Skip navigation

Prison Legal News: June, 2002

Issue PDF
Volume 13, Number 6

In this issue:

  1. Collateral Damage: The Children of Prisoners (p 1)
  2. Oregon Bulk Mail Ban Struck Down Again (p 5)
  3. From the Editor (p 6)
  4. Prisoner Killed in California Prison (p 7)
  5. $525,000 Paid in California Prisoner Beating Death (p 7)
  6. Habeas Hints: Post Conviction Relief (p 8)
  7. Book Review: The Prisons by Maggie Jaffe (p 10)
  8. Dominican Women Prisoners Strike for Conjugal Visits (p 10)
  9. U.S. Supreme Court Holds Warrantless Probationary Searches Are Valid (p 11)
  10. The Death Penalty in the U.S.A. -- Past, Present, and Future (p 12)
  11. $540,000 Settlement in Minnesota Jail Beating (p 13)
  12. $540,000 Settlement in Minnesota Jail Beating (p 14)
  13. Ex-Ohio Sheriff's Deputy Wins $650,000 Verdict Against CMS for Prisoner Escape (p 15)
  14. Two Federal Courts Grant Injunction for HCV Treatment (p 16)
  15. U.S. Supreme Court: Administrative Exhaustion Required for All Prisoner Section 1983 Suits (p 17)
  16. Summary Judgment Denied in Ohio Jail Booking Fee Challenge (p 18)
  17. U.S. Supreme Court: Qualified Immunity Determination Must Precede Trial on Merits (p 19)
  18. $1,500 Awarded in New York Slapping Case (p 20)
  19. Punch & Jurists: Criminal Law News You Can Use (p 21)
  20. California Jury Awards $1 Million in Jail Rape (p 21)
  21. Disciplinary Board Must Assess Confidential Informant's Reliability (p 22)
  22. Third Circuit Vacates $300,000 Beating Award, Orders New Trial (p 22)
  23. New Mexico Caps High Telephone Rates (p 23)
  24. Three Arkansas Guards Sentenced in Beating (p 23)
  25. Washington Infraction Invalid Where No Notice of Prohibited Conduct Given (p 24)
  26. ADA/RA Suit for Sign Language Interpreters Proceeds for Prospective Injunctive Relief (p 25)
  27. Forced AA/NA for Parolee Defeats Qualified Immunity (p 26)
  28. Tenth Circuit Vacates Religious Diet Awards Under PLRA Physical Injury Rule (p 26)
  29. TDCJ Not Immune from Suit in Medical Malpractice Death Case (p 27)
  30. California Jail Settles Rape Case for $95,000 (p 27)
  31. Denial of Grievance Forms Is Denial of Remedy (p 28)
  32. Jail Policy to Not Segregate Gangs Does Not Violate Constitution (p 28)
  33. Texas Appeals Court Grants Prisoner Mandamus on Discovery (p 29)
  34. Complaints Must Be Concise, To the Point (p 29)
  35. News in Brief (p 30)
  36. California Guards Bust Budget (p 32)

Collateral Damage: The Children of Prisoners

Carlos Kelly was six years old when, in December of 1991, his mother, Caridad, was arrested by federal agents in Florida for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

"I remember it was, like, me and my stepbrothers and sisters, we was all gathered in the playroom," says Carlos, now 16. "I told ...

Oregon Bulk Mail Ban Struck Down Again

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a rule of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) prohibiting prisoners from receiving bulk rate, third and fourth-class mail, is unconstitutional, as applied to pre-paid, for-profit, subscription publications. The Court also held that a rule authorizing the rejection of mail that does ...

From the Editor

This month's cover story examines the effects of mass imprisonment on the children of prisoners. All too often it is forgotten that prisoners have family members and the impact of penal policies on these families is largely ignored. Just as "family values" has served as a cover for a ...

Prisoner Killed in California Prison

On the morning of Sept. 29, 2001, after his very first night in prison, Gary Avila was found dead in his cell, apparently strangled by his cellmate. Inside the cell Paul Posada paced nervously and muttered to himself. "Yeah, I did it," he allegedly confessed to a prison lieutenant. "He ...

$525,000 Paid in California Prisoner Beating Death

In early October, 2001, the State of California agreed to pay $525,000 to the parents of a Corcoran State Prison prisoner who was killed by another prisoner in the exercise yard.

James Kevin Mahoney, Jr., who was serving a life term without parole for murder, was beaten and strangled ...

Habeas Hints: Post Conviction Relief

This column is intended to provide habeas hints for prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys in propia persona. The focus of the column is habeas corpus practice under the AEDPA, the 1996 habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus practice throughout the ...

