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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: February, 2003

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Volume 14, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. Sex, Drugs, and Beatings at Boston Jails (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 4)
  3. Washington Jail Settles Work Release Suit (p 4)
  4. Connecticut Pays $1,850,000 in Deaths of Two Prisoners Transferred to Virginia (p 5)
  5. U.S. District Court Finds Supermax Placement at Ohio Prison "Atypical and Significant Hardship" (p 6)
  6. Third Circuit Sets High Standard for Supervisory Liability (p 8)
  7. Ninth Circuit Upholds Sanctions Against Idaho DOC Lawyer; DOC Retaliated for Litigation (p 9)
  8. Protecting Your Health and Safety: A Litigation Guide for Inmates (p 10)
  9. Washington Police Scientists' Work Under Scrutiny (p 10)
  10. Washington Jail Sued Over Conditions (p 11)
  11. System Examined in Death of Washington Prisoner (p 12)
  12. Summer Uprisings in Three Southern Jails (p 14)
  13. $15,555 Awarded to Beaten Pennsylvania Prisoner (p 15)
  14. Washington DOC Settles Hep C Death Suit for $1 Million (p 15)
  15. Boston Jail Strip Searches Unconstitutional (p 16)
  16. $10 Million Settlement in Boston Strip Search Suit (p 17)
  17. All California Prisoners Win Upgraded Medical Care (p 18)
  18. Ten Percent Surcharge on New Jersey Commissary Purchases Upheld (p 18)
  19. California Internet Mail Ban Enjoined (p 19)
  20. EMSA and Nevada Jail Pay $40,000 Settlement to Quadriplegic (p 20)
  21. Texas' Historic Ruiz Lawsuit Settled (p 20)
  22. $56.5 Million Jury Verdict in Indiana Jail Murder (p 21)
  23. Conclusory Allegations held Not "Some Evidence" in Prisoner Retaliation Claim (p 22)
  24. Prison Officials Liable for Gang Member's Murder (p 22)
  25. Hawaii SO Notification Law Violates Due Process (p 23)
  26. Failure to Timely Raise Exhaustion Defense Waives that Defense (p 23)
  27. $2.5 Million Settlement, No Immunity for Indiana Jail Strip Search (p 24)
  28. Court Orders Hospitalization for Federal Pretrial Detainee (p 24)
  29. No Probation in Arizona Jail Drug Possession (p 25)
  30. Jury Awards $392,000 for Failure to Protect New York Jail Prisoner (p 25)
  31. South Carolina County Pays $276,660 for Illegal Wiretaps on Judges' Telephones (p 26)
  32. Prisoner's Estate Survives Summary Judgment on Medical Policy Claims (p 26)
  33. Good Time on Alaska CS Sentences Subtracted from Aggregate Sentence (p 27)
  34. Alabama Jail Conditions Unconstitutional, County Liable (p 28)
  35. Ohio Appeals Court Upholds § 1983 Medical Care Claim (p 29)
  36. News in Brief (p 30)
  37. $1 Million New York Jail Beating Settlement (p 32)

Sex, Drugs, and Beatings at Boston Jails

by Matthew T. Clarke

A pattern of sexual abuse, bru-tality, drug smuggling, improper guard/prisoner relationships, and other official malfeasance at the jails in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, has raised serious questions about the leadership abilities of Suffolk County Sheriff Richard J. Rouse.

Sex, Lies, But No Videotape at South Bay

Karen Passanisi, Marcia Smith, Lucy Diaz, Maria Perez, and Anna Marie Turavani, were among the former prisoners at Suffolk County House of Correction, South Bay, who described a lax environment of flirting between prisoners and guards which led to forcible rapes of prisoners by guards, "sanctioned" sex between male and female prisoners, illegal consensual sex between guards and prisoners, and prisoners "loaning" guards money in exchange for favors.

