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Prison Legal News: August, 2002

Issue PDF
Volume 13, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. News in Brief (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 7)
  3. Ill Treatment on Our Shores (p 8)
  4. New Jersey Goes Online with Sex Offender Website (p 11)
  5. Florida Guards Murder Another Prisoner, Get Another Acquittal (p 12)
  6. No 85% on New Jersey Murder Conviction (p 13)
  7. The Parents' Project (p 14)
  8. Prisoner's Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in The United States and Canada , 2 nd Ed. (p 15)
  9. Officials Netted in Kansas Jail Bribery (p 16)
  10. Courts Retain Power To Grant TROs Under PLRA (p 16)
  11. Washington PDA May Be Used for Pre-Trial Discovery (p 17)
  12. Kansas Sexual Predator Civil Commitment Standards Refined by U.S. Supreme Court (p 17)
  13. Washington Prisoner Attorney Disciplined for Negligence (p 18)
  14. USPC Reverses Stance on HIV Discrimination after Suit Filed (p 18)
  15. Remand Defeats Georgia DOC's Attempted 11th Amendment Immunity Bar (p 19)
  16. Texas Juvenile Jail Suicide Settles for $100,000 (p 19)
  17. BOP Policy Denying Electric Musical Instruments Upheld; Religious Exception Enjoined (p 20)
  18. Statute of Limitation Tolled by Administrative Exhaustion (p 21)
  19. Wisconsin DOC in Contempt for Not Collecting PLRA Fees (p 21)
  20. Motion Accepted as Appeal Notice; Damage Award Set Off Against Costs (p 22)
  21. New Florida Trend: Abuse in a Spray Can (p 22)
  22. Nevada Juvenile Road Accident Kills Six, Settles for $3.5 Million (p 24)
  23. $54,750 Damages Awarded Asthmatic Prisoner in Michigan ETS Suit (p 25)
  24. Court Criticizes PLRA Attorney Fee Cap (p 26)
  25. States Capitulate on Reading Legal Mail (p 26)
  26. Judge Awards $2.8 Million to Victims of CSC Texas Boot Camp Sexual Abuse (p 27)
  27. Oklahoma Jailhouse Informants Settle Failure to Protect Suit for $80,000 (p 27)
  28. Criminal Guards in Texas (p 28)
  29. CCA Conditions Claim Not Frivolous (p 28)
  30. PLRA and AEDPA Have Different Effects on Prisoner Petitions (p 29)
  31. Court Reviewability of California Parole Denials Survives; No Parole Policy Goes to State Supreme Court (p 30)
  32. News in Brief (p 32)

News in Brief

Alaska: On April 11, 2002, Cynthia Cooper, the head prosecutor in the state attorney general's office, resigned after being judicially admonished for pursuing felony charges against a public defender who crashed his car into a light pole. Anchorage prosecutors had agreed to a misdemeanor plea bargain with Wally Tetlow ...

From the Editor

9-11 Immigration Detainees

NJ Sex Offender Website

Florida Guards Acquitted

Parents' Project

S.Ct. on Civil Commitment

$3.5 Million Nevada Settlement

Damages in Michigan Smoking Case

Legal Mail Bans

$2.8 Million TX Boot Camp Award

Texas Guards

California Parole

News in Brief

When people think of the prison ...

Ill Treatment on Our Shores

( On October 24, 2001, Muhammed Butt died of a heart attack at the Hudson County Correctional Center in Kearny, New Jersey. Butt, a Pakistani national, was detained on September 19 by the FBI as a suspect connected with the September 11 attacks. He was then transferred to the Immigration and ...

New Jersey Goes Online with Sex Offender Website

A federal district court in New Jersey has denied sex offender plaintiffs Motion for Preliminary Injunction Relief seeking to prevent implementation of New Jersey's (NJ) Internet sex offender registry, but barred the listing of the offenders' home addresses. On November 7, 2000, NJ's electorate approved a public referendum ...

Florida Guards Murder Another Prisoner, Get Another Acquittal

by David M. Reutter

A state jury has acquitted three Florida prison guards in the murder of death row inmate Frank Valdes. The guards, Captain Timothy Thornton, Sgt. Jason P. Griffis, and Sgt. Charles A. Brown, were exonerated of second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated battery on a prisoner, official ...

