing (p 21)
  35. Claim For Prospective Relief Moot Upon Release (p 21)
  36. Grievance Procedure Not Required by PLRA in All Lawsuits (p 22)
  37. Wrongfully Convicted in California and New York Awarded Damages (p 23)
  38. City Liable for Jail Sex Shows and Nude Dancing (p 23)
  39. Heck Does Not Bar Evidence in Shooting Case (p 24)
  40. New Mexico Supreme Court Rules in Disciplinary Hearing Remedies (p 24)
  41. $115,000 Settlement in Seattle Jail Strip-Search Suit (p 24)
  42. Absent Plain Error, Objection Necessary to Preserve Issues (p 25)
  43. Magistrate Judge Recuses Self in BOP Medical Treatment Case (p 25)
  44. Denial of Medication Precludes Summary Judgment (p 25)
  45. Dismissal Reversed for Determination Whether Prisoner Was Misled About Remedies (p 26)
  46. Grievances Exhausted When Prison Officials Fail to Respond (p 26)
  47. News in Brief (p 26)
  48. Summary Judgment Reversed on Fact Issues of Guards' Failure to Protect Prisoner (p 27)
  49. 522 Days in BOP Ad Seg States Due Process Claim (p 27)
  50. Jury Awards $700,000 to Chicago Jail Worker for Sexual Harassment (p 27)
  51. California Parole Rescission Panel's Disagreement With Granting Panel Fails The "Some Evidence" Standard (p 28)
  52. Transsexual Prisoners Have Privacy Right (p 28)
  53. Exceeding Doctor's Work Limit Order Actionable Under Eighth Amendment (p 29)
  54. BOP Electric Musical Instrument Ban Upheld by DC Circuit (p 30)
  55. New York Prisoner's Assault Claim Headed for Trial (p 30)
  56. Guard Proclaiming Open Season On Prisoner Actionable (p 31)
  57. Wyoming Prisoners Win Summary Judgment for Increased Security (p 31)
  58. Illinois Governor Announces Death Penalty Moratorium (p 31)
  59. Dismissal Without Notice for Untimely Service of § 1983 Complaint Is Abuse of Discretion (p 32)
  60. Federal Tort Claims Act Suit Limitation Construed in Medical Suit (p 32)
  61. Circumstantial Evidence Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment (p 33)
  62. Ninth Circuit Holds Exhaustion of Remedies Mandatory Before Filing Suit (p 34)
  63. Chief Medical Officer Liable On Medical Policy Decisions (p 34)
  64. Kentucky Jury Awards $2,641 to Estate of Murdered Prisoner (p 35)
  65. Retaliation Claim Satisfied by Existence of Major Misconduct Citation (p 35)
  66. Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke States Eighth Amendment Claim (p 36)
  67. No Jurisdiction for Interlocutory Appeal Where Evidence Is Disputed in Failure to Protect Suit (p 36)
  68. Inquiry Required Before Dismissal for Failure to Pay Partial Filing Fee (p 37)
  69. Warrantless Police Search of Prisoners Cell Upheld; Damages Awarded For Retaliation (p 38)
  70. No Appeal Bond Required for Indigent Colorado Litigants (p 38)
  71. PLRA Applies to Prospective Relief; Fees Are Not Prospective Relief (p 38)
  72. Loss of Good Time for Kansas SATP Refusal Upheld (p 39)
  73. South Dakota Attorney Fee Award of $106,877 Upheld Under PLRA (p 40)
  74. Court Modifies Education Plan for Rikers Island Youth (p 40)
  75. Oregon Contraband Conviction Reversed (p 41)
  76. BOP Prisoners Eligible for Drug Treatment Without Documented History of Abuse (p 41)
  77. News in Brief (p 42)
  78. New Jersey Sex Offender Treatment Statute Creates Liberty Interest (p 43)
  79. Qualified Immunity Denied in BOP Transsexual Strip Search (p 44)

Testing Testing: Sweat Patch Under Scrutiny

Sheryl Woodhall a California woman in her late 30s, first lost custody of her four children in 1995, when her youngest tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. The state's Child Protective Services intervened and sent her two older children to live with her parents and placed the younger two ...