Passanisi, a former escort who had been imprisoned for a drug offense, described how initial flirtation with guard Robert Parise led to his invading her cell and digitally penetrating her while she slept. She awoke to him pulling his hands out-of her pants and immediately ordered him out of her cell. Passanisi, who is represented by attorney Anthony J. Antonellis, filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's department which also accuses Parise of "hogtying" her with earphone wires.

Passanisi also related how ...

From the Editor

PLN's new book, Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America's Poor is now available for distribution from PLN as well as other bookstores and outlets. Edited by myself and Seattle attorney Tara Herivel, Prison Nation is the first book to systematically examine the connection between mass imprisonment and indigent criminal defense. Basically, it answers how 2 million Americans wound up in prison. We also examine how federal laws have been dramatically restricted as a means to challenge both wrongful convictions and inhumane conditions of confinement. Some of the articles have previously appeared in PLN, many have not. It offers a comprehensive look at the biases of the court system and the conditions of confinement for American prisoners.

Tara and I, along with Eric Nelson, our editor at Routledge, put a lot of effort into Prison Nation and we're very pleased with the result. We believe it will be a significant part of PLN's public education work in both letting the general public know about the actual operation of the criminal justice system and also educating prisoners about their reality. Prison Nation makes a great gift too. For prisoners who cannot afford to buy a copy, please encourage ...

Washington Jail Settles Work Release Suit

On April 25, 2002, United States District Judge Barbara J. Rothstein approved a settlement agreement reached between the King County Jail in Kent, Washington, and a class of female prisoners who had sued alleging discriminatory practices in relation to access to work release, good time and trustee programs. The suit ...

Connecticut Pays $1,850,000 in Deaths of Two Prisoners Transferred to Virginia

by John E. Dannenberg

The Connecticut Department of Corrections (CDC) settled two claims in March 2002 totaling $1,850,000 for the wrongful deaths of a mentally ill prisoner and a severely diabetic prisoner who were transferred to a Virginia "supermax" prison solely due to overcrowding in Connecticut. Additionally, one ...

U.S. District Court Finds Supermax Placement at Ohio Prison "Atypical and Significant Hardship"

U.S. District Court Finds Supermax Placement at Ohio Prison "Atypical and Significant Hardship"

by Robert Woodman

In a ruling believed to be the first of its kind, Judge James Gwin of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, found that the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation ...

Third Circuit Sets High Standard for Supervisory Liability

by Matthew T. Clarke

The court of appeals for the Third Circuit has set a very high standard for proving supervisory liability in a case involving a guard who repeatedly sexually assaulted female juvenile prisoners over the course of several years.

Annie Marie Beers-Capitol and Aliya Tate, two former residents ...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Sanctions Against Idaho DOC Lawyer; DOC Retaliated for Litigation

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Ninth Circuit court of appeals upheld the injunctive relief granted against Idaho Department of Corrections (DOC) officials for retaliating against prisoners who filed grievances or litigation. Sanctions awarded against the defendants' attorney were also upheld where he "received, read and used bootlegged copies of legal ...

Protecting Your Health and Safety: A Litigation Guide for Inmates

by Robert Toone, Southern Poverty Law Center, 2002, 328 pages

Review by Paul Wright

The bottom-line for most prisoners is surviving prison. That means staying healthy, getting medical care as needed in a safe environment and not being assaulted by prisoners and staff. Everything else-free speech, religious freedom, disciplinary hearings, etc., is incidental to surviving in the first place. Perhaps recognizing this prioritization of needs is why Protecting Your Health and Safety (PYHS) focuses primarily on medical issues, the right to be free from attack by prisoners and staff and basic conditions of confinement.

The author is a former staff attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights in Georgia who has extensive experience litigating prison and jail cases. The book is written in a clear, straightforward style that is to the point and easy to understand. It focuses on enforcing the Eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by getting adequate medical care, humane living conditions and protection from assault by staff and prisoners, via litigation in the federal courts.

PYSH begins with a very basic overview of prisoners' general civil rights in prison and then moves into a detailed discussion on the right to ...

