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Prison Legal News: September, 2000

Issue PDF
Volume 11, Number 9

In this issue:

  1. The Restraint Chair: Safe and Humane? (p 1)
  2. Prison Realty/CCA Bailout Deal Canceled (p 6)
  3. Deviant Doctors Dumped on Prisoners (p 7)
  4. Former Political Prisoner Settles Suit for $4.5 Million (p 8)
  5. Penis Stomping Guard Loses Appeal (p 9)
  6. PLN Sues Nevada DOP (p 9)
  7. WA and IN Prison Phone Rates Challenged (p 10)
  8. Pro Se Tips and Tactics (p 11)
  9. The Ride: Rise of the NLR (p 13)
  10. Colorado DOC Attacks Jailhouse Lawyers (p 15)
  11. Sex Offender Label May Require Due Process (p 15)
  12. Change in Fulton County, GA: Indigent Defense, HIV, and Community Organizing (p 16)
  13. Prison Physician Liable for Refusal of Care (p 18)
  14. Washington Earned Early Release Credits Create Due Process Liberty Interests (p 19)
  15. Fines Against WA Civil Commitment Center Stayed (p 20)
  16. U.S. Parole Commission Retaliation Reversed (p 21)
  17. $53,000 Settlement in AL Conditions Suit (p 21)
  18. Counsel Awarded High EAJA Fee Despite Contingency Fee in BOP Rape Suit (p 22)
  19. Bush's Conservative Compassion: Allowing a Life Sentence for Three Bounced Checks (p 24)
  20. Censorship challenged in CO DOC (p 25)
  21. News in Brief (p 26)
  22. No Qualified Immunity from ETS Exposure (p 28)
  23. Two Guards Killed During Botched Missouri Jail Escape (p 31)
  24. Race-Based Religious Policy Violates Equal Protection Clause (p 31)

The Restraint Chair: Safe and Humane?

Jail and prison employees call it the "strap-o-lounger," the "barcalounger," the "we care chair," and the "be sweet chair." Prisoners and their lawyers have other names for the device: "torture chair," "slave chair," and "devil's chair." They are not referring to the electric chair, but to a restraining device ...

Prison Realty/CCA Bailout Deal Canceled

On the cover of the July PLN we reported that the nation's largest private prison owner and operator, Prison Realty/CCA, verged on bankruptcy and that one of its principal shareholders, Pacific Life Insurance Co., planned to infuse a $200 million equity investment into the ailing company. When the ...

Deviant Doctors Dumped on Prisoners

How does a psychiatrist come by the "qualifications" required to work in a state prison? Not all prison doctors have questionable pedigrees, but the case of Dr. Valentino Andres is all too common.

According to a California prisoner and PLN subscriber, Dr. Andres is the Chief Psychiatrist of the infamous ...

Former Political Prisoner Settles Suit for $4.5 Million

On April 26, 2000, the city of Los Angeles, California and the federal government agreed to pay former political prisoner Geronimo Ji Jaga (formerly known as Elmer Pratt) $4.5 million to settle a wrongful imprisonment suit he had filed. Ji Jaga is a former member of the Black Panther ...

Penis Stomping Guard Loses Appeal

In the July '99 issue of PLN we reported the conviction of former Orleans County Jail (Albion, NY) Lieutenant John Walsh on three counts of violating the civil rights of jail detainee Norvin Fowlks. Walsh was alleged to have tormented and abused Fowlks, who was described as mentally disturbed, and ...

PLN Sues Nevada DOP

On June 11, 2000, PLN filed suit against the Nevada Department of Prisons for censoring PLN at all Nevada prisons. Beginning in September, 1999, Nevada prison officials have banned PLN from all Nevada prisons claiming that "inmate correspondence" and "inmate newsletters" are not allowed.

Efforts by PLN and several of ...

WA and IN Prison Phone Rates Challenged

On June 20, 2000, a class action suit was filed in King county (Seattle) superior court in Washington. The suit claims that various phone companies that have contracted with the Washington Department of Corrections to provide collect call services for Washington prisoners have violated RCW 80.36.520 and RCW ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics

Supreme Court on Kind and Quality of Appellate Counsel

by John Midgley

In three recent decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the kind and quality of representation to which people are entitled on appeal of their criminal convictions. If your conviction is on appeal (or should have been appealed ...

The Ride: Rise of the NLR

THE RIDE: Rise of the NLR

By W. Wisely

With virtually all confirmed members of the Aryan Brotherhood indefinitely sentenced to Pelican Bay's infamous SHU, a new group moved in to fill the void on California prison yards. The pace of stabbings, slashings, assaults, and race riots in maximum ...