The History of Prison Legal News

In May, 1990, the first issue of Prisoners' Legal News (PLN) was published. It was hand typed, photocopied and ten pages long. The first issue was mailed to 75 potential subscribers. Its budget was $50. The first 3 issues were banned in all Washington prisons, the first 18 in all ...

PLN in Court

Since PLN started in 1990 we have been censored in prisons and jails around the country. We have always attempted to resolve censorship issues administratively, but in cases where the goal was to keep PLN out of prison at any cost, that obviously wasn't possible. We have aggressively challenged ...

$880,000 In GA Medical Neglect Suit

On February 27, 1999, a Baldwin county superior court jury in Georgia awarded prisoner Stephanie Stitt $600,000 in damages in a medical neglect suit against Correctional Medical Systems (CMS). Stitt fell and injured her back while playing volleyball at the Baldwin State Prison. The Georgia Department of Corrections has ...

From the Editor

This issue celebrates PLN's tenth anniversary. One thing about PLN is that we have pretty much muddled along and done the best we could. To this day, no one involved in PLN's daily operations has any professional experience in journalism or publishing. We're all self taught and ...

Texas Prison Dentist Settles Dentures Suit for $3,150

In April, 2003, a state prison dentist settled for $3,150 a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit brought by a prisoner in the federal district court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging that the dentist refused to provide dentures.


Charles Jackson, a prisoner at the Texas DCJ's ...

$600,000 In GA Medical Neglect Suit

On February 27, 1999, a Baldwin county superior court jury in Georgia awarded prisoner Stephanie Stitt $600,000 in damages in a medical neglect suit against Correctional Medical Systems (CMS). Stitt fell and injured her back while playing volleyball at the Baldwin State Prison. The Georgia Department of Corrections has ...

Colorado Denies Hepatitis C Treatment as Too Expensive

While much attention has been paid lately to denying AIDS/HIV treatment as being too expensive for prisoners, little focus has been aimed at those restricting or denying treatment for prisoner's infected with the hepatitis C virus.

Hepatitis is spreading in institutions across this country at a rate far ...

DOJ Investigates CMS Health Care at Missouri Prison

DOJ Investigates CMS Health Care At Missouri Prison

by Michael Rigby


Allegations of improper medical treat-ment, lack of medical treatment, and several suspicious deaths at the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center, a state women's prison in Vandalia, Missouri, has prompted an investigation by the Civil Rights ...

Washington Civil Commitment Held in Contempt

by Ron Petersen and Tamara Menteer

On November 15, 1999, after 6 years overseeing an injunction, a federal judge issued a ruling finding the Washington state civil commitment facility known as The Special Commitment Center (SCC) , the nation's first civil commitment program designed to re-incarcerate sex offenders beyond the ...

From the Editor

By now the observant reader will have noticed that this issue of Prison Legal News is 48 pages in length rather than 40. PLN recently switched printers which offered a variety of services, including higher quality newsprint and also allows us to expand in size, something our previous printer was ...

Louisiana Prosecutors Have "Ties" to Murder

Lawrence Jacobs Jr. was on trial for first degree murder in Jefferson Parish Louisiana when an assistant district attorney approached him and whispered "We're going to hang you boy."


Lawrence Jacobs Sr., who was only in the courtroom to support his son, didn't hear the words but he ...

New Mexico Private and State Prison Phone Rates Challenged

Two separate state court class action lawsuits have challenged the excessive phone rates charged to people who accept collect calls from New Mexico state prisoners. The first lawsuit, Valdez v. Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, was filed on December 30, 1999, in Rio Arriba district court. The plaintiffs have family members imprisoned ...

CCA Prison Under Gang Control: Death and Injury Suits Filed

Two suits were filed against Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) in less than a week. On April 15, 2003 the family of Iulai Amani sued CCA and the state of Hawaii for "wrongful conduct" resulting in Amani's death. The lawsuit came exactly two years from the date Amani died ...

