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Prison Legal News: August, 2003

Issue PDF
Volume 14, Number 8

In this issue:

  1. America's Prisons Turn a Blind Eye to HCV Epidemic (p 1)
  2. Pregnant Wisconsin Prisoner Punished for Sexual Contact While Guard Walks Free (p 4)
  3. Louisiana Guards' Conviction Upheld in Prisoner's Beating (p 5)
  4. From the Editor (p 6)
  5. California Prison Policy Restricting Book Orders Enjoined (p 6)
  6. 900 British Prisoners Freed Following Court Ruling (p 7)
  7. Massachusetts Jury Awards $175,000 to Beaten Ex-Prisoner (p 7)
  8. Sexual Harassment Scandal Rocks Connecticut DOC (p 8)
  9. Criminal Law Update (p 10)
  10. Los Angeles County Liable Under § 1983 for Jail Detainee's Murder (p 13)
  11. Oregon HCV Suit Certified as Class Action (p 14)
  12. Sadistic New Jersey Prison Doctor's License Revoked Amid Allegations of Neglect, Malpractice (p 16)
  13. $178,294 Awarded in BOP Malpractice Suit (p 17)
  14. $3.2 Million Awarded to New York Jail Prisoner in Work Accident (p 17)
  15. Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Damages (p 18)
  16. Ohio Jail's Pay-for-Stay Program Unconstitutional, Partial Summary Judgment Granted (p 20)
  17. Settlement of Hamilton County, Ohio, Jail Booking Fees Case (p 20)
  18. Butler County, Ohio, Settles Jail Booking Fee Suit (p 21)
  19. Director Out at Scandal-Plagued Washington State Jail (p 22)
  20. Rikers Island Jail Chief Demoted (p 25)
  21. Arizona Prisoner Entitled to Workers' Compensation Payments During Period of Incarceration (p 25)
  22. North Carolina Juvenile Prisons Plagued by Physical, Sexual Abuse, and Medical Neglect (p 26)
  23. Deaths and Beatings Rampant in Texas' Nueces County Jail (p 28)
  24. Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates (p 29)
  25. DSU-Like Conditions in Massachusetts Prison Trigger Due Process Protection (p 30)
  26. Federal Prisoners Enlisted for Dangerous Computer Refurbishing (p 31)
  27. Probation and Parole Populations Continued to Rise in 2001 (p 32)
  28. Overt Act Unnecessary to Allege Conspiracy Claim in 7th Circuit (p 32)
  29. U.S. Supreme Court Upholds California's Harsh Three-Strikes Law (p 33)
  30. News in Brief (p 34)
  31. News in Brief (p 35)
  32. The PLRA Does Not Change Leave to Amend Rule (p 36)
  33. Illinois Settles Visitor Strip Search Suit for $237,000 (p 36)

America's Prisons Turn a Blind Eye to HCV Epidemic

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an insidious and relentless disease which is highly unpredictable and eventually fatal. It is a chronic disease which is the leading cause of cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer which causes an estimated 10,000 deaths annually in the United States; a number the ...

Pregnant Wisconsin Prisoner Punished for Sexual Contact While Guard Walks Free

In December, 2002, a mentally ill female prisoner at the Taycheedah Correctional Institution (TCI) in Wisconsin was given a year of solitary confinement after being impregnated by a prison guard, while the guard, Mathew Emery, was fired but not prosecuted.


Prisoner Jackie Noyes, 24, who has a well-documented history of ...

Louisiana Guards' Conviction Upheld in Prisoner's Beating

A jury's conviction of three guards at the Louisianan State Penitentiary at Angola in the assault and beating of prisoner Raymond Jackson has been affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Sergeant Harrison Daniels was convicted in the assault, and denying Jackson medical care. Sergeant John Swan was ...

From the Editor

This month we continue our coverage of the hepatitis C (HCV) epidemic sweeping through American prisons with little or no treatment for the afflicted. The public health consequences of this and many other diseases that have historically festered in American prisons and jails before entering the community with both released ...

California Prison Policy Restricting Book Orders Enjoined

The US District Court (ND Calif.) issued a permanent injunction against officials at the maximum security Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) that terminated their policy requiring vendors who shipped books, periodicals, magazines or calendars to PBSP prisoners to use a prison-supplied shipping label on the package - because that policy impinged ...