Washington Police Scientists' Work Under Scrutiny

Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) is undertaking a review of cases in which Washington State Patrol scientists Arnold Melnikoff and Michael Hoover conducted forensic testing or offered expert testimony.

It was recently revealed that Melnikoff engaged in scientific fraud during his tenure as the director and hair examiner for the Montana State Crime Laboratory during the 1980's. Melnikoff's false testimony about hair comparisons led to at least two wrongful convictions of factually innocent men in Montana. The most recent exoneration involved Jimmy Ray Bromgard. Mr. Bromgard was released from prison on September 30, 2002, when DNA testing established his innocence. He had served 15 years of his 40-year sentence.

Melnikoff served as the director of the Montana State crime laboratory from 1970 to 1989. He then moved to the Washington State Patrol, working briefly in the Kelso office before moving to the Spokane office. At least initially, it appears that his work in Washington was restricted to drug analysis and site inspections at alleged clandestine drug labs. Melnikoff's work is undergoing an audit by the Washington State Patrol, in conjunction with IPNW and the Innocence Project at Cardozo Law School.

Michael Hoover, a chemist with the Washington State ...

Washington Jail Sued Over Conditions

On February 25, 2002, a county jail prisoner in Port Hadlock, Washington brought a class action lawsuit against the Jefferson County jail alleging near barbaric jail conditions that include inadequate health care, frigidly cold cells, broken plumbing, flooding, and inadequate clothing and bedding.

The prisoner who filed the suit, Shawn Orndorff, is being represented by attorneys Aaron H. Caplan and David C. Fathi of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington and the National Prison Project. The suit was filed in federal district court in Tacoma and has been certified as a class action.

The defendants in the suit, Jefferson County, Jefferson County Sheriff Peter G. Piccini, Superintendent of Corrections Carla Schuck, and jail sergeant Steve Richmond, are all accused of subjecting the prisoners at the jail to actual or imminent harm from the lack of "adequate medical, dental, and mental health care," as well as "physical violence" and "inadequate environmental health and sanitation" conditions. The suit further alleges that prisoners are being denied proper access to the courts, and are denied all access to books, magazines and newspapers.

Orndorff, who at the time the suit was filed was serving a sentence on one charge and awaiting trial on another ...

System Examined in Death of Washington Prisoner

By the time the guard helped him, the 32-year-old burglar's eyes and skin glowed yellow. Curled up on his metal bunk at McNeil Island Correctional Center, Phillip Montgomery's lanky, athletic body lay weak from days of pain and vomiting.

A nurse refused to even look at the prisoner, according to the guard's testimony. Other health workers had turned him away hours earlier.

But the guard could see what they missed.

Montgomery, son of a Pentecostal bishop and father of two young girls, was hours from death.

His family says the prison's mistakes amounted to a death sentence. And today, that large University Place family hopes that its wrongful-death lawsuit, originally set for an October 2002 trial, will force the state to finally address years of warnings that holes in prison health care threaten prisoners, prison staffers and taxpayers.

Over the past five years, the state has spent more than $1.26 million in judgments, settlements and damage claims stemming from poor prison health care, according to the state Office of Risk Management.

Although the state denies medical malpractice in the Montgomery suit and points blame at Montgomery and the nearby Tacoma hospital where he died nearly ...

Summer Uprisings in Three Southern Jails

As temperatures rose last summer, so did tensions in some southern jails.

Guards at the Craighead County jail in Jonesboro, Arkansas, used tear gas and stun guns to regain control of a cell block that housed 27 prisoners. Four prisoners received minor injuries during the May 7, 2002, incident and were transported to a nearby hospital. The takeover, which began after guards started a search for drugs and contraband, lasted approximately 45 minutes.