Five Lawyers in Peru Freed

Lima, Peru--

There is good news in the struggle to defend the Peruvian lawyers who are under attack from the U.S.backed Fujimori regime for their courageous work in defending political prisoners. A trial for six of the defense lawyers ended in acquittal. On September 20, five of the ...

Black Prison and Jail Employees Win Discrimination Lawsuits

Kentucky


In October 2002, a federal jury awarded a former Fayette County Jail guard $196,000. James Young Sr., an African American, was fired from the jail in 1993 after complaining for over a year that black workers at the jail were not regarded as equal to whites and that ...

$150,000 Judgment Against Prison Officials Upheld

A federal district court in New York upheld a $150,000 jury verdict against prison officials, concluding that the award was not excessive. The court also held, in a separate ruling, that the Prison Litigation Reform Act, (PLRA), cap on attorney's fees does not apply to claims brought under ...

2003 Washington Legislative Round-up

In its 2003 session the Washington leg-islature enacted numerous laws affecting prisoners. Highlights of the most relevant laws are as follows:


Regional Jails


Substitute House Bill 1609 instructs the Sentencing Guidelines Commission to present a plan by Dec. 31, 2003, for creating "pilot regional correctional facilities," and establishing a "regional ...

Post Conviction Update

by Walter M. Reaves, Jr.

This column will address recent decisions which have some impact on post-conviction procedure. The summary is by no means exhaustive, and contains only those decisions which may have some potential impact on defendants pursuing to post-conviction claims. For the most part, the decisions are from ...

Washington DOC Personnel In-Fighting Results in $230,000 Settlement

An acrimonious inter-employee dis-pute among staff of Washington's Department of Corrections was settled in January, 2002 by the state paying three Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) employees $230,000 and gaining both their resignations as well as promises never again to work for Washington DOC.


When John Schildt sued Washington ...

Retaliation, Publication Ban and Lack of Dental Care States Claim

The court of appeals for the Eighth circuit held that a prisoner's complaint that he was retaliated against for using the prison grievance system, denied access to all publications and denied dental care, stated a claim. Missouri prisoner Percy Cooper filed suit claiming be was wrongly placed in administrative ...

Bad Water Causes Florida Prison Evacuation

More than 700 prisoners at Florida's maximum-security Martin Correctional Institution (MCI) had to be evacuated October 26, 1999 while state crews scrambled to make emergency repairs to a water plant plagued by breakdowns, sickening odors and contaminants. Workers set up portable toilets and trucked in water for about 500 ...

Investigators Probe Ohio Paroles-For-Sale Scam

After receiving a tip from an unidentified informant in June of 1997, Ohio prison officials uncovered evidence of a parole-for-pay scam. While screening prisoner mail, officials read a letter from Grafton Correctional Institution prisoner Bubba Shumate addressed to Lynn Moore, a former Grafton prisoner who was paroled in 1997 and ...

Book Review: Inmate Litigation

by Assistant Professor Margo Schlanger, Reprinted (soft back)

from the Harvard Law Review, Vol. 116, No.6, April 2003; 151 pp.

Review by John E. Dannenberg


Inmate Litigation is a scholarly analysis on the effectiveness of prisoner civil rights litigation filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 both before and ...

FDOC Hazardous to Prisoners' Health

by Mark Sherwood and Bob Posey


Thirty percent of the 129 doctors who provide medical care to prisoners incarcerated in the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) have marks on their records ranging from malpractice to fraud. The FDOC rarely fires or disciplines doctors it hires, even in cases where negligence ...

Good and Bad News in Haverty Aftermath: No Good Time for Ad-Seg Placement

Good and Bad News in Haverty Aftermath:
No Good Time for Ad-Seg Placement

by Phillip Kassel


Last October, the Massachusetts Su-preme Judicial Court held that prisoners may not be maintained in harsh solitary confinement cells without the provision of procedural protections set forth in "constitutionally required" regulations that the Department ...

Prison Labor's Race to the Global Bottom

In the early 1990's, David Horwitz owned Kwalu, a Capetown, South Africa based company which manufactured generic tables and chairs for fast food chains, hotels, and hospitals. Furniture construction is a labor-intensive business, and though Kwalu's labor costs in Capetown were low, Horwitz thought he could make them ...

