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Prison Legal News: January, 2003

Issue PDF
Volume 14, Number 1

In this issue:

  1. Washington Prison Health Care Substandard (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 5)
  3. Habeas Hints: Procedural Update (p 6)
  4. The Long Silence: Federal Prisoners' Fight to Get the Word Out Reaches Unprintable Extremes (p 8)
  5. Book Review: From Prison to Home (p 10)
  6. North Carolina Jail Fire Kills Eight Prisoners (p 11)
  7. Alabama DOC Quickly Settles Prison Working Conditions Suit (p 12)
  8. Hustler Magazine Survives Arizona Prison Obscenity Test (p 13)
  9. Los Angeles County Settles Overdetention Suits for $27 Million (p 14)
  10. Sexual Assault Violates Eighth Amendment (p 14)
  11. Wackenhut Warden and Six Guards Convicted In New Mexico Prisoner Beatings (p 15)
  12. California's Parole Revocation System Violates Due Process (p 16)
  13. Virginia Guards Acquitted of Assaulting Prisoner (p 17)
  14. Sentence Commuted for Sexually Assaulted New Mexico Prisoner (p 19)
  15. Ninth Circuit Upholds BOP's Prorated Good Time Formula (p 19)
  16. Inartful Pro Se Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Survives Motion to Dismiss (p 20)
  17. Deaf Michigan Prisoner's ADA/RA Suit Survives Dismissal Challenge (p 20)
  18. USPC Parole Revocation Policies Violate Due Process (p 21)
  19. Trial in Prison Violates Oregon's "Public Trial" Guarantee (p 22)
  20. Amendment of Complaint to Identify Unknown Defendant Denied (p 22)
  21. Denial of Wheelchair Claims Survive Summary Judgment (p 23)
  22. PLRA Does Not Apply to Juvenile Facilities; $379,000 Attorney Fees and Costs Awarded (p 24)
  23. Excessive Force and Delaying Medical Treatment Defeats Dismissal (p 25)
  24. Diabetic's Amputation Suit Set for Trial (p 25)
  25. No Immunity for Failing to Protect Murdered Informant; Correctional Industries Employees Are State Actors (p 26)
  26. Colorado Ad-Seg Decisions Subject to Judicial Review (p 26)
  27. 7th Circuit: PLRA Exhaustion Requirements Retroactive; BOP Has Late Grievance Hardship Exception (p 27)
  28. $27,848.30 Award in Texas Jail Slip and Fall Upheld (p 28)
  29. A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual, Fifth Ed. and 2002 Supplement (p 28)
  30. Less Restrictive Alternatives Must Be Considered in Washington Sex Predator Commitments (p 29)
  31. Brutal Jail Conditions Warrant Reduced Federal Prison Sentence (p 29)
  32. News in Brief (p 30)
  33. FLSA Inapplicable to Oklahoma Prisoners in Private Prisons (p 31)
  34. 7th Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity on ETS Claim (p 31)
  35. All Aspects of Inadequate Medical Need Not Be Exhausted (p 32)

Washington Prison Health Care Substandard

When Leland Workman's heart faltered while he was imprisoned at McNeil Island Correction Center, the nurses couldn't find the IV equipment needed to ease his chest and arm pain.

They couldn't find standing orders for managing emergencies when there's no doctor on duty at the island ...

From the Editor

Welcome to the first issue of PLN for 2003. If you have not yet been donated to PLN's annual fund-raiser it is not too late to do so. All donations, large or small, help. Your donations go directly to supporting the work that PLN does. We have several exciting ...

Habeas Hints: Procedural Update

This column is intended to pro-vide habeas hints for prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys. 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 U.S.


PROCEDURAL ...

The Long Silence: Federal Prisoners' Fight to Get the Word Out Reaches Unprintable Extremes

As an aspiring 26-year-old writer with a dark past, Mark Jordan figures he has plenty to tell the world. He has stories about bank robberies, for instance, and the many episodes of violence he's seen in eight years of prison life. And how federal authorities have been trying to ...

Book Review: From Prison to Home

by Jeremy Travis, Amy Solomon and Michelle Waul
Justice Policy Center, the Urban Institute, Washington DC, 2001, 56 pages, paper

Review by Roger Hummel

In a remarkable new book from the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center, the dimensions of prisoner reentry are analyzed and reported in highly readable detail ...

North Carolina Jail Fire Kills Eight Prisoners

A fire in the Mitchell county jail at Bakersville, North Carolina killed eight prisoners on May 3rd. Joey Grindstaff, 23; Mark Thomas, 20; Edmond Banks, 46; Danny Johnson, 42; Jesse Davis, 27; Jeremiah Presnell, 20; Jason Boston, 27; and Tywain Neal, 28 died in the blaze. Two other prisoners were ...