An apparent cell block takeover on August 6, 2002, involving 40 to 45 prisoners at the Talladega County Jail in Talladega, Alabama began while the jail was already locked down due to a smaller uprising earlier in the day. The earlier incident resulted in four guards being slightly injured and taken to a local hospital. The jail, which was designed to hold 120 prisoners, presently holds about 200.

Over 100 prisoners took control of Bellwood Detention Center, an adjunct of the Fulton County Jail in Georgia, after guards attempted to turn off a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys because it was "rack time." The August 24, 2002, incident, which began between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m., ended peacefully around 4 ...

$15,555 Awarded to Beaten Pennsylvania Prisoner

On July 15, 2002, a federal jury awarded $15,555 to prisoner Corey Jones. Jones was a minimum security state prisoner who was subpoenaed to testify at a hearing in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Jones was shackled and handcuffed when he had an exchange with county sheriff's deputy Howard Seddon ...

Washington DOC Settles Hep C Death Suit for $1 Million

Washington DOC Settles HEP C Death Suit for $1 Million

On October 30, 2002 the Washington Department of Corrections agreed to pay $1 million to the family of Philip Montgomery to settle a wrongful death suit filed by his survivors. Montgomery had hepatitis C and died from a lack of ...

Boston Jail Strip Searches Unconstitutional

by John E. Dannenberg

A Boston City Police Department (BPD) policy of invasive and degrading strip-searching of all female detainees, regardless of the cause of their detention, while not similarly treating male detainees, violated the unreasonable search provisions of the Fourth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The City of Boston was accordingly found liable for unspecified damages.

Bronwyn Ford was arrested and booked by BPD on a defective default warrant (for allegedly failing to pay a $250 restitution fee); whereupon she was subjected to two strip searches and a visual body cavity search at the Berkeley Street lockup. She alleged that the searches were excessive and humiliating because she was required to strip completely naked, lift her breasts so jail officials could inspect underneath them, and spread her buttock cheeks. After one night in jail, she was released by the court when it was determined that the warrant was issued in error because the fee had in fact been paid.

The principal constitutional questions brought in US District Court (D. Mass.) by Ford and the class of all other female BPD detainees were that such thorough searches were excessive when applied to all detainees, regardless ...

$10 Million Settlement in Boston Strip Search Suit

On July 8, 2002, both Suffolk County and the City of Boston entered into a settlement agreement to pay $10 million for violating the equal protection rights of female detainees at the Suffolk County Jail who, unlike similarly situated male detainees, were strip-searched when being booked. The settlement includes costs ...

All California Prisoners Win Upgraded Medical Care

by John E. Dannenberg

On January 25, 2002, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) entered into a settlement in a class action lawsuit that will upgrade medical care for 157,000 prisoners at all 33 California state prisons. Following the recent cluster of deaths of eight female prisoners and persistent complaints dating back 15 years, the settlement requires the state's substandard care to meet minimum requirements of the Eighth Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment clause. The plaintiffs' attorneys said the new approach should address one of the biggest complaints - the state's failure to monitor prisoners with chronic illnesses. Phased in over seven years, the expected annual costs will grow from $21 million in the first year to $122 million by the seventh year.

Filed under 42 USC § 1983, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA), the US District Court (ND Calif.) class action lawsuit not only requires specific performance but also sets forth auditing procedures and quarterly tours at each institution by plaintiff's counsel and court appointed medical consultants. The audit process shall require visiting of housing units and medical facilities, and shall include reviews of prisoner administrative appeals ...

Ten Percent Surcharge on New Jersey Commissary Purchases Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a district court's dismissal of New Jersey prisoners' challenge to a 10 percent surcharge on state prison and jail commissary purchases.

In January 1998, the New Jersey legislature passed the Violent Crimes Compensation Board Surcharge Act (VCCB Surcharge) which required every commissary in state and county correctional facilities to collect a 10 percent surcharge on the sales price of every item sold. Junior Myrie and Norwood White, both New Jersey prisoners, separately filed suits in U.S. District Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 complaining that the VCCB Surcharge violated the double jeopardy, ex post facto, bill of attainder, and excessive fines clauses as well as the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. After the district court dismissed these claims, a consolidated appeal followed.