Palestinians Still Imprisoned Despite Peace Process

by Iñaki Markiegi

Today Palestinians remain foreigners in their own land. Faced with the apathy of the international community, the nearly two and half million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank, the million in the Israeli State and the more than three million Palestinians in ...

Transfer Moots Wiccan's Claim

The court of appeals for the Eighth circuit held that a prisoner's transfer to a different prison mooted his religious rights lawsuit. Duane Smith is an Iowa state prisoner of the Wiccan faith. He filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to the effect that officials at the Iowa ...

Texas Death Row Hunger Strike

Scores of death row prisoners in Texas kicked off the new millennium with a planned 21-day hunger strike over intolerable conditions of confinement. As many as 100 death row prisoners as well as hundreds of other ad-seg prisoners participated in the hunger strike, according to reports by Gloria Rubac published ...

Comatose Prisoners Expose the Limits of Mercy

In Texas and California the hard line against crime has crashed against the bottom line of deficient state budgets. Short money and long sentences have politicians from both states purporting to search frantically for fiscal solutions.


Texas legislators have proposed a variety of bills that would potentially release prisoners. One ...

California to Outfit All Prison Guards With Stab-Resistant Body Armor

California has ordered $2.3 million in stab-resistant body armor from DBH Industries' subsidiary Protective Apparel Corp. of America (PACA)enough to give body armor to all California prison guards. The order is the largest ever received from the prison industry by body armor specialists DBH.


Meanwhile, DBH subsidiary Point ...

International Perspectives on the Death Penalty

Review by Julia Lutsky

The United States is finding itself increasingly isolated by its intransigence with respect to the death penalty. At a time when the rest of the world is moving toward eradication of this barbaric practice, the United States almost alone of all nations is moving to increase ...

Nevada Religious Group Gets Federal Money to Help Prisoners, Delivers Nothing

Nevada Religious Group Gets Federal Money
to Help Prisoners, Delivers Nothing

by Matthew T. Clarke


Alliance Collegiums Association of Southern Nevada (ACASN), a faith-based organization led by black ministers with the stated mission of providing prisoners with support services after parole, received a federal grant for $423,000 in October ...

Claim For Prospective Relief Moot Upon Release

The court of appeals for the Tenth circuit held that when a prisoner's claim for perspective injunctive relief regarding conditions of confinement becomes moot, the prisoner's parole or supervised release status does not, absent some exceptional showing, bring that claim under the narrow "capable of repetition, yet evading ...

Grievance Procedure Not Required by PLRA in All Lawsuits

The Ninth Circuit court of appeals has held that California state prisoners who seek only monetary damages in federal civil rights suits need not file a prison grievance before filing suit.

MacArthur Rumbles, a California state prisoner, filed a civil rights suit against prison guards seeking monetary damages. The guards ...

Wrongfully Convicted in California and New York Awarded Damages

California


On April 29, 2003, then California Governor Gray Davis signed legislation awarding two wrongfully convicted prisoners $100 per day for every day they were in prison. Ricky Daye, who spent 10 years in Folsom Prison, and Leonard McSherry, who served nearly 13 years, will receive $389,000 and $481 ...

City Liable for Jail Sex Shows and Nude Dancing

PLN has extensively reported on the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment of women prisoners in District of Columbia prisons and jails. In "Our Sisters Keepers," by Daniel Burton Rose, [PLN, Feb. 1999] we reported on women prisoners in the District of Columbia (D.C.) jail being forced to ...

Heck Does Not Bar Evidence in Shooting Case

The U.S. district court for the East ern District of California held that a prisoner was not precluded from introducing evidence contradicting factual findings of disciplinary proceeding instituted against prisoner as a result of incident.

Vincent Marquez, a California state prisoner, brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil ...

New Mexico Supreme Court Rules in Disciplinary Hearing Remedies

As an issue of first impression, the New Mexico Supreme Court recently held that restoration of lost good-time credits and an order prohibiting another hearing were the proper remedies for a prison disciplinary infraction that violated a prisoner's right to due process of law. The Court noted, however, that ...

