Skip navigation

Prison Legal News: April, 2003

Issue PDF
Volume 14, Number 4

In this issue:

  1. Statutes Affecting Disabled Prisoners (p 1)
  2. Florida Jury Awards $390,000 Over Defective Prison-Produced Chair (p 4)
  3. Florida PLN Writer Settles Retaliation Suit for $3,000 (p 5)
  4. Prison Labor Losing Popularity in Oregon (p 6)
  5. From the Editor (p 7)
  6. Pro Se Tips and Tactics (p 8)
  7. PLN Settles Oregon Censorship Suit for $55,414.31 (p 10)
  8. Interest on Washington Restitution Cannot Be Suspended (p 10)
  9. Texas Grants Prisoners Right to Forensic DNA Testing (p 11)
  10. Sole Washington Woman Civil Commitment Taxes System (p 12)
  11. Wyoming Jail Must Disclose Suicide Prevention Critique (p 12)
  12. Rehabilitation Act, Title II of ADA, Held Unconstitutional (p 13)
  13. Delay in MAP Implementation Violates Washington Law (p 14)
  14. PI Issued in Arizona Internet Communications Ban (p 14)
  15. California Approves Forced DNA Extractions (p 15)
  16. Forced DNA Sampling of California Prisoners Upheld (p 15)
  17. Murder, Mayhem, Corruption and Snitches: BOP Florence Exposed (p 16)
  18. Arizona Guards Continue to Rape Prisoners (p 20)
  19. New Jersey Jail Guards Awarded $1.2 Million Following Retaliation for Protesting Jail Conditions (p 20)
  20. California Guards Convicted of Arranging Prison Beatings, New Conspiracy Accusations Leveled (p 21)
  21. Georgia Parole Board's "90% Policy" Ruled Ex Post Facto (p 22)
  22. $400,000 Jury Award in Illinois Ruptured Appendix Suit (p 23)
  23. PLRA Requires More Than De Minimus Physical Injury (p 24)
  24. Property Use Versus Non-Use Texas Tort Claim Standard Explained in Medical Death Claim (p 24)
  25. Idaho Free Speech Claim Reinstated, Voluntary Dismissal Clarified (p 25)
  26. State Tolling Statute Applied in § 1983 Action (p 26)
  27. Warden, Security Director Liable for Iowa Guard's Sexual Assault of Prisoner, $45K Verdict Upheld (p 26)
  28. Vermont DOC Must Comply with APA for Rule Changes in Furlough Program (p 27)
  29. Book Review: Law and the Rise of Capitalism (p 27)
  30. $4.47 Million in Washington Negligent Supervision Settlements and Verdicts (p 28)
  31. Failure to Allege Imminent Threat Precludes Justification Defenses in BOP Weapons Prosecution (p 29)
  32. News in Brief (p 30)

Statutes Affecting Disabled Prisoners

In the past couple of years, there have been a number of changes to federal statutes that provide protections to those confined with disabilities. This article discusses those changes. Additional rights that the disabled may have under federal and state constitutional provisions, such as the Eighth Amendment right to be ...

Florida Jury Awards $390,000 Over Defective Prison-Produced Chair

A Pinellas County (Florida) jury
found that an office chair assembled by the Florida DOC's prison industries was defective, and the proximate cause of a state office worker's injuries. The jury awarded the woman $390,000 in damages; however, the recovery was capped at $100,000 by Florida ...

Florida PLN Writer Settles Retaliation Suit for $3,000

by David M. Reutter

A 42 U. S. C. § 1983 action filed in a Florida State Court alleging retaliatory job changes for the filing of grievances and lawsuits that challenged the general living conditions at Glades Correctional Institution (GCI) has been settled for $3,000. In June 1993, David Reutter ...

Prison Labor Losing Popularity in Oregon

Since the 19th century prisoners
in Oregon have literally labored under a policy that insisted prisoners should work as hard as taxpayers. But the prevailing philosophy is falling prey to fiscal realities. Oregon's evaporating economy has enhanced employment concerns among its citizens, even as prison employment prospers. Oregon's ...

From the Editor

From The Editor

by Paul Wright

Beginning with this issue of PLN there will be some changes in the law articles. Due to the limited space we have for news and law articles and the ongoing growth in prison and jail related cases being decided by the courts, we are ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics

If you are litigating or planning a case in federal court against state prison officials, it is very important to be clear about what rights you are asserting and what relief you are requesting. Federal courts are not allowed to simply order states to comply with all federal laws that ...

