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Prison Legal News: March, 2001

Issue PDF
Volume 12, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. Deadly Nostalgia: The Politics of Boot Camps (p 1)
  2. Riot at CCA Prison Hospitalizes 15 Guards (p 5)
  3. FTCA, Bivens Claims in Beating Suit Proceed in Bifurcated Trial (p 5)
  4. The Spirit of Freedom and Resistance, Long Kesh Prison Closed (p 6)
  5. Cook County Deputies Charged in Beating Death (p 7)
  6. BOP Organ Transplant Ban Questioned (p 7)
  7. U.S. Isolates Political Prisoners (p 8)
  8. Feds Continue Abuse of El-Hage (p 8)
  9. WA DOC Sells Prisoner Information (p 10)
  10. The Continuing Saga of Corruption in the New York State Parole System (p 11)
  11. Texas Deputy Pays Price for Testifying (p 12)
  12. Jail Term for DUI Turns into Death Sentence (p 12)
  13. Texas Death Machine Faces Renewed Criticism (p 13)
  14. Wildfires Highlight Cheapness of Prisoner Lives (p 14)
  15. Ad Seg States Claim, But Loses on Merits (p 15)
  16. Lorton Conditions Unconstitutional (p 16)
  17. Colorado Prisoner Challenges 'Sex Offender' Label (p 17)
  18. BOP Possession Offense Requires Specific Intent (p 18)
  19. Permanent Injunction Granted for Kosher Diets (p 19)
  20. SHU Should Be Compared to Conditions Experienced by All Prisoners (p 20)
  21. Consent No Defense For Guard Accused of Raping Prisoner (p 20)
  22. Court May Reduce Post-Judgement Attorney's Fees Rate and Billable Hours (p 21)
  23. NJ Prisoners Entitled to Cross Examine Witnesses (p 21)
  24. "The Judge Gave Me Ten Years--He Didn't Sentence Me to Death" (p 22)
  25. Oregon Compelled Parole Statute Not Retroactive (p 26)
  26. Improperly Installed Bunks State 8th Amendment Claim (p 26)
  27. Second Circuit Holds That Gang Member Designation Regulation is Not Ex Post Facto (p 27)
  28. PLRA Doesn't Apply to Civil Commitments (p 27)
  29. News in Brief (p 28)
  30. $1.18 Million in Santa Clara Co. Sexual Assault/Harassment Suit (p 30)
  31. New York Prayer Rule Struck Down (p 31)
  32. Federal Religious Freedom Law Passed (p 32)

Deadly Nostalgia: The Politics of Boot Camps

The short, stout eighth grader Gina Score, was never much of an athlete. But that didn't matter to the staff at South Dakota's Plankinton boot camp for girls, where militarystyle discipline and calisthenics were the modus operandi and, as staff put it, "quitting is not an option." On ...

Riot at CCA Prison Hospitalizes 15 Guards

A minor riot on July 15 2000, left fifteen guards and one prisoner injured at the North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma. Six guards were sent to area hospitals where they were treated for minor cuts and bruises. One guard suffered a broken nose.

The incident began when a ...

FTCA, Bivens Claims in Beating Suit Proceed in Bifurcated Trial

Orlando Ortiz, a pretrial detainee, brought action for use of excessive force during a pat search under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §26722680 (FTCA), and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 833 (1971). Ortiz charged that Lt ...

The Spirit of Freedom and Resistance, Long Kesh Prison Closed

Her Majesty's Prison Maze, also called Long Kesh, is a high security prison located about ten miles from Belfast in Northern Ireland's County Antrim. The largest of Northern Ireland's prisons, it was established on the site of Long Kesh Royal Air Force Base, a World War II ...

Cook County Deputies Charged in Beating Death

Three Cook County (Chicago, IL.) deputies were charged with murder for allegedly beating a prisoner in a courthouse holding cell May 5, 2000. The prisoner died two days later from injuries sustained in the beating.

Louis Schmude, 40, was awaiting a court hearing on a charge of violating an order ...