$115,000 Settlement in Seattle Jail Strip-Search Suit

by John E. Dannenberg


King County and the City of Seattle settled a wrongful strip-search suit for $115,000 on May 21, 2003 and also agreed to change strip-search policies at King County jails.


Jasmine Wells and Brian Walton, college students in Anchorage, Alaska, had come to Seattle on November ...

Absent Plain Error, Objection Necessary to Preserve Issues

The appeals court for the Seventh circuit held that if a pretrial ruling is definitive, objection at trial is not necessary to preserve the issue for appellate review. The court also held that objection to a guard's counsel's references to pretrial detainee as "cop killer" was forfeited, such ...

Magistrate Judge Recuses Self in BOP Medical Treatment Case

Magistrate Judge Recuses Self in BOP
Medical Treatment Case


A Magistrate Judge for the District of Columbia has recused himself on the federal government's motion from a case involving the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and its medical care of a pre-operative transsexual prisoner.


Barbie Black, a BOP prisoner, is ...

Denial of Medication Precludes Summary Judgment

The U.S. district court for the southern district of Ohio held that a genuine issue of material fact precluded summary judgement against an arrestee who was denied needed AIDS medication during his eight-day jail incarceration.

Devin Karl Murphy brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants Deborah ...

Dismissal Reversed for Determination Whether Prisoner Was Misled About Remedies

Dismissal Reversed for Determination Whether
Prisoner Was Misled About Remedies


The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Pennsylvania federal district court's dismissal of a state prisoner's suit. The court ruled that there was a substantial, disputed question whether the prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies ...

Grievances Exhausted When Prison Officials Fail to Respond

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that when prison officials fail to respond to administrative remedies, those remedies are rendered "unavailable" and deemed exhausted under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The court also held that prison officials were not estopped from raising an exhaustion defense.


In October 1997 ...

News in Brief

CA: Dept. of Corrections sergeant Richard Selio murdered his estranged wife on Sept. 26, 1999, then shot and killed himself after a SWAT team stormed his house following an eight hour standoff. Selio was a transport officer at the California Institute for Men. His wife, Teresa, also was a CDC ...

Summary Judgment Reversed on Fact Issues of Guards' Failure to Protect Prisoner

The Seventh Circuit court of appeals has reversed summary judgment where issues of material fact remain concerning guards' deliberate indifference to a prisoner's safety in a failure to protect case.


Bryan Case, an Illinois state prisoner, small statured and classified as a "vulnerable victim," was released from segregation to ...

522 Days in BOP Ad Seg States Due Process Claim

A federal district court in New York denied prison officials' motion for summary judgment, holding that defendants failed to establish as a matter of law that 28 C.F.R § 541.22 - the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) administrative segregation (ad seg) rule - does not create a protected liberty interest in ...

Jury Awards $700,000 to Chicago Jail Worker for Sexual Harassment

On July 2, 2003, a federal jury in Chicago, Illinois, awarded $700,000 in damages to a female employee of the Chicago jail in Illinois who was sexually harassed and assaulted by a male co-worker. Kathleen Kessel, 35, and Beverly Meador, 44, were employed by the Cook County sheriff's ...

California Parole Rescission Panel's Disagreement With Granting Panel Fails The "Some Evidence" Standard

California Parole Rescission Panel's Disagreement With Granting Panel Fails The "Some Evidence" Standard

by John E. Dannenberg


The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that a California life prisoner's rescission of his unexecuted grant of parole by a rescission panel's finding of "improvident grant" of ...

Transsexual Prisoners Have Privacy Right

The U.S. court of appeals for the Second Circuit held that transsexual and HIV+ prisoners have a privacy right to confidentiality of their prison medical records and physical conditions. However, because this principle was not clearly established law, the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on this, but not ...

Exceeding Doctor's Work Limit Order Actionable Under Eighth Amendment

Exceeding Doctor's Work Limit Order Actionable
Under Eighth Amendment

by John E. Dannenberg


The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that prison officials' forcing of a prisoner to work in excess of a four hour doctor-established daily limit, resulting in dangerous blood pressure elevation, was sufficient to ...