Alabama DOC Quickly Settles Prison Working Conditions Suit

by John E. Dannenberg


On January 8, 2002, a scant two months after being sued, Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC) officials settled a class action complaint filed on behalf of 200 prison workers at the Elmore Correctional Facility who were subject to severely unsanitary and dangerous conditions while working at ...

Hustler Magazine Survives Arizona Prison Obscenity Test

On remand from the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona found that prison officials were misapplying the constitutional obscenity standard and improperly seizing a prisoner's copies of Hustler magazine. Prison officials were ordered to pay $65 in compensatory damages and deliver four issues ...

Los Angeles County Settles Overdetention Suits for $27 Million

by John E. Dannenberg


In the largest legal settlement in its history, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed in May, 2002 to pay $27 million to compensate 400,000 former jail prisoners who had been held on wrong warrants, held beyond their release dates or who had been ...

Sexual Assault Violates Eighth Amendment

A federal district court in Delaware has held, in denying a motion to dismiss, that a sexual assault during an obstetric medical exam violates the Eighth Amendment. Baylor Women's Correctional Facility prisoner Shalnessa Goode sued, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Correctional Medical Services (CMS) nurses Jacqueline A. Nixon ...

Wackenhut Warden and Six Guards Convicted In New Mexico Prisoner Beatings

by Matthew T. Clarke


Six guards and a warden have been convicted in federal court of charges stemming from brutal beatings and subsequent cover up attempts at the 1,200 man Lea County Correctional Facility in Hoots, New Mexico, which holds state prisoners and is privately-run by Wackenhut Corrections Corporation ...

California's Parole Revocation System Violates Due Process

by John E. Dannenberg


In a class action civil rights case, the United States District Court (E.D. Calif.) held that California's parole revocation system violates procedural due process of law because it does not provide for a preliminary hearing to determine if probable cause for a parole hold ...

Virginia Guards Acquitted of Assaulting Prisoner

Three former prison guards were acquitted March 27, 2002 on charges of beating a shackled prisoner at the Wallens Ridge State Prison, a Virginia supermax. Lt. Jeffrey Compton, Sgt. Mathew Hamilton and Michael Bliley were charged with felonious assault and fired after allegations they kicked and beat Thomas Plummer in ...

Sentence Commuted for Sexually Assaulted New Mexico Prisoner

Sentence Commuted For Sexually Assaulted New Mexico Prisoner


On May 30, 2002, New Mexico governor Gary Johnson (R) commuted the sentence of Belinda Dillon, a prisoner at the New Mexico State Women's Correctional Facility. The commutation came after several guards at the Dona County Detention Center, where Dillon was ...

Ninth Circuit Upholds BOP's Prorated Good Time Formula

Ninth Circuit Upholds BOP'S Prorated Good Time Formula


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Bureau of Prisons' (BOPS') application of good time credits on a prorated basis during the final year of confinement is a reasonable interpretation of the federal good time statute.


Federal Prisoner "Francisco ...

Inartful Pro Se Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Survives Motion to Dismiss

Inartful Pro Se Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Survives Motion To Dismiss


The US District Court (S.D. Cal.) held that the inartful pro se pleadings of a California state prisoner were sufficient to exhaust his administrative remedies for purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 USC § 1997e(a), and ...

Deaf Michigan Prisoner's ADA/RA Suit Survives Dismissal Challenge

A Michigan District Court has granted in part and denied in part Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) officials' motion to dismiss a state prisoner's suit against MDOC under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12101, et. seq., and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C ...

USPC Parole Revocation Policies Violate Due Process

by David M. Reutter


A federal district court for the Dis-trict of Columbia has granted injunctive relief to prisoners challenging the United State Parole Commissions (USPC) unconstitutional policies, which unduly delay revocation of parole proceedings.


The USPC assumed the powers, duties, and jurisdiction of the District of Columbia Board of ...

Trial in Prison Violates Oregon's "Public Trial" Guarantee

The Oregon Court of Appeals held that a trial conducted within the confines of a prison that was not open to the public violated Oregon's constitutional guarantee of a public trial.


James Jackson, a prisoner at the Snake River Correctional Institution, (SRCI), was charged with Sodomy in the First ...

Amendment of Complaint to Identify Unknown Defendant Denied

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a Pennsylvania District Court's grant of summary judgment to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PADOC) officials and denial of Plaintiff's motion to amend the suit to substitute a new, named defendant for a previously-unnamed defendant. In so so ruling, the Court ...