BOP Organ Transplant Ban Questioned

The court of appeals for the Eighth circuit dismissed, without prejudice, a habeas corpus petition filed by Kenneth Barron, a federal prisoner, claiming his longterm survival was at risk because the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) refuses to provide him with a kidney transplant. Instead, Barron requires kidney dialysis to survive ...

U.S. Isolates Political Prisoners

Two recent federal appeals court decisions highlight some of the repressive measures used by U.S. authorities to isolate and silence political dissenters. Though the methods used by the two political prisoners involved in these cases may be distasteful to some people, Americans must understand that the U.S. government ...

Feds Continue Abuse of El-Hage

In a telephone interview with The New York Times, April ElHage said federal jail officials in Manhattan have been retaliating against her husband, Wadih ElHage, ever since two codefendants in the case were accused of stabbing and critically wounding a guard.

The two codefendants, Khalfan Khamis Mohamed and Mamdouh Mahmud ...

WA DOC Sells Prisoner Information

In response to a Public Disclosure Act (PDA) request from PLN, the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) revealed that since at least 1995 it has been selling prisoner information to a variety of private and media companies. The private company data brokers in turn resell the information for a hefty ...

The Continuing Saga of Corruption in the New York State Parole System

In 1992 a young Korean man, John Kim, was sentenced to four to twelve years for armed robbery. Four years later he walked out paroled, after his father, pastor of a prominent Korean congregation in New York City, gave $7,000 to the 1994 campaign to elect George Pataki governor ...

Texas Deputy Pays Price for Testifying

Without the testimony of former Bexar County (TX) Jail guard Linda Grady, one of her former colleagues would never have been indicted for striking a prisoner, prosecutors say. As it was, Charles Mizell was convicted June 8, 2000 on one count each of official oppression and violating a person's ...

Jail Term for DUI Turns into Death Sentence

On July 11, 2000, Rodney "Rocky" Eickstadt began serving a 175day jail term at the Franklin County (Ohio) Jail for drunken driving. Ten weeks later he was dead _ from complications related to untreated diabetes.

Eickstadt didn't know he was diabetic when he started his jail sentence. But by ...

Texas Death Machine Faces Renewed Criticism

A report released October 16, 2000 by the Texas Defender Service, a nonprofit group that represents death row prisoners, concludes that "an intolerably high number of people are being sentenced to death [in Texas] and propelled through the appellate courts in a process that lacks the integrity to reliably identify ...

Wildfires Highlight Cheapness of Prisoner Lives

Wildfires HighLight Cheapness of Prisoner Lives



The summer of 2000 brought dev-
astating wildfires to the Western United States. By official count, some 25,000 firefighters were involved battling dozens of blazes across the West during the height of the fire season. That includes ground crews, air squads, fire engine ...

Ad Seg States Claim, But Loses on Merits

The court of appeals for the Second circuit held that a district court did not err in vacating a jury's finding that a New York prisoner's 101-day placement in segregation violated due process. In doing so, the court held that New York state rules on segregation placement do ...

Lorton Conditions Unconstitutional

A federal district court for the District of Columbia held that a prisoner stated claims for an assortment of constitutional injuries and a violation of the Lorton Act. The defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment was denied in part.

This case is remarkable ...

Colorado Prisoner Challenges 'Sex Offender' Label

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a Colorado prisoner's classification as a "sex offender" is subject to due process considerations.

In 1985, the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) modified its Administrative Regulation governing classification to include a Sex Offender Component in its Risk Assessment Management Program. The ...

BOP Possession Offense Requires Specific Intent

The U.S. court of appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1791(a)(2), which makes it unlawful for federal a prisoner to possess a "prohibited object," is a specific intent crime, and intent to use the object as a weapon is ...

Permanent Injunction Granted for Kosher Diets

The Colorado Federal District Court granted a permanent injunction against the Department of Corrections (CDOC) finding the CDOC in violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment for failing to provide Colorado Prisoners with a kosher diet.

As reported in the December1998 issue of PLN, a preliminary injunction ...