No 85% on New Jersey Murder Conviction

The Supreme Court of New Jersey has affirmed an Appellate Division's holding that the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, does not apply to murder. The justices evenly split on this case of statutory construction.

Murder is the only crime for which life ...

The Parents' Project

by Denise Johnston and Michael Carlin

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 25% of the nation's adult population lives with a criminal record for a substantial portion of their lives. The majority of these adults are parents. The Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents estimates ...

Prisoner's Guerrilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in The United States and Canada , 2 nd Ed.

by Jon Marc Taylor, Biddle Publishing Co., 2002, pb. 341 pages

Review by Hans Sherrer

All across the country DOC educational programs available to prisoners are being reduced or eliminated. That dire situation is compounded by the increasing denial of ready access by prisoners to information about outside educational opportunities ...

Officials Netted in Kansas Jail Bribery

A private company, MgtGP Inc., was awarded a $1.5 Million contract in 1997, and a four-year renewal in January 1997 worth $615,000 for that year alone, to run Kansas's Reno County Jail Annex. In May 2001, Reno's Sheriff, Larry Leslie, pled innocent to 34 counts of ...

Courts Retain Power To Grant TROs Under PLRA

The District of Columbia (DC) Court of Appeals has vacated a district court ruling on the merits of a prisoner lawsuit where the district court also found that the prisoner plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit.

Louis Johnson, Isadore Gartrell, Carl Wolfe, and Roddy McDowell are ...

Washington PDA May Be Used for Pre-Trial Discovery

The Washington State Supreme Court held that the Washington Public Disclosure Act (PDA) at RCW § 42.17 et seq, may be used as a pretrial discovery tool to obtain caserelated documents from agencies against whom parties are litigating civil cases.

The issue arose from a civil action filed in the ...

Kansas Sexual Predator Civil Commitment Standards Refined by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court refined its earlier ruling that a sexually violent predator could constitutionally be civilly committed after his criminal sentence had been served by distinguishing sexual misbehavioral impairment classifications into those caused by an uncontrollable mental abnormality and those resulting from volitional acts.

Michael T. Crane was ...

Washington Prisoner Attorney Disciplined for Negligence

by Lonnie Burton

Attorney Jean Scheidler-Brown holds the DOC "free-services" contract to provide legal representation to prisoners incarcerated at McNeil Island Corrections Center (MICC) and the Washington Correction Center for Women, both in Washington state. In April 1997, she agreed to represent MICC prisoner William H. Rayburn in filing an ...

USPC Reverses Stance on HIV Discrimination after Suit Filed

by Deborah M. Golden

In September 2001, the United States Parole Commission (USPC) issued a Notice of Action that, while not precedent, signifies an important policy and a possible way for prisoners to challenge parole decisions. The case arose after the USPC denied parole to a woman because she was ...

Remand Defeats Georgia DOC's Attempted 11th Amendment Immunity Bar

by John E. Dannenberg

The US District Court (M.D. Ga.) remanded a state prisoner 42 USC §1983 medical indifference civil rights suit back to state court because under state law, defendant Georgia Dept. of Corrections (DOC) could not hide behind an Eleventh Amendment immunity bar there.

Prisoner Danny Iler ...

Texas Juvenile Jail Suicide Settles for $100,000

On October 5, 2001, the Denton County Juvenile Detention Center in Texas agreed to a pre lawsuit settlement of $100,000 in the suicide death of Seth Moss. Moss, 15, was being held in the Center as a runaway. Apparently Moss hung himself thinking that he would promptly be found ...

BOP Policy Denying Electric Musical Instruments Upheld; Religious Exception Enjoined

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has upheld the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) policy prohibiting prisoners from using or possessing electric guitars or electronic musical instruments. The court enjoined BOP's exception that permitted electric guitars and electronic musical instruments owned by the Religious Services ...

Statute of Limitation Tolled by Administrative Exhaustion

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals for the has reversed and remanded for a district court to decide, in the first instance, whether the statute of limitations is tolled by a prisoner's satisfaction of the mandatory exhaustion requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Prisoner Arsenio Leal filed ...

