Skip navigation

Prison Legal News: November, 2005

Issue PDF
Volume 16, Number 11

In this issue:

  1. Prison Design Boycott a Challenge to the Professional Business of Incarceration (p 1)
  2. North Carolina Prosecutors Reprimanded For Intentionally Withholding Crucial Exculpatory Evidence in (p 8)
  3. Parole for Women in California: Promise or Pathos (p 10)
  4. From the Editor (p 12)
  5. California Prison Gang Linked to Guards and Mexican Drug Cartel (p 13)
  6. CIA Private Jet Takes Prisoners on Torture Trips (p 14)
  7. Connecticut: Rash of Prisoner Suicides Prompt Questions, Concerns (p 15)
  8. Rising Deaths and Violence Among Problems In Illinois Prisons, Jails (p 16)
  9. Jail Policy Barring Abortion Without Court Order Upheld (p 17)
  10. Oklahoma Prisons Suffer Crisis of Violence and Mismanagement (p 18)
  11. Overturned Conviction Nets Baltimore Man $1.4 Million (p 19)
  12. Federal Prison Problematic For Texas Officials (p 20)
  13. Tulia Undercover Deputy Tom Coleman Convicted of Perjury (p 21)
  14. Procedural Default In Exhausting State Administrative Remedies Held Not A Bar To Bringing § 1983 Act (p 22)
  15. Los Angeles County Pays $125,000 In Medical Negligence Juvenile Camp Death (p 22)
  16. Escaped Murderer Found Eleven Years Later (p 23)
  17. Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Three-Strikes and No More (p 24)
  18. Supreme Court Holds Penalty Phase (p 27)
  19. Fired, Tattooed, Nude-Posing Guard Settles with Maryland DOC for $10,000 (p 28)
  20. PLN Loses Florida Writer Pay Ban/Censorship (p 29)
  21. Higher Property Tax Collections Permit 25% Growth Of Los Angeles County Jail Capacity (p 30)
  22. Mississippi Juvenile Legal Access Class Action Settled (p 30)
  23. Maryland Prisons MisCalculate Half of All Prisoner Release Dates (p 31)
  24. $97,000 in Damages and Fees Awarded in Arkansas Over Detention Suit (p 32)
  25. New York City Settles Wrongful Imprisonment Suit For $1 Million (p 32)
  26. New York Prisoner Awarded $195,000 for Hand, Knee Injury (p 33)
  27. New York Employees Families Settle Attica Riot Claims for $12 Million (p 33)
  28. Virginia Federal Court: Over 47 Hours in (p 34)
  29. BJS Report Reveals Rising Imprisonment Rates, Trends In 2003 (p 35)
  30. Accounting Errors Plagued California Criminal Justice Agency (p 36)
  31. SABER's Sexual History Disclosure Requirement Violates Fifth Amendment (p 36)
  32. Jail Prisoner Strangles Psychiatrist; Jury Awards $2.6 Million (p 37)
  33. PLRA Limits Prisoner's Attorney Fees Incurred Defending (p 38)
  34. Mass Parole Re-Hearings in Tennessee Following AG Opinion (p 39)
  35. Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of BOP Medical Neglect Case; (p 40)
  36. News in Brief: (p 41)
  37. U.S. Corrections Corporation Stock Suit (p 41)
  38. 133 Prisoners Killed in Dominican Republic Prison Fire (p 44)

Prison Design Boycott a Challenge to the Professional Business of Incarceration

Prison Design Boycott a Challenge to the
Professional Business of Incarceration

by Raphael Sperry, ADPSR National President, and the Prison Design Boycott organizing group: Ariel Bierbaum, Juan Calaf, Karen Kearney, and Kathleen Monroe

Saying No" to Prisons

In September 2004 the non-profit organization Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR ...

North Carolina Prosecutors Reprimanded For Intentionally Withholding Crucial Exculpatory Evidence in

North Carolina Prosecutors Reprimanded For Intentionally Withholding Crucial Exculpatory Evidence in Capital Case

by Matthew T. Clarke



Alan Gell cried recently after a North Carolina State Bar panel issued a mere reprimand, the least discipline possible, to two former prosecutors who withheld evidence in his capital murder case. Here I ...