PLN Settles Oregon Censorship Suit for $55,414.31

On January 29, 2003, the Oregon
Department of Corrections (DOC) agreed to settle a censorship lawsuit filed by Prison Legal News by paying $39,914.31 in fees and costs and $15,500 in damages and changing its policies concerning the processing and censorship of prisoner mail. On April 2 ...

Interest on Washington Restitution Cannot Be Suspended

In a brief ruling, a Washington state appeals court held that trial courts lack the statutory authority to suspend the accrual of interest on court ordered restitution. Dean Claypool pled guilty to second degree assault charges and, in addition to a prison sentence, was ordered to pay unspecified legal financial ...

Texas Grants Prisoners Right to Forensic DNA Testing

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Texas state legislature has enacted what may be the most pro-prisoner post-conviction DNA testing entitlement law in the country. Codified at Chapter 64 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the law gives any convicted person the right to submit a motion for DNA testing ...

Sole Washington Woman Civil Commitment Taxes System

Since 1997, when a court deemed her too dangerous to live in society, Laura McCollum has remained the lone female prisoner at Washington's civil commitment center for sexually-violent predators on the grounds of the state's women's' prison near Purdy. McCollum, 43, who has been confined in an ...

Wyoming Jail Must Disclose Suicide Prevention Critique

The Wyoming Supreme Court has held that the Wyoming Public Records Act (WPRA) requires that state's jails to disclose to the press reports evaluating jail suicide prevention procedures.

In 1998, prisoner suicide attempts increased in the county jail in Laramie, Wyoming. Laramie County Sheriff, Roger Allsop, requested an evaluation ...

Rehabilitation Act, Title II of ADA, Held Unconstitutional

In two separate rulings the courts of appeal for the Fourth and Fifth Circuits have held that section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA), 29 U.S.C. §794(a), and, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §12312, do not validly abrogate states ...

Delay in MAP Implementation Violates Washington Law

The Washington State Court of Appeals held that the Washington parole board (Board) violated statutes and its own procedures by imposing a Mutual Agreement Program (MAP) with no time frame. The court also held that the Board must clarify a prisoner's right to accrual of good time before and ...

PI Issued in Arizona Internet Communications Ban

by John E. Dannenberg

On December 16, 2002, the U.S. District Court (D. Ariz.) granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction (PI) enjoining the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) from enforcing laws arising from Arizona House Bill 2376 (HB 2376) - an enactment banning Internet-generated communications with prisoners - pending a ...

California Approves Forced DNA Extractions

California's Governor Gray Davis authorized the use of force to take DNA samples from state prisoners, when he signed Senate Bill 1242 into law on Sept. 17, 2002.

Existing California Penal Code §§ 296, 296.1 and 296.2 codify the requirement and procedure for taking DNA samples from specified ...

Forced DNA Sampling of California Prisoners Upheld

The California Court of Appeals upheld the California Department of Corrections (CDC) procedure of forcibly collecting blood and saliva DNA samples from prisoners convicted of specified violent crimes, including capital murder. Rejecting the privacy claims of eight women on Death Row, the court ruled that CA Penal Code (PC) §295 ...

Murder, Mayhem, Corruption and Snitches: BOP Florence Exposed

Located in the gently rolling hills of Southern Colorado, dotted with juniper, poplar and cedar trees, Florence is a quiet, small town that was once a prison town without a prison. At just over 5,000 town residents, Florence shares its view of the Sangre de Christo mountain range with ...

Arizona Guards Continue to Rape Prisoners

Two guards at Arizona's Perryville prison are facing numerous charges, substantiated by internal investigations, of sexual misconduct with prisoners.

Derrick Renard Allen was indicted in late April 2002 by a state grand jury on 8 counts of sexual assault and 2 counts of smuggling contraband into the prison; he ...

New Jersey Jail Guards Awarded $1.2 Million Following Retaliation for Protesting Jail Conditions

On April 10, 2002, a federal jury in New Jersey awarded four Atlantic County Jail guards $300,000 each for retaliation taken against them after they publicly protested unsafe jail conditions.

In May, 1997, Edward Clopp, Noriss Justis, Robert Reid Murie, and Iris Quezergue, guards at the Gerard L. Gormeley ...

California Guards Convicted of Arranging Prison Beatings, New Conspiracy Accusations Leveled

by Marvin Mentor

On May 15, 2002, a federal criminal jury convicted two Pelican Bay State Prison (CA) guards of violating the civil rights of eight prisoners whom they conspired to have beaten and stabbed - two fatally; And in a civil trial ensuing from one prisoner's death, new accusations ...