The Third Circuit concluded that the VCCB Surcharge is not a "punishment" in the constitutional sense and, because the surcharge scheme was a civil rather than a criminal remedy, the double jeopardy, ex post facto, and bill of attainder protections of the U.S. Constitution did not apply.

Appellants' excessive fines argument was also defeated on the ...

California Internet Mail Ban Enjoined

by John E. Dannenberg

The US District Court (N.D. Cal.) issued a permanent injunction against the California Department of Corrections' (CDC) policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving mail that contains Internet-generated information.

Frank Clement, a prisoner at Pelican Bay State Prison (CDC's "supermax"), sued CDC and several named employees under 42 USC § 1983 alleging Eighth Amendment violations for delay in diagnosing/treating his colon cancer and for improper rejection of his claim for medically-needed tennis shoes. Additionally, he alleged a First Amendment violation for rejection of his incoming mail solely because its source was apparently from the Internet. Summary judgment was entered against Clement on the colon cancer claim because he failed to demonstrate harm from any delays. And because he had previous litigated the tennis shoe issue unsuccessfully in state court, he was barred by res judicata from bringing it again in federal court.

The Internet mail issue had also been previously litigated unsuccessfully in state court - but not by Clement. (See: In re Aaron Collins, 86 Cal.App.4th 1176 (2001) [PLN 2002].) Therefore, res judicata did not bar Clement's federal complaint.

To analyze the First Amendment issue, the court applied the four part test ...

EMSA and Nevada Jail Pay $40,000 Settlement to Quadriplegic

In April, 2002, Robert Cornwall, 30, a quadriplegic, settled a lawsuit against the Washoe county jail in Nevada for $40,000. The lawsuit stemmed from Cornwall being arrested on domestic violence charges against his wife on July 25, 2000. Cornwall spent the night in the Washoe county jail. Cornwall has ...

Texas' Historic Ruiz Lawsuit Settled

by Donna Brorby and Meredith Martin Rountree

One of the biggest prison class actions of our time is over. As appeals by both sides were pending in the Fifth Circuit, the historic Ruiz class action lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was dismissed by agreement of the ...

$56.5 Million Jury Verdict in Indiana Jail Murder

On May 9, 2002, a federal jury in Indiana awarded $56.5 million dollars in damages to the estate of a jail detainee who was beaten to death by jail guards. This is believed to be the largest jury verdict in Indiana history. On October 5, 1997, Christopher Moreland, 30 ...

Conclusory Allegations held Not "Some Evidence" in Prisoner Retaliation Claim

Conclusory Allegations Held Not "Some Evidence" in Prisoner Retaliation Claim

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that conclusory statements referencing investigative reports not in the record cannot be used by prison officials as "some evidence" to show that official disciplinary actions against a prisoner were for actual violation of a prison rule. In so holding, the appeals court partly reversed a district court's grant of summary judgment to officials of the Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC).

Edward Allen Moore is a MODOC prisoner. In 1996 and 1997, Moore was thrice investigated, infracted, and placed in Temporary Administrative Segregation Confinement (TASC) for alleged violations of MODOC rules regarding illegal drug use. One charge was that Moore conspired to smuggle drugs in through visits. Moore was given a polygraph test that MODOC claimed he failed but that Moore claimed he passed. Moore filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against various MODOC officials for several constitutional rights violations. Against Investigators Sam Plaster and David Williams, Moore charged that his rules infractions and TASC placement were in retaliation for Moore's grievances and civil actions against Investigator Plaster. The district court granted summary judgment to all defendants on all ...

Prison Officials Liable for Gang Member's Murder

A federal court in Connecticut de-nied prison officials qualified immunity in an action arising from the murder of a gang member by his cellmate while housed in a Close Custody unit.