Book Review: The Prisons by Maggie Jaffe

(Cedar Hill Publications, 92 pages, paper, $15.00)

Reviewed by Michael McIrvin

The Prisons, Maggie Jaffe's most recent poetry collection is hard to read, as the bleakest truths often are. The book is also hard to put down for the same reason, because this is the unexpurgated truth of ...

Dominican Women Prisoners Strike for Conjugal Visits

In November of 2001, women prisoners in the Najayo public prison in San Cristóbal on the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, carried out a protest during which they set fire to and burned all the books, doors and shelving in the prison library and furniture, television sets, mattresses, sheets ...

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Warrantless Probationary Searches Are Valid

The United States Supreme Court held in a unanimous decision the warrantless search of a probationer supported by reasonable suspicion and authorized by a condition of probation, was reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.

Mark Knights was sentenced to probation for a drug offense, after signing the probation ...

The Death Penalty in the U.S.A. -- Past, Present, and Future

The Death Penalty in the U.S.A. - Past, Present, and Future

Book Reviews by Roger Hummel

Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House by Scott Christianson. New York University Press, New York. 184 pages (illustrated), $24.95, cloth.

Beginning late in the nineteenth
century, New York State boasted electric ...

$540,000 Settlement in Minnesota Jail Beating

In October 2001, Hennepin County, Minnesota, agreed to pay $540,000 to settle a brutality suit against the county jail. It is believed to be the largest brutality settlement in county history. On September 4, 2000, Derek Martin, 43, was arrested on suspicion of violating a restraining order by Brooklyn ...

$540,000 Settlement in Minnesota Jail Beating

In October 2001, Hennepin County, Minnesota, agreed to pay $540,000 to settle a brutality suit against the county jail. It is believed to be the largest brutality settlement in county history. On September 4, 2000, Derek Martin, 43, was arrested on suspicion of violating a restraining order by Brooklyn ...

Ex-Ohio Sheriff's Deputy Wins $650,000 Verdict Against CMS for Prisoner Escape

Franklin County (Ohio) prisoner Alva Campbell was escorted to court in April 1997 while in his wheelchair, unable to walk. He was not handcuffed or otherwise restrained and was being guarded only by then-Franklin County Deputy Sheriff M. Teresa Harrison. After all, there was no need for restraints or additional ...

Two Federal Courts Grant Injunction for HCV Treatment

A federal court in Oklahoma issued an unpublished opinion granting a preliminary injunction ordering prison officials to provide prescribed medications for a prisoner's liver disease.

Another federal court in Ohio issued an unpublished opinion granting a preliminary injunction ordering prison officials to provide a prisoner with an evaluation for ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Administrative Exhaustion Required for All Prisoner Section 1983 Suits

by John E. Dannenberg

The US Supreme Court ruled that under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), exhaustion of administrative remedies is required in all prisoner civil rights suits pertaining to prison life, regardless of whether they involve only general prison circumstances or whether they allege excessive force or some ...

Summary Judgment Denied in Ohio Jail Booking Fee Challenge

In a case of first impression, an Ohio Federal District Court denied summary judgment to the Hamilton County [Ohio] Sheriff and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners in a former jail prisoner's challenge to Hamilton County's assessment of "book-in fees" to pre-trial detainees. In its opinion, the court ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Qualified Immunity Determination Must Precede Trial on Merits

U.S. Supreme Court: Qualified Immunity Determination Must Precede Trial On Merits

by John E. Dannenberg

The US Supreme Court held in a suit against a military police (MP) officer for use of excessive force in an arrest, that before analyzing whether such force was per se excessive, a threshold ...

$1,500 Awarded in New York Slapping Case

A New York federal district court has held that minor injury incurred from excessive force by a prison guard is actionable, and awarded damages after a bench trial. The court found it was undisputed that while prisoner Larenzo Romaine was housed at New York's Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, he ...

Punch & Jurists: Criminal Law News You Can Use

One reason PLN doesn't expand its coverage into criminal law is because other publications already do a good job covering it and we see little point in duplicating those efforts. Punch and Jurists is, bar none, the best criminal defense newsletter and website in America today. Now in its ...

California Jury Awards $1 Million in Jail Rape

On November 20, 2001, a Los Angeles county jury returned a $1 million verdict to 39 year-old Jay Reynolds, a former jail detainee who was raped by his cellmates after a judge ordered his release from jail. Reynolds was arrested in March 1999, when a traffic stop by police showed ...

Disciplinary Board Must Assess Confidential Informant's Reliability

The court of appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held that the failure of a disciplinary hearing officer to find a confidential informant's tip was reliable violates a prisoner's right to due process. While housed at Texas' Eastham Unit, prisoner Morris Broussard was charged and convicted of possession ...