Parole for Women in California: Promise or Pathos

by Corey Weinstein, MD, CCHP

Women are not men, but the California Department of Corrections (CDoC) has treated them as such until very recently. They are housed in mega prisons, denied contact with their children and denied important gender appropriate needs.

The sexual abuse scandals in California women's prisons ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

The cover story of this issue about the organizing efforts of design professionals to stop their colleagues from designing and building more prisons is an important example of the organizing that needs to be taking place at all levels to combat the use of mass imprisonment in ...

California Prison Gang Linked to Guards and Mexican Drug Cartel

A barber shop in National City, California was allegedly the war room" connecting the statewide Mexican Mafia gang (Eme) to the underworld Arellano Felix drug cartel in nearby Mexico, according to investigators from the California Department of Corrections (CDC). The war room was reportedly headed by barber Roberto Ramiro Marin ...

CIA Private Jet Takes Prisoners on Torture Trips

by Matthew T. Clarke

When you step on board a 14-passenger Gulfstream V jet plane, you expect to be treated to a flight teeming with luxuries. The Gulfstream is, after all, a favorite small jet for corporate CEOs and celebrities. Stepping onboard the Gulfstream V with tail number N44982 is ...

Connecticut: Rash of Prisoner Suicides Prompt Questions, Concerns

by Michael Rigby

A rash of prisoner suicides in the Connecticut Department of Corrections (CDOC) has exposed serious flaws in the department's suicide prevention policies. The CDOC saw nine prisoner suicides in 2004, many of which could have been prevented.

Joseph Spence is one example. Spence was arrested on ...

Rising Deaths and Violence Among Problems In Illinois Prisons, Jails

by Michael Rigby

Imprisonment in Illinois is becoming more perilous, according to the John Howard Association, a Chicago-based nonprofit group that monitors prisons and jails. Between August 2003 and May 2004, according to the association, several state prisoners died under suspicious circumstances and three were murdered. By comparison, only 4 ...

Jail Policy Barring Abortion Without Court Order Upheld

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Louisiana jail's policy prohibiting elective medical procedures, including abortions, without a court order. It also concluded that plaintiff failed to sufficiently show the requisite culpability and causation.

When Victoria W. began serving a sentence in the Terrebonne Criminal Justice Complex in ...

Oklahoma Prisons Suffer Crisis of Violence and Mismanagement

by Matthew T. Clarke

2005 has turned out to be a violent year in Oklahoma prisons. Between January and July, 2005, the prisons in Oklahoma suffered multiple riots, multiple murders of prisoners, and extensive probes of drug running.
The stage for 2005 was set in 2004. In 2002 and 2003 ...

Overturned Conviction Nets Baltimore Man $1.4 Million

Maryland's Board of Public Works (BPW) awarded a Baltimore man $1.4 million for spending 27 years on a faulty murder conviction.

In 1974, Michael Austin, then 25, was convicted for the murder of a grocery store security guard. Austin was not only at work when the murder transpired ...

Federal Prison Problematic For Texas Officials

A 500-bed federal detention center may have caused more problems than it solved for cash-strapped Willacy County, Texas. Three county commissioners have already been convicted of accepting kickbacks from companies involved with the prison, and a state senator's ties to three contractors has raised ethical questions. The detention center ...

Tulia Undercover Deputy Tom Coleman Convicted of Perjury

Tom Coleman was on top of the world after being honored as the Texas Department of Public Safety's 1999 Outstanding Lawman of the Year. The award was for his undercover investigation between January 1998 and July 1999 in the small Texas Panhandle town of Tulia that resulted in 46 ...

Procedural Default In Exhausting State Administrative Remedies Held Not A Bar To Bringing § 1983 Act

Procedural Default In Exhausting State Administrative Remedies Held Not A Bar To Bringing § 1983 Action; Supreme Court Grants Review

by John E. Dannenberg

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, deepening a split among the circuits, held that a California state prisoner's alleged untimeliness in filing his administrative ...