Juan Rodriguez, a prisoner of the Connecticut Department of Corrections, (CDOC) and a member of the Latin Kings gang, was designated a Security Risk Group Safety Threat Member (SRGSTM) and confined in a Close Custody unit designed to manage gang members.

CDOC rules mandate that prisoners in the Close Custody program are not to be assigned to share cells with rival gang members until they reach Phase II of the three-phase program. While in Phase I, however, Rodriguez was celled with Rushein Davis, also a Phase I prisoner, who was a member of the Nation gang.

On November 3, 1997, Davis beat Rodriguez to death during a fight in their cell. Several other prisoners reported that there were sounds of an altercation up to 30 minutes before guards responded to Davis yelling to be let out of his cell. Prisoners alleged that guards did not hear the fight because they were watching a prisoner's television. They also alleged that guards delayed responding once they heard Davis yell because ...

Hawaii SO Notification Law Violates Due Process

The Hawaii Supreme Court held that the state's sex offender notification law violates the due process clause of the Hawaii Constitution by providing public notification without any procedural safeguards.

Eto Bani pled no contest to Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree. The court ordered Bani, as part of his sentence, to register as a sex offender, pursuant to Hawaii's sex offender registration and notification law. Bani appealed, arguing that the registration and notification requirements violated various provisions of both the Hawaii and United States Constitutions, including the right to: procedural due process; the right to privacy; the right to equal protection of the law; and the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The Court addressed only Bani's claim that the statute violated the due process clause of the Hawaii Constitution.

Finding that there "is nothing inherent in the act of registering that imposes on any of Bani's protected liberty interests" the Court concluded that the registration provision did not violate due process. Turning to the notification provisions, the Court found that the statute's public disclosure provisions "can adversely affect an offender's personal and professional life, employability, associations with neighbors, and choice of housing." Citing ...

Failure to Timely Raise Exhaustion Defense Waives that Defense

Failure To Timely Raise Exhaustion Defense Waives That Defense

In a successful class-action 42 USC § 1983 civil rights complaint brought by seriously mentally ill Wisconsin Supermax prisoners for injunctive relief [see 164 F.Supp.2d 1096], prison official defendants' motion to lately require all class members to have first exhausted their administrative remedies was denied by the U.S. District Court.

Dennis Jones'El was one of six seriously mentally ill prisoners for whom the court had ordered preliminary injunctive relief from debilitating prison conditions that exacerbated their mental illnesses [PLN, April 2002]. As a last-ditch defense prior to a scheduled hearing on the injunction, defendants asserted a late claim under 42 USC § 1997e(a) (Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)) that the prisoners had not exhausted their administrative remedies.

The court first decided that because the defendants had not timely responded to plaintiff's amended complaint with such a motion, they had waived the right to assert such a defense at all.

Next noting that only two of the six class member plaintiffs had personally exhausted such remedies, the court went on to hold that in any event it would not be necessary for every class member to have personally ...

$2.5 Million Settlement, No Immunity for Indiana Jail Strip Search

A federal district court in Indiana granted summary judgment to jail arrestees who were improperly administered strip searches, and denied qualified immunity to the sheriffs. This was a class action suit brought by Mindy Doan under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the former Sheriff, Leland Watson, and current Sheriff ...

Court Orders Hospitalization for Federal Pretrial Detainee

A federal court in Maryland held that a federal pretrial detainee was entitled to be transferred to a hospital or infirmary for the duration of his pretrial detention due to inadequate medical care while in custody of U.S. Marshals.

Trevor Wallen, a federal pretrial detainee, had numerous medical problems including high blood pressure, depression, and the after affects of the removal of a brain tumor. He regularly required a variety of prescription medications.

During his arraignment, Wallen complained of inadequate medical care while in the Marshal's custody. The court ordered the production of Wallen's medication records, which indicated that all medications had been dispensed to Wallen at the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center (MCAC). However, the Marshals confirmed that Wallen was actually housed at the University of Maryland Hospital during the time in question, "and, therefore, contrary to the MCAC medical record, he could not have received his medication at MCAC on those dates."