900 British Prisoners Freed Following Court Ruling

On July 26, 2002, nine hundred prisoners in England and Wales had to be set free after the European Court of Human rights unanimously ruled that extending prisoners' imprisonment for disciplinary violations without allowing them legal representation violated Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Prison Service ...

Massachusetts Jury Awards $175,000 to Beaten Ex-Prisoner

On August 28, 2002, a Worcester (MA) Superior Court jury awarded $175,000 to a former Massachusetts state prisoner who sued the Department of Correction (DOC). The jury also found that the DOC negligently hired and supervised a guard with a known propensity for violence and denied Gendron medical treatment ...

Sexual Harassment Scandal Rocks Connecticut DOC

by Matthew T. Clarke


The Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and illegal sex between guards and prisoners. The scandal began on August 8, 2002, when 15 female guards filed two separate federal class-action civil rights lawsuits against former DOC Commissioner ...

Criminal Law Update

by Walter Reaves


The following are summaries of the some of more significant, and interesting cases decided during the last several months dealing with issues important to prisoners and those interested in post-conviction litigation.


SEARCH AND SEIZURE


Corroboration of Affidavit - United States v. Peck, 317 F.3d 754 (7th Cir ...

Los Angeles County Liable Under § 1983 for Jail Detainee's Murder

Los Angeles County Liable Under § 1983 for Jail Detainee's Murder

by Walter Reaves


The following are summaries of the some of more significant, and interesting cases decided during the last several months dealing with issues important to prisoners and those interested in post-conviction litigation.


SEARCH AND SEIZURE


Corroboration of ...

Oregon HCV Suit Certified as Class Action

On December 19, 2002, Oregon prisoners suing prison officials for refusing to properly diagnose and treat their hepatitis C virus (HCV) were handed an important victory, when a federal judge issued a 37-page Opinion and Order, certifying the suit as a class action. In doing so, the Honorable Anna J ...

Sadistic New Jersey Prison Doctor's License Revoked Amid Allegations of Neglect, Malpractice

On November 13, 2002, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners revoked the license of Dr. John J. Napoleon following the most recent allegations that he was grossly negligent in the treatment of nine patients at the Bayside State Prison and Cape May County Jail. Napoleon was also ordered to ...

$178,294 Awarded in BOP Malpractice Suit

The United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has awarded a federal prisoner $178,294, including $150,000 for pain and suffering, due to medical malpractice by doctors working for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP).


Jeffrey Berman is an ileostomy patient, a condition he has ...

$3.2 Million Awarded to New York Jail Prisoner in Work Accident

On October 18, 2002, a Queens county, New York, jury awarded Ronald York, a 21 year old prisoner at the New York City jail on Riker's Island, $3.2 million in damages as compensation for a work injury. Ronald York was a prisoner employed in the jail bakery when ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Damages

1. Overview of Punitive Damages


When people discuss "money damages" in connection with a lawsuit for personal injury, they are usually thinking of damages that relate directly to the injury. Examples include money to compensate a plaintiff for lasting physical injury or pain, medical expenses, and sometimes emotional suffering as ...

Ohio Jail's Pay-for-Stay Program Unconstitutional, Partial Summary Judgment Granted

Ohio Jail's Pay-for-Stay Program Unconstitutional,
Partial Summary Judgment Granted


The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio has awarded partial summary judgment to a former pretrial detainee in a case involving seizure of the detainee's funds by the Hamilton County Justice Center (HCJC) in a ...

Settlement of Hamilton County, Ohio, Jail Booking Fees Case

After protracted negotiations and two court rulings finding the defendants liable, Hamilton County, Ohio, officials finally agreed to settle the claims challenging its Pay-for-Stay program (see mail article). Led by Cincinnati attorney Stephen R. Felson, with attorney Robert B. Newman, the plaintiff class (former Hamilton County Jail prisoners) won agreement ...

Butler County, Ohio, Settles Jail Booking Fee Suit

Butler County, Ohio, Settles
Jail Booking Fee Suit


The Sheriff and Commissioners of Butler County, Ohio, settled a lawsuit over its Pay-to-Stay program brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, by a citizen of Liberty Township, Ohio, in Butler County. The victorious ...

Director Out at Scandal-Plagued Washington State Jail

Amid numerous scandals and investigations into wrongdoing and prisoner mistreatment by staff, the director of the Snohomish County jail in Everett, WA was relieved of her duties in mid-April 2003. Corrections department director Andrea Bynum was fired due to her mismanagement of the jail.


No less than five active investigations ...