BOP Electric Musical Instrument Ban Upheld by DC Circuit

BOP Electric Musical Instrument Ban
Upheld by DC Circuit

by John E. Dannenberg


The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit upheld the BOP ban on electric musical instruments in federal prisons, rejecting prisoner arguments that the ban violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) as well as their First ...

New York Prisoner's Assault Claim Headed for Trial

New York's Court of Appeals, its highest court, has held prisoner Francisco Sanchez's state tort lawsuit alleging negligent supervision against the state of New York raises an issue of whether an assault on Sanchez was foreseeable. The Court of Claims granted the State's motion for summary judgment ...

Guard Proclaiming Open Season On Prisoner Actionable

The court of appeals for the Second circuit held that a prisoner, who alleged a guard told the other prisoners that it was "open season" on the prisoner, stated a claim under § 1983 for violation of the prisoner's Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment ...

Wyoming Prisoners Win Summary Judgment for Increased Security

by John E. Dannenberg


The class of all Wyoming state pris-oners won injunctive relief forcing prison officials to protect them from unprovoked assault, bodily injury and death at the hands of other prisoners, now, and in the future. Granting summary judgment to the plaintiff class, the US District Court (D ...

Illinois Governor Announces Death Penalty Moratorium

Citing a "shameful record of convicting innocent people and putting them on death row", Illinois governor George Ryan announced a halt to state executions. The January 31 announcement marked the first such moratorium in the U.S.

The Nebraska Legislature passed a moratorium on executions in 1999, citing concerns about ...

Dismissal Without Notice for Untimely Service of § 1983 Complaint Is Abuse of Discretion

Dismissal Without Notice for Untimely Service
of § 1983 Complaint Is Abuse of Discretion


When the United States District Court (SD NY) dismissed a prisoner's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint for his failure to serve it within 120 days, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed because the district ...

Federal Tort Claims Act Suit Limitation Construed in Medical Suit

Affirming the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the United States was entitled to summary judgment under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in a prisoner's medical malpractice claim.


Michael Massey, a prisoner formerly at ...

Circumstantial Evidence Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held circumstantial evidence in a retaliation claim is sufficient to defeat summary judgment in prison officials' favor. While confined at New York's Bare Hill Correctional Facility, prisoner Gregory Gayle filed a grievance stating he heard prison staff praising the guard who had used ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Exhaustion of Remedies Mandatory Before Filing Suit

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Ap-peals joined eight other U.S. Courts of Appeals in holding that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) mandates, under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), that administrative remedies must be exhausted prior to a prisoner filing suit about prison conditions under any ...

Chief Medical Officer Liable On Medical Policy Decisions

Chief Medical Officer Liable On
Medical Policy Decisions

by John E. Dannenberg


The Second Circuit US Court of Ap-peals held that a prisoner's complaint regarding a painful chronic medical complication that developed at the site of a knife wound raised genuine issues of material fact sufficient to defeat prison ...

Kentucky Jury Awards $2,641 to Estate of Murdered Prisoner

In the January, 2003, issue of PLN we reported Flint Ex Rel Flint v. Kentucky Department of Corrections, 270 F.3d 340 (6th Cir. 2001) where the court held that Kentucky prison officials and employees of Correctional Industries were not entitled to qualified immunity for failing to protect prisoner Robert ...

Retaliation Claim Satisfied by Existence of Major Misconduct Citation

Retaliation Claim Satisfied by Existence
of Major Misconduct Citation

by John E. Dannenberg


The Sixth Circuit US Court of Appeals held that the "substantial or motivating factor" element required satisfying a Michigan prisoner's protected speech First Amendment retaliation claim was satisfied by the existence of a major misconduct charge ...

Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke States Eighth Amendment Claim

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sec-ond Circuit reversed and remanded a district court's dismissal of a New York prisoner's lawsuit which complained of second-hand tobacco smoke.