Wisconsin DOC in Contempt for Not Collecting PLRA Fees

Wisconsin DOC in Contempt For Not Collecting PLRA Fees

The US District Court (E.D. Wis.) issued an Order to Show Cause to Wisconsin DOC Secretary Jon E. Litscher as to why he should not be held in contempt for declaring he had no further obligation to collect court-ordered filing ...

Motion Accepted as Appeal Notice; Damage Award Set Off Against Costs

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a pro se motion must be accepted as a notice of appeal if it states the intent to appeal, and that a jury's damage award could be set off against a plaintiff's liability for costs awarded to defendants when ...

New Florida Trend: Abuse in a Spray Can

Frank Valdes may have accomplished in death what he could not in life: a decrease in prisoner beatings by guards. The problem of abusive guards, nonetheless, has not disappeared after Valdes's murder. The form of the abuse has progressed to frequent gassings. "Before Valdes, we were getting all kinds ...

Nevada Juvenile Road Accident Kills Six, Settles for $3.5 Million

Six Nevada teenagers in a juvenile offender program working to pay off fees and restitution in lieu of doing time in a detention center were struck and killed in March 2000 as they picked up trash on a freeway median near Las Vegas. The families of those teens have agreed ...

$54,750 Damages Awarded Asthmatic Prisoner in Michigan ETS Suit

by John E. Dannenberg

The U.S. District Court (E.D..) awarded an asthmatic Michigan state prisoner $36,500 in compensatory damages and $18,250 in punitive damages after a bench trial determination that Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) wardens had violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from ...

Court Criticizes PLRA Attorney Fee Cap

by David M. Reutter
( A federal district court for the Eastern District of Michigan (EDM) has held the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) caps attorney fees in prisoner civil rights cases, but criticized that holding. Michigan prisoner Blaine Sallier was awarded damages of $13,000 by a jury for a ...

States Capitulate on Reading Legal Mail

by John E. Dannenberg

The disturbing trend of several states to inspect legal mail outside the presence of the prisoner [see PLN Mar. 2002 "State Prisons Abrogate Attorney Client Privilege"] has begun to crumble under court challenges. Begun under the pretext of postSeptember 11, 2001 security concerns, Massachusetts, Virginia, New ...

Judge Awards $2.8 Million to Victims of CSC Texas Boot Camp Sexual Abuse

Judge Awards $2.8 million to Victims of CSC Texas Boot Camp Sexual Abuse

On March 5, 2001, State District Court Judge Paul Enlow found Correctional Services Corporation (CSC) criminally liable for the actions of two former employees who sexually harassed three women while they were confined in a CSC-operated ...

Oklahoma Jailhouse Informants Settle Failure to Protect Suit for $80,000

Federal prisoners Curtis Sherfield and Hugh Grayson, who were being held at the Oklahoma County jail on federal drug charges, were given a total of $80,000 in December 2001 to settle their lawsuit against the county after they were beaten when other prisoners discovered the two were snitches.

The ...

Criminal Guards in Texas

Four female guards were each freed from Jefferson County Jail on $6,000 bond early in January 2002 after being charged with crimes involving sex with Texas prisoners. The four women were employed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) at the Mark W. Stiles State Prison, a 2 ...

CCA Conditions Claim Not Frivolous

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a Tennessee Federal District Court's dismissal of a prisoner's 42 U.S.C. §1983 claims as frivolous, vacating and remanding part of the lower court's decision with instructions.

David Dellis is a Wisconsin prisoner who was for a time ...

PLRA and AEDPA Have Different Effects on Prisoner Petitions

In a December 2001 special report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, determined that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) have had significant, but differing, effects on the filing rates of prisoner petitions ...

Court Reviewability of California Parole Denials Survives; No Parole Policy Goes to State Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court let stand one appellate court's ruling that the California Board of Prison Terms' (BPT) lifer parole denial decisions were subject to court oversight under a "some evidence" standard, but granted a Petition for Review of (and thereby temporarily vacated) another appellate court's ruling on ...

News in Brief

California: On May 1, 2002, the Wasco State Prison banned all smoking by prisoners at the facility, becoming the second state prison in California to do so. Prison officials claimed it was costing $250,000 a year to reprimand prisoners smoking in non smoking areas and to repair damage to ...