Denial of Wheelchair Claims Survive Summary Judgment

A federal court in Massachusetts held that issues of material fact concerning the extent of a prisoner's injuries precluded summary judgment. The court also held that the corrections commissioner was not entitled to qualified immunity related to the denial of a wheelchair and disabled accessible facilities to a handicapped ...

PLRA Does Not Apply to Juvenile Facilities; $379,000 Attorney Fees and Costs Awarded

by David M. Reutter


A federal district court in South Dakota has held the PLRA attorney fees provision does not apply to juvenile facilities, and awarded $379,000 in attorney fees and costs. The court had before it the plaintiff's motion for attorney fees and costs after a Settlement ...

Excessive Force and Delaying Medical Treatment Defeats Dismissal

A federal district court in Rhode Island has denied a prison guard's Motion to Dismiss a prisoner's claim that the guard intentionally slammed a cell door on the prisoner's fingers, and waited over an hour to get the prisoner medical treatment. Rhode Island prisoner Anthony S. Ducally ...

Diabetic's Amputation Suit Set for Trial

A federal district court in Illinois has held a diabetic detainee's claim of deprivation of medical treatment is sufficient to deny the doctor's motion for summary judgment. Cook County Jail pre-trial detainee Andrew Spencer filed a 42 U.S. C. §1983 action alleging on Eighth Amendment violation of ...

No Immunity for Failing to Protect Murdered Informant; Correctional Industries Employees Are State Actors

No Immunity for Failing to Protect Murdered Informant; Correctional Industries Employees Are State Actors


The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity for failing to protect a prisoner who was ultimately murdered by another prisoner. The court also held that Correctional Industries ...

Colorado Ad-Seg Decisions Subject to Judicial Review

The Colorado Court of Appeals held that administrative segregation (ad-seg) placement decisions are subject to judicial review.


Leonard Baldauf, a prisoner of the Colorado Department of Corrections, (CDOC), was placed in adseg and filed a C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4) complaint seeking judicial review of the placement decision ...

7th Circuit: PLRA Exhaustion Requirements Retroactive; BOP Has Late Grievance Hardship Exception

The Seventh Circuit Court of Ap-peals held that the administrative exhaustion provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) apply retroactively.


In October 1995, federal prisoner Anthony McCoy was housed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, (Greenville): an overcrowded medium security facility.


By October 1995, tensions had been ...

$27,848.30 Award in Texas Jail Slip and Fall Upheld

An award of $27,848.30 to a pris-oner who slipped and fell on a food spill in a Texas jail has been upheld by a Texas state court of appeals in an unpublished opinion.


Mickey Caves, a Dallas County (Texas) Jail prisoner, filed suit against Dallas County under the ...

A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual, Fifth Ed. and 2002 Supplement

by Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 2002, 1,593 pages


Reviewed by Paul Wright


The law review staff at Columbia University in New York has published A Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual (JLM) since 1978. Now in its fifth edition, the JLM is an excellent resource, reference guide and how to ...

Less Restrictive Alternatives Must Be Considered in Washington Sex Predator Commitments

The Washington state Supreme Court, sitting en banc, held that the "equal protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions require that less restrictive alternatives (LRAs) to confinement be considered at . . . commitment trials" under RCW 71.09, Washington's Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) statute.


Scott Brooks was convicted on four ...

Brutal Jail Conditions Warrant Reduced Federal Prison Sentence

A federal court judge granted a defendant's request for a reduced prison sentence based upon the abject conditions of pre-sentence confinement in a New York Jail. Elvin Francis came before a U. S. District Court where he pled guilty to illegal re-entry and faced a sentencing range of 46 ...

News in Brief

Alabama: On May 8, 2002, Mobile county sheriff Jack Tillman fired jail warden Kenneth Cooper for making false statements on his job application. Cooper claimed he had graduated from Valdosta State with a bachelor's degree in physical education. School records indicate he never graduated.


Alaska: On November 19, 2002 ...

FLSA Inapplicable to Oklahoma Prisoners in Private Prisons

An Oklahoma appellate court held that the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) does not apply to prisoners in private prisons.


Michael Washington, a prisoner of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, (ODOC), was transferred to the Great Plains Correctional Facility, (GPCF), a private prison operated by Cornell Corrections, Inc., (CCI). While ...

7th Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity on ETS Claim

The Seventh Circuit Court of Ap-peals held that prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity on a claim of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Wisconsin DOC prisoner Chad J. Alvarado brought suit against prison officials alleging an Eighth Amendment violation due to his exposure to ETS while incarcerated ...

All Aspects of Inadequate Medical Need Not Be Exhausted

A federal court in California held that it is not necessary for a prisoner to allege every aspect of inadequate medical care claims in a grievance for purposes of exhausting administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).


On October 14, 1995, Sylvester Gomez, a prisoner of the California ...