Rikers Island Jail Chief Demoted

Rikers Island supervisor Anthony Serra has been demoted from his $140,000 per year position as New York City jail chief amid allegations he improperly assigned underlings to work on Republican Governor George Pataki's re-election campaign.


Serra was suspended from duty on October 22, 2002 after a city investigation ...

Arizona Prisoner Entitled to Workers' Compensation Payments During Period of Incarceration

The Arizona Court of Appeals held that a prisoner may collect workers' compensation benefits during his term of imprisonment, despite a 1997 state statute prohibiting workers' compensation payments "during the period of time that [a claimant] has . . . [b]een convicted of a crime and is incarcerated in any state, federal ...

North Carolina Juvenile Prisons Plagued by Physical, Sexual Abuse, and Medical Neglect

North Carolina Juvenile Prisons Plagued by
Physical, Sexual Abuse, and Medical Neglect

by Lonnie Burton


After four separate lawsuits were filed by prisoners serving sentences at two North Carolina juvenile facilities alleging a wide range of mistreatment from sexual and physical abuse to medical neglect state officials have launched an ...

Deaths and Beatings Rampant in Texas' Nueces County Jail

Nueces County Jail in Corpus Christi Texas has become a regular source of dead and beaten prisoners. Ten prisoners have died in the jail between 1996 and 2000. Two cases have already cost the county $2 million and three more wrongful death suits are still pending.


$900,000 Paid in ...

Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates

by Jorge Antonio Renaud, University of North Texas Press, 2002, soft cover, 218 pages, $14.95

Review by Michael Rigby


If you or someone you know is one of the nearly 150,000 people incarcerated in a Texas prison, then Behind the Walls: A Guide for Families and Friends of ...

DSU-Like Conditions in Massachusetts Prison Trigger Due Process Protection

DSU-Like Conditions in Massachusetts Prison
Trigger Due Process Protection

by Matthew T. Clarke


The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has held that the Massachusetts Commissioner of Corrections (MCOC) may not avoid previously ordered due process review of prisoners placed in non-punitive segregation simply by making an entire wing of a ...

Federal Prisoners Enlisted for Dangerous Computer Refurbishing

Federal Prisoners Enlisted for Dangerous
Computer Refurbishing

by Lonnie Burton


In February 2002, it was announced that prisoners at a new federal prison in California will soon be partnering with companies such as Dell, IBM and Hewlett-Packard in a program that will refurbish and recycle used computers. The U.S ...

Probation and Parole Populations Continued to Rise in 2001

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), in a bulletin released in August 2002, the total number of adult women and men under some form of correctional supervision --jail, prison, probation, or parole rose to 6,592,800 by the end of 2001. According to the report, "[a]bout ...

Overt Act Unnecessary to Allege Conspiracy Claim in 7th Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that it is not necessary to allege an overt act to state a conspiracy claim. The court also held that dismissal of a prisoner's retaliation claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies was proper.


Wisconsin state prisoner Tony ...

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds California's Harsh Three-Strikes Law

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds California's
Harsh Three-Strikes Law

by John E. Dannenberg


In two 5 to 4 decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California's harsh "three strikes and you're out" law is not grossly disproportionate in violation of the Eighth Amendment nor is it ...

News in Brief

California: On May 2, 2003, Gary Culverson, 25, and Van Kopp, 37, were arrested on charges that they assaulted Casey Humphrey, 18, a prisoner at the Monroe Detention Center in Yolo County. Culverson and Kopp were employed as guards at the jail's intake area but the assault occurred in ...

News in Brief

California: On May 2, 2003, Gary Culverson, 25, and Van Kopp, 37, were arrested on charges that they assaulted Casey Humphrey, 18, a prisoner at the Monroe Detention Center in Yolo County. Culverson and Kopp were employed as guards at the jail's intake area but the assault occurred in ...

The PLRA Does Not Change Leave to Amend Rule

The PLRA Does Not Change Leave To Amend Rule

by Bob Williams


The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) does not mandate dismissal of an indigent litigant's deficient complaint without leave to amend, where the amendment would not be futile or ...

Illinois Settles Visitor Strip Search Suit for $237,000

by Matthew T. Clarke


In 2001, the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) has settled a lawsuit by visitors who claimed strip searches conducted during their visit to the Pontiac Correctional Center (PCC) were unconstitutional.


In 1997, Marylin Tompkins and Jess Burgess filed suit in federal district court in Peoria, IL ...