"With developing doubts about the veracity of the medical record keepers at MCAC (and with a derivative of concern about the quality of care being delivered by medical providers who apparently did not keep accurate medication records), the Court temporarily . . . ordered that [Wallen] be ...

No Probation in Arizona Jail Drug Possession

The Arizona court of appeals held that Proposition 200, which mandates probation for drug possession offenses, does not apply to drug possessions that occur in detention facilities. Edwin Roman was convicted of promoting prison contraband and possessing dangerous drugs after guards in the Maricopa county jail in Phoenix, Arizona, found 27 milligrams of methamphetamine in his possession. Roman was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 4-1/2 years in prison for promoting prison contraband and given a three-year concurrent sentence for possessing dangerous drugs.

The appeals court rejected Roman's argument that Proposition 200 mandated a probation sentence. The law, codified at 8 Section 13-901.01(A), states: "Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any person who is convicted of the personal possession or use of a controlled substance as defined in § 36-2501 is eligible for probation." The court noted that Proposition 200 did not include promoting prison contraband in its definition of crimes requiring probation.

"Proposition 200 applies to drug possession offenses that occur in the community, not in jail or prison, while promoting prison contraband deals specifically with individuals who are incarcerated in the control of a correctional facility.... Proposition 200 does not mandate probation for the ...

Jury Awards $392,000 for Failure to Protect New York Jail Prisoner

A federal district court in New York has denied a guard's motion seeking judgment as a matter of law, or for a new trial after a jury awarded a prisoner $392,000 total damages for the guard's failure to protect the prisoner from a serious risk of injury ...

South Carolina County Pays $276,660 for Illegal Wiretaps on Judges' Telephones

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a federal district court's $276,660 damage award to South Carolina state court judges who alleged that Greenville County law enforcement officers ran unlawful wiretaps on their telephones and recorded their conversations for 4 years.

In 1994, Greenville ...

Prisoner's Estate Survives Summary Judgment on Medical Policy Claims

A federal district court in Michigan held that issues of fact as to whether prison officials adopted a policy discouraging necessary health care precluded summary judgment.

Roscoe Young was incarcerated in a prison of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) from March 1999 until his death on November 10, 1999. He suffered from diabetes and other physical ailments. As early as June 1999, Young developed a staph infection. He was routinely deprived of the proper administration and dosage of his insulin required to control his diabetes. He was eventually transferred to a hospital where he suffered acute renal failure and sepsis.

On October 14, 1999, an urgent nephrology consult was requested. But the director of Correctional Medical Services (CMS) denied the request on October 18, 1999. The request was later approved and scheduled for November 12, 1999. On October 21, 1999, Young was transferred to another hospital where he underwent various surgical procedures and he died from a debilitating stroke on November 10, 1999.

Reverend Willie Young, Roscoe's personal representative, filed suit against the various prison officials including Bill Martin, the director of MDOC. He claimed that defendants' failure to authorize the necessary, life-saving treatment caused Roscoe's premature ...

Good Time on Alaska CS Sentences Subtracted from Aggregate Sentence

The Alaska Court of Appeals held that good time credits for prisoners serving consecutive sentences are subtracted from the entire sentence rather than against each separate sentence. The court also held that prisoners serving more than one sentence receive the benefit of good time credits and are released on mandatory parole only after serving two-thirds of the aggregate sentence.

In 1993 Willie Jackson was convicted of three drug offenses and sentenced to 3 years in prison with 18 months suspended. He was released from prison on August 1, 1994 and began serving three years of probation.

In June 1995, Jackson was convicted of another drug offense and sentenced to 2 years in prison. He was then convicted of three more offenses, occurring in August 1995, for which he was sentenced to a composite sentence of 3 years, 45 days.

On February 5, 1996, Jackson's 1993 probation was revoked and he was ordered to serve one (1) year concurrent with, and six (6) months consecutive to, the 3 year, 45 day sentence.