Third Circuit Vacates $300,000 Beating Award, Orders New Trial

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a $300,000 jury award in a prisoner's excessive-use-of-force suit and ordered a new trial for liability and damages.

Raymond T. Pryer, a Pennsylvania state prisoner, filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ...

New Mexico Caps High Telephone Rates

The governor of New Mexico signed a bill in February 2001, prohibiting prisons from profiting on prisoners' phone calls, which was exceeding 10 times the regular competitive rates with a 15 minute call costing up to $20. The Public Communications Services, a Los Angeles-based carrier kicked back 48.25% of ...

Three Arkansas Guards Sentenced in Beating

On August 22, 1999 Arkansas prisoner Terry Botts received a beating at the Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys by three guards while his hands were handcuffed behind his back. The guards determined the severity of the injuries he sustained would not require hospitalization, but Botts did suffer swelling and bruising ...

Washington Infraction Invalid Where No Notice of Prohibited Conduct Given

The Washington Court of Appeals recently held that due process requires prior notification of prohibited conduct before prison officials may infract and punish prisoners for engaging in such behavior. Because the court found that the prisoner in the case before it did not receive adequate notice that his conduct was ...

ADA/RA Suit for Sign Language Interpreters Proceeds for Prospective Injunctive Relief

ADA/RA Suit For Sign Language Interpreters Proceeds for Prospective Injunctive Relief

by John E. Dannenberg

The Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that a deaf-mute Missouri State prisoner's ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and RA (Rehabilitation Act) based suit for sign language interpreters may proceed in US ...

Forced AA/NA for Parolee Defeats Qualified Immunity

A Wisconsin federal district court has held that officials are not entitled to qualified immunity when they require atheist parolees to participate in religious based substance abuse programs. John Bausch, a former prisoner and parolee, filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the former and present secretaries ...

Tenth Circuit Vacates Religious Diet Awards Under PLRA Physical Injury Rule

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Tenth Circuit held that the PLRA forbids recovery of compensatory damages for violations of the right to exercise a religious preference absent proof of physical injury.

Jimmy Searles, a Kansas state prisoner, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming prison officials violated his ...

TDCJ Not Immune from Suit in Medical Malpractice Death Case

A Texas state court of appeals has held that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) does not enjoy sovereign immunity from being sued in a medical malpractice/wrongful death case.

Charles Edwin Miller, III, was a Texas state prisoner at the Huntsville Unit of the TDCJ. On August 24 ...

California Jail Settles Rape Case for $95,000

On November 19, 2001, the city of Santa Ana, California, agreed to pay $95,000 to an unidentified former jail detainee who was beaten and raped by his cellmate, to settle a lawsuit stemming from the attack. The 32-year-old unnamed accountant plaintiff was being held in the Santa Ana jail ...

Denial of Grievance Forms Is Denial of Remedy

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that a prisoner's "Motion to Reinstate Cause" after dismissal of a 42 U.S.C. §1983 action alleged facts to raise an inference he had exhausted his "available" remedies. While an Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC) prisoner, James Miller was ...

Jail Policy to Not Segregate Gangs Does Not Violate Constitution

Jail Policy To Not Segregate Gangs Does Not Violate Constitution

by John E. Dannenberg

The Seventh Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that the Cook County (Chicago), Illinois jail did not violate the Constitution by failing to implement a policy segregating prisoners by gang affiliation. However, it distinguished the tier ...

Texas Appeals Court Grants Prisoner Mandamus on Discovery

by Matthew T. Clarke

A state appeals court in Texas has conditionally granted a prisoner's petition for a writ of mandamus to order the judge of a Texas state district court to hear and rule upon the prisoner's request for discovery in a suit against prison officials.

Danny ...

Complaints Must Be Concise, To the Point

The court of appeals for the Eleventh circuit held that a district court erred when it dismissed a former pre trial detainee's Bivens suit for lack of jurisdiction and for failing to state a claim. The court chastised the plaintiff's attorney for filing a lengthy, rambling complaint.

Salvador ...

News in Brief

Bolivia: On March 27, 2002, prosecutor Alex Alipaz, was stabbed four times by two prisoners while walking through a prison corridor in the San Pedro prison. Alipaz was seriously injured in the attack but survived. Alipaz said he had no idea why he was attacked, and the prisoners weren't ...

California Guards Bust Budget

by W. Wisely

A report released November 27, 2001, by the Bureau of State Audits showed the California Department of Corrections (CDC) spent $87 million more than their annual budget allotted, according to the Sacramento Bee. That money was used to cover excessive overtime and sick leave for prison guards ...