SHU Should Be Compared to Conditions Experienced by All Prisoners

SHU Should Be Compared To Conditions Experienced By All Prisoners

The Second Circuit has held that, to determine whether a ninetyday stay in a Special Housing Unit (SHU) is atypical and significant, it should be compared with the typical conditions experienced by all prisoners in the prison system, not just ...

Consent No Defense For Guard Accused of Raping Prisoner

by Matthew T. Clarke

A federal district court in Delaware has held that a prison guard may not use consent as a defense in a suit by a prisoner alleging he raped her.

Dorothy Carrigan, a Delaware state prisoner, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a guard ...

Court May Reduce Post-Judgement Attorney's Fees Rate and Billable Hours

The Ninth Circuit has held that the district court may reduce the rate of pay and number of billable hours for postjudgment work by prevailing civil rights attorneys in prisoner cases when the postjudgment work is less complex and risky than the trial work.

Robert Webb and several other prisoners ...

NJ Prisoners Entitled to Cross Examine Witnesses

Holding that a prisoner was entitled to cross examine and to confront the complaining witness at a prison disciplinary hearing, a New Jersey appellate court reversed the sanctions imposed on a prisoner accused of tampering with a locking device on a gate.

Robert Decker, a prisoner at the East Jersey ...

"The Judge Gave Me Ten Years--He Didn't Sentence Me to Death"

"The Judge Gave Me Ten Years--He Didn't Sentence Me to Death"


Prisoners with HIV deprived of proper care

By Anne-Marie Cusac

In prisons and jails across the country, prisoners with HIV or AIDS are denied proper treatment. In many cases, guards and medical staff have blocked prisoners from getting ...

Oregon Compelled Parole Statute Not Retroactive

The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision, which held that the retroactive application of a 1985 "compelled parole" statute violated the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws.

In 1985 the Oregon legislature enacted ORS 144.245(3) that mandates: "In no case does a prisoner have a ...

Improperly Installed Bunks State 8th Amendment Claim

The court of appeals for the Sixth circuit held that a prisoner's complaint that bunk beds are improperly installed upside down, and the anchor bolts' protrusion into the sleeping area states an eighth amendment claim. Tennessee prisoner Forrest Zayne Brown filed a 42 U.S.C. §1983 suit claiming ...

Second Circuit Holds That Gang Member Designation Regulation is Not Ex Post Facto

The Second circuit court of appeals held that a Connecticut DOC administrative directive making prisoners classified as safety threats ineligible to earn good time credits was not ex post facto and that a Connecticut statute did not create a liberty interest in good time.

On September 3, 1993, Ralph Abed ...

PLRA Doesn't Apply to Civil Commitments

The court of appeals for the Ninth circuit held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act does not apply to people civilly committed as "sexually violent predators." Sammy Page is civilly committed under California's Sexually Violent Predators Act.

Page filed suit in Federal court and sought In Forma Pauperis (IFP ...

News in Brief

AK: In December 2000, Jeffrey Wiseman, 44, a guard at the Palmer Correctional Center in Palmer was charged with theft and fraudulent use of a credit card stemming from his theft of jail prisoners' credit cards and using them to buy goods. When confronted by police Wiseman confessed to the ...

$1.18 Million in Santa Clara Co. Sexual Assault/Harassment Suit

$1.18 Million In Santa Clara Co. Sexual Assault/Harassment Suit


Female prisoners were awarded a total of $1,180,000 in damages and attorney's fees in the settlement of a suit filed against the Santa Clara County, California, Board of Supervisors and Department of Corrections over a pattern ...

New York Prayer Rule Struck Down

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Second Circuit court of ap-
peals has held that Rule 105.11 of the New York State Department of Corrections Services (DOCS) Standards of Inmate Behavior (the Rules) violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment when used to punish prisoners engaged in silent ...

Federal Religious Freedom Law Passed

On July 27, 2000, Congress unanimously enacted Senate Bill 2869, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), which was signed into law by president Clinton, as a public law 106-274. The bill passed congress in two weeks and tries to reverse the supreme court ruling in ...