Los Angeles County Pays $125,000 In Medical Negligence Juvenile Camp Death

Los Angeles County settled a surviving family's suit for $125,000 that
alleged negligent medical care for their son who died while incarcerated in county juvenile facilities.

Sixteen year-old William Lee was taken to Central Juvenile Hall after being arrested on August 16, 2002. During medical screening there, his ...

Escaped Murderer Found Eleven Years Later

Escaped Murderer Found Eleven Years Later Living With Warden's Wife

by John E. Dannenberg

Tipped off by a viewer of America's Most Wanted, Shelby County, Texas police on April 4, 2005 took into custody Randolph Dial, 60, a murderer who escaped from the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite ...

Pro Se Tips and Tactics: Three-Strikes and No More

Partial Payment of Filing Fees

by Daniel E. Manville

Introduction1

When filing a pro se lawsuit you may seek a waiver of the payment of the entire filing fee. However, with the enactment of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), courts are now authorized to deny such waiver if you ...

Supreme Court Holds Penalty Phase

Supreme Court Holds Penalty Phase Shackling Violates the Due Process

In a 7-to-2 decision that Justices Thomas and Scalia criticized as shunning common sense and risk[ing] the lives of courtroom personnel, with little corresponding benefit to defendants," the United States Supreme Court held that the Constitution forbids the use ...

Fired, Tattooed, Nude-Posing Guard Settles with Maryland DOC for $10,000

by Matthew T. Clarke

Maryland has agreed to pay an ex-guard who appeared nude on a website and in a tattoo magazine $10,000 to get her to drop her wrongful discharge claim after an administrative law judge sided with the guard.

Marcie Betts wasn't intending to become an ...

PLN Loses Florida Writer Pay Ban/Censorship

Lawsuit: Appeal Pending

by David M. Reutter

A Florida federal district court has held that PLN has not suffered, and is not currently suffering, a significant First Amendment injury from Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) rule, policies, or procedures that ban compensation to prisoner writers and caused the impoundment of ...

Higher Property Tax Collections Permit 25% Growth Of Los Angeles County Jail Capacity

by John E. Dannenberg

A six percent increase in property tax collections due to soaring real estate prices will add an estimated $150 million to Los Angeles County coffers in the coming year. County supervisors have allotted $68.5 million of that to reverse the cutbacks in the County Sheriff ...

Mississippi Juvenile Legal Access Class Action Settled

On January 12, 2005, Mississippi settled a class action suit challenging a policy at the Colombia Training School (CTS) which severely limited residents' access to legal counsel.

CTS is a co-ed juvenile detention facility in Mississippi. The residents range in age from 10-18 years old. CTS was the subject of ...

Maryland Prisons MisCalculate Half of All Prisoner Release Dates

by David M. Reutter

Up to one half of all Maryland prisoners early release dates at two prisons were erroneous, concluded a report by the Maryland Office of Legislative Audits. The report declined to identify the two prisons it audited, as it felt the problems exposed are system wide.
The ...

$97,000 in Damages and Fees Awarded in Arkansas Over Detention Suit

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a judgment awarding compensatory damages of $50,000 in a civil rights suit filed by James M. Hayes, alleging his 38-day pre-appearance detention violated his right to due process. The Court further held that the attorney fee award of $47,000 was ...

New York City Settles Wrongful Imprisonment Suit For $1 Million

On February 4, 2005, a man convicted of murder and wrongfully imprisoned for five years based on testimony fabricated by prosecutors settled his claim against the City of New York for $1,000,000.

Milton Lantigua, 20,was sitting in front of his Bronx apartment building at around 1 a ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $195,000 for Hand, Knee Injury

On October 6, 2004, a court of claims in White Plains, New York, awarded $195,000 to a state prisoner who fell in the shower, injuring her hand, and knee.