Georgia Parole Board's "90% Policy" Ruled Ex Post Facto

Georgia Parole Board's "90% Policy" Ruled Ex Post Facto

by John E. Dannenberg

The United States District Court (N.D. Ga.) held that the retroactive application by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles ("Board") of its 1998 policy revision requiring specified violent felons to now do 90% (rather ...

$400,000 Jury Award in Illinois Ruptured Appendix Suit

In April, 2002, a federal jury in East St. Louis, Illinois, awarded $400,000 in damages to former prisoner David Sherrod, finding that Illinois Department of Corrections medical staff had shown deliberate indifference to his medical needs by failing to treat a ruptured appendix. In March, 1995, Sherrod was at ...

PLRA Requires More Than De Minimus Physical Injury

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that 42 U.S.C. §1997e(e) requires a prisoner demonstrate more than de minimus physical injury to receive compensatory damages for mental and emotional claims. Pre-trial detainee Eric Oliver filed a civil rights action alleging he endured overcrowded and "dehumanizing" conditions ...

Property Use Versus Non-Use Texas Tort Claim Standard Explained in Medical Death Claim

by Matthew T. Clarke

The Texas Supreme Court (TSC) has held that using pain medication to fatally mask meningitis symptoms was not a "use" of tangible state property within the meaning of the Texas Tort Claims Act, § 101.021(2) (TTCA).

The surviving spouse and children of a Texas prisoner ...

Idaho Free Speech Claim Reinstated, Voluntary Dismissal Clarified

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that factual issues precluded summary judgment on a prisoner's free speech claim and that dismissal with prejudice of his remaining claims was an abuse of discretion.

Idaho prison regulations require prisoners to shave daily. A guard ordered prisoner Christopher Hargis to shave ...

State Tolling Statute Applied in § 1983 Action

by John E. Dannenberg

The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that an underlying state tolling statute applied to a state prisoner's 42 USC § 1983 civil rights complaint, thus giving him time to complete his administrative grievance process as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA ...

Warden, Security Director Liable for Iowa Guard's Sexual Assault of Prisoner, $45K Verdict Upheld

Affirming the judgments of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the jury verdict and the denial of post-trial motions in a case awarding compensatory and punitive damages to a female prisoner sexually assaulted by a guard.

Pamela Riley ...

Vermont DOC Must Comply with APA for Rule Changes in Furlough Program

The Vermont Supreme Court has held that the state's Department of Corrections (DOC) must comply with the Vermont Administrative Procedure Act (APA) before it implements and enforces any rule changes. This was a class-action suit represented by Jeff Sworkin of the Prisoner Rights unit in the Defender Generals Office ...

Book Review: Law and the Rise of Capitalism

by Michael E. Tigar & Madeleine R. Levy, New (2000) Edition by Michael E. Tigar, Monthly Review Press, 348 pages, $18.00

Review by Peter Wagner

Famed litigator and scholar Michael Tigar has reissued his 1977 classic Law and the Rise of Capitalism with a new introduction and afterword that contains further amplification of his "jurisprudence of insurgency" thesis. The law both reflects society's social structure and is a mechanism for its evolution. Law and the Rise of Capitalism traces the twin development of the law and economic relations to the present. Starting in the twelfth century with the rise of a merchant class and their need for an enforceable contract law, Tigar explains how the merchant class came into opposition with the existing feudal political and legal establishment.

The afterword extends the thesis to a discussion of the dialectical nature of international law: useful to powerful states that wish to exert their will on smaller states such as Yugoslavia, but also useful in bringing human rights violators to justice. To Tigar, law is neither the product of society nor its creator; and it is neither the defender nor the Achille's heel of the status quo. Rather, law is both, and by understanding this history and role, Tigar aids those struggling for justice in seeing the positive role that the law can play.

This unique book ...

$4.47 Million in Washington Negligent Supervision Settlements and Verdicts

Washington State recently settled or was found liable in three separate law suits alleging that it negligently supervised probationers or parolees. Negligent supervision cases are not new in Washington. Since 2000, the State either settled or was ordered to pay more than $100 million in similar suits.

The family of ...

Failure to Allege Imminent Threat Precludes Justification Defenses in BOP Weapons Prosecution

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the district court did not error in excluding evidence or argument regarding affirmative defenses of necessity and duress in trials for prisoners' weapon possession.

On May 18, 1999, Terry Walker, a black prisoner at the United States Penitentiary at Marion, Illinois, (Marion ...

News in Brief

Arkansas: On May 16, 2002, Barry Parrish, 38, pleaded guilty to walking out of the Lewisville county jail where he was imprisoned and working as a trusty, going to the home of jail guard George Turner on August 23, 2001, killing him with a pair of scissors and then stealing ...