Colorado DOC Attacks Jailhouse Lawyers

In March 1998, PLN reported on the case of Tebbetts v. Whitson, 956 P.2d 639 (Colo.App. 1997), where a Colorado prisoner was convicted of attempted bartering as a jailhouse lawyer and possessing another prisoner's legal papers.

The Court of Appeals held the attempted bartering charge could not ...

Sex Offender Label May Require Due Process

The Eleventh Circuit ruled that absent a conviction for a sex related crime, classification of a state prisoner as a sex offender (and requiring him to register as a sex offender) implicates a liberty interest under the Due Process Clause.

Jeffery Kirby and Robert Edmond are Alabama state prisoners who ...

Change in Fulton County, GA: Indigent Defense, HIV, and Community Organizing

The Fulton County Jail in Atlanta is the largest jail in Georgia, with approximately 3,000 prisoners held there for months and sometimes years waiting for their cases to be resolved or to be transferred to a state prison. In early 1999, the medical care for people who are HIV ...

Prison Physician Liable for Refusal of Care

Prison Physician Liable For Refusal of Care

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a federal prisoner's Biven's claim did not state a medical care claim against a prison guard who failed to have the prisoner checked out after the prisoner complained of pain. The court also ...

Washington Earned Early Release Credits Create Due Process Liberty Interests

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One, has held that: (1) a prisoner's right to community custody placement created limited due process liberty interests, but (2) delay did not violate prisoner's due process rights.

Matthew S. Crowder, a Washington prisoner, was convicted of two counts of third ...

Fines Against WA Civil Commitment Center Stayed

In the May 2000 issue of PLN we reported the progress of a federal court injunction issued in 1994 against Washington's Special Commitment Center (SCC), the nation's first civil commitment facility specifically for the long-term detention and "treatment" of "sexual predators." In his Nov. 15, 1999 contempt ruling ...

U.S. Parole Commission Retaliation Reversed

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a ruling that safeguards the due process rights of prisoners whose release dates are committed to the discretion of parole agencies. In Bono v. Benov, 197 F.3d 409 (9th Cir. 1999), the court affirmed the application of the North Carolina ...

$53,000 Settlement in AL Conditions Suit

On April 8, 2000, the Alabama Department of Corrections settled a conditions lawsuit by agreeing to pay eight prisoners $53,000 in damages and establish basic standards of care at the Loxley Community Work Center in Mobile, Alabama.

In August, 1997, eight prisoners were placed in a 7 x 11 ...

Counsel Awarded High EAJA Fee Despite Contingency Fee in BOP Rape Suit

Counsel Awarded High EAJA Fee Despite Contingency Fee in BOP Rape suit

By Mark Cook

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held: (1) prisoners' action was not one sounding in tort, so an attorney fee award was not barred by sovereign immunity; (2) fact that ...

Bush's Conservative Compassion: Allowing a Life Sentence for Three Bounced Checks

by Matthew T. Clarke

Texas Governor George Bush has based his presidential aspirations on the questionable concept of compassionate conservatism, but how compassionate is the Texas criminal justice system in dealing with its citizens under the Bush regime.

Consider the case of Billy Wayne Brown, a Texas prisoner doing a ...

Censorship challenged in CO DOC

Censorship Challenged in CO DOC

Eight publishers, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, and seven Colorado prisoners have filed suit in Federal District Court challenging the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) Administrative Regulation (AR) 300-26 governing prisoner reading material. Over the past three years the prisoners, housed in various CDOC facilities ...

News in Brief

AL: Citing "loyalty problems," on June 19, 2000, prison commissioner Mike Haley removed deputy commissioner John Shaver from his $71,000 a year job as head of the DOC's treatment programs. Shaver was transferred to a post as administrative services officer at a state prison, with a $20,000 ...

No Qualified Immunity from ETS Exposure

The U.S. court of appeals for the Second Circuit held that it was clearly established after Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25 (1993), that prison officials could not be deliberately indifferent to exposure of prisoners to levels of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) that posed an unreasonable risk of ...

Two Guards Killed During Botched Missouri Jail Escape

On June 22, 2000, a man and a woman rang the night bell of small county jail in Huntsville, Missouri, and when they were let in gunned down two guards in a botched attempt to spring a friend who was detained at the jail.

After killing the two guards, who ...

Race-Based Religious Policy Violates Equal Protection Clause

A federal district court in Virginia held that a race-based prison policy preventing non-Native American prisoners from obtaining Native American spiritual items violated the Equal Protection Clause. The court issued an injunction enjoining the application of the policy, based solely on race.

Thomas Mitchell, Jr., a white, non-Native American prisoner ...