While imprisoned at the Taconic Correctional Facility, prisoner Juliann Gibson slipped and fell in a shower area on August 25 ...

New York Employees Families Settle Attica Riot Claims for $12 Million

The State of New York has reached a $12 million settlement with the Forgotten Victims of Attica, a group of surviving state employees and relatives of 11 guards killed during the 1971 uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility.

Under a proposal by Governor George E. Pataki, the Forgotten Victims of ...

Virginia Federal Court: Over 47 Hours in

Virginia Federal Court: Over 47 Hours in Five-Point Restraint Unconstitutional

by Matthew T. Clarke

A federal court in Virginia held that prison officials violated a prisoner's constitutional rights when they strapped his ankles, wrists and chest to a bed for over 67 hours.

Gary Neal Sadler, a Connecticut state ...

BJS Report Reveals Rising Imprisonment Rates, Trends In 2003

by Michael Rigby

Rising prison populations...record numbers of female prisoners...rampant overcrowding...continuing racial disparities. These are among the disturbing trends revealed by Prisoners in 2003, a Bureau of Justice Statistics report released in November 2004.

At yearend 2003, 1,470,045 prisoners were under the jurisdiction of state ...

Accounting Errors Plagued California Criminal Justice Agency

A defunct California agency charged with distributing grant money for crime prevention and victim aid may have cost the state millions in federal funds due to poor accounting practices, state auditors said on February 2, 2005.

Lawmakers knew something was wrong at the Office of Criminal Justice Planning (OCJP) two ...

SABER's Sexual History Disclosure Requirement Violates Fifth Amendment

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the compelled sexual history disclosure required by the Sexual Abuse Behavior Evaluation and Recovery Program (SABER) violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against self incrimination. The court also held that a supervised release condition prohibiting possession of any pornographic, sexually oriented or ...

Jail Prisoner Strangles Psychiatrist; Jury Awards $2.6 Million

A Florida jury awarded $2,650,260 in the strangling death of a psychiatrist doing an evaluation on a prisoner at the Collier County Jail. David J. Hoyer was doing a court ordered competency evaluation on January 3, 2001, when he was attacked by prisoner Rodrigus Sanchez Patten, then 20 ...

PLRA Limits Prisoner's Attorney Fees Incurred Defending

PLRA Limits Prisoner's Attorney Fees Incurred Defending Appeal of Successful § 1983 Suit

by John E. Dannenberg

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that after a prisoner wins a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit for damages, the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) 150%-of-damages fee ...

Mass Parole Re-Hearings in Tennessee Following AG Opinion

With some level of irony, on June 7, 2005 the Tennessee Attorney General's office sent a letter to the state's Board of Probation and Parole, recommending that the Board limit the amount of time between parole hearings and suggesting that over 375 prisoners be granted early re-hearings.

The ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of BOP Medical Neglect Case;

District Court Abused Discretion in Denying Counsel

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's denial of the appointment of counsel to a prisoner. The court also vacated the grant of summary judgment to prison officials on medical malpractice and deliberate indifference claims.

Federal prisoner Diego Gil ...

News in Brief:

Alabama: On September 7, 2005, Carl Ward, 40, escaped from the Elmore Correctional Facility in Montgomery where he worked outside the prison compound in a warehouse. Using a knife, Ward took an employee's wallet and car keys, restrained him with masking tape and stole his car. Ward was recaptured ...

U.S. Corrections Corporation Stock Suit

U.S. Corrections Corporation Stock Suit Settled for $13.2 Million

The former owners of U.S. Correctional Corporation (USCC) have agreed to settle a lawsuit over misuse of the employee stock-ownership plan for $13.2 million.

Prior to 1998, when it was purchased by Corrections Corporation of America for ...

133 Prisoners Killed in Dominican Republic Prison Fire

A fight between rival gangs for control of a Dominican Republic prison resulted in a fire that killed 133 prisoners. Prisoners caused the blaze by setting ablaze their pillows and sheets. Attempts to rescue them were thwarted by a jammed door. Only 26 prisoners were rescued from the prison in ...