Samuel Davis, a non-smoker, had been a prisoner at New York's Attica Correctional Facility since 1993. He had ...

No Jurisdiction for Interlocutory Appeal Where Evidence Is Disputed in Failure to Protect Suit

No Jurisdiction for Interlocutory Appeal Where
Evidence Is Disputed in Failure to Protect Suit

by John E. Dannenberg


The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Ap-peals held that in a prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim for damages arising from an attack by another prisoner, jurisdiction did not lie for the ...

Inquiry Required Before Dismissal for Failure to Pay Partial Filing Fee

Inquiry Required Before Dismissal for Failure
to Pay Partial Filing Fee


The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held a district court must inquire into why a prisoner failed to pay an initial partial filing fee as ordered by the Court before entering dismissal. Georgia prisoner Charles D. Wilson was ...

Warrantless Police Search of Prisoners Cell Upheld; Damages Awarded For Retaliation

Warrantless Police Search of Prisoners Cell Upheld;
Damages Awarded For Retaliation


The Second Circuit court of appeals has upheld the warrantless search of a prisoner's cell by guards acting for police detectives. $401 in damages was awarded for guard retaliation for the prisoner's exercise of his right to ...

No Appeal Bond Required for Indigent Colorado Litigants

No Appeal Bond Required for
Indigent Colorado Litigants


The Colorado Supreme Court has held that a state district court may not condition an indigent prisoner's appeal on the posting of an appeal bond.


Thomas E. Rodden, a Colorado prisoner in the State's Supermax had legal papers and other ...

PLRA Applies to Prospective Relief; Fees Are Not Prospective Relief

A federal court in Florida held that a provision of the Prison Litigation reform Act (PLRA) automatically staying enforcement of prospective relief under consent decrees applies only to prospective relief engendered within the consent decree, and not to the entire decree. Additionally, the court held that attorneys fees are not ...

Loss of Good Time for Kansas SATP Refusal Upheld

Loss Of Good Time For Kansas SATP Refusal Upheld

by Bob Williams


The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that even when loss of good time credits are the consequences of refusal to comply with the core requirements of Kansas' Sexual Abuse Treatment Program (SATP), there is still no ...

South Dakota Attorney Fee Award of $106,877 Upheld Under PLRA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has upheld an award of $106,877.74 in attorney fees for work done to enforce a consent decree issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota. The case was a long running class action ...

Court Modifies Education Plan for Rikers Island Youth

by David M. Reutter


In continuing its enforcement of an "Education Plan" for the Rikers Island Academies, a New York federal district court has made modifications to the Plan because it is "deficient in many respects." PLN previously reported upon the previous ruling in this case. See PLN November 2000 ...

Oregon Contraband Conviction Reversed

The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed a prisoner's conviction for supplying contraband, finding that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.


Jose Hernandez, a prisoner at the Umatilla County jail, was found in possession of a powdery substance which was later determined to be the prescription antidepressant, Doxepin ...

BOP Prisoners Eligible for Drug Treatment Without Documented History of Abuse

A U.S. District Court in Oregon found a federal prisoner was eligible for participation in a drug treatment program and a one-year sentence reduction upon successful completion of that program.


Martin Kuna, a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution, Sheridan, Oregon, filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus ...

News in Brief

Afghanistan: On October 10, 2003, 41 prisoners tunneled out of the Khandahar jail through a 30 foot tunnel. Some, but not all, the prisoners were members of the Taliban. Taliban commander Mullah Sabir told media that the group, which is fighting the American occupation of the country, paid prison officials ...

New Jersey Sex Offender Treatment Statute Creates Liberty Interest

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court's FRCP 12(c) dismissal of a prisoner's action stemming from a failure to provide sex offender treatment. The court held that the unique statutory scheme at issue created a liberty interest in treatment, for purposes of both procedural ...

Qualified Immunity Denied in BOP Transsexual Strip Search

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied qualified immunity to federal prison officials for a transsexual strip search conducted in front of numerous spectators.


Dee Farmer, a prisoner in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) at FCI Englewood, Colorado, is a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual suffering from gender dysphoria. Farmer ...