Jackson was released on discretionary parole on February 17, 1999, and he filed an application for post-conviction relief claiming that the Department of Corrections (DOC) miscalculated his sentence ...

Alabama Jail Conditions Unconstitutional, County Liable

by David M. Reutter

The Court of Appeals for the Elev-enth Circuit has held, in a case with protracted litigation resulting in three opinions of the Court, that the conditions of the Butler County Jail in Greenville, Alabama are so atrocious that Sheriff Diane Harris, the Butler County Commission, and Butler County can be held liable for the injuries incurred by pretrial detainees Joe Marsh and Leroy Owens. Marsh and Owens claim the injuries they suffered, although arising from distinct incidents, were caused by the same jail conditions and practices.

The Butler County Jail is a two-story building constructed in 1929 and 1930. By 1996, because the County failed to maintain the facility over the years, the building was in an extremely dilapidated and poor condition. Sewage leaked from overhead pipes. Sinks and toilets were inoperable, trash was strewn everywhere, windows were cracked and could not be closed, and there exists infestation of vermin and insects. The cell locks on the second floor were inoperable and prisoners freely roamed the floor.

On July 2, 1996 Marsh was lying on his bunk when four prisoners entered his cell challenging him to fight. When Marsh refused, he was struck with a pipe ...

Ohio Appeals Court Upholds § 1983 Medical Care Claim

Ohio Appeals Court Upholds § 1983 Medical Care Claim

Ohio's Fourth District Court of Appeals has partially reversed the dismissal of an Ohio prisoner's 42 U.S.C. §1983 complaint filed in state court. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DORC) prisoner Dale Baker was housed at Orient Correctional Institution (OCI), one of two "skilled nursing" facilities operated by DORC. [Note: OCI has since closed.] Baker suffers from a debilitating, progressive genetic disease known as "Charcot-Marie-Tooth" (CMT), which includes muscle wasting, loss of sensation, and high-arched feet.

Baker sued OCI and various OCI and DORC officials in the Court of Common Pleas of Pickaway County, Ohio (where OCI is sited) under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Baker complained that he suffered prolonged physical pain by OCI doctor Oppong's repeated refusal, against an orthopedist's recommendation, to provide him with correct orthopedic shoes and leg braces; that Dr. Oppong denied him proper medical treatment for a broken foot, also against an orthopedist's recommendation, resulting in extreme pain and open sores; and that Dr. Oppong retaliated against him for using the DORC grievance procedure.

In an amended complaint, Baker also sued OCI official Gary Brunton and others because Baker ...

News in Brief

Arkansas: In early January, 2003, Little Rock district court judge Rodney Owens, 55, resigned from the bench a day after he qualified for a state pension. Owens was convicted in July, 2002, of registering a motor home at a fictional address in Oregon to avoid paying state sales tax in Arkansas. As part of the conviction he was fined around $10,000, including penalties and taxes. Owens had fought efforts to remove him from the bench until he qualified for his pension after being a judge for ten years.

Arkansas: On November 12, 2002, federal prison guards Shannon L. Hendrikson, 36, and Charles Troup Jr., 25, were arrested and charged in St. Francis county district court with two counts of possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute near a school. Both men were employed as prison guards at the Forrest City Federal Correctional Institution. Local police, postal inspectors and the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector general were involved in the investigation and arrest. Police recovered 2.2 grams of cocaine and 40 grams of marijuana during the arrest.

Florida: On December 11, 2002, James Barrow, 58, a guard at the Okaloosa county jail in Crestview was ...

$1 Million New York Jail Beating Settlement

On April 19, 2002, Nassau County, New York, agreed to pay $1 million to Gary Boylan who was seriously beaten by jail guards after being falsely charged with attempted to lure a six year old girl into his car. Boylan, 52, suffers from Parkinson's disease. In 1997 Boylan had ...


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