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Prison Legal News: February, 2005

Issue PDF
Volume 16, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. HR-4079: A National Crime Emergency? (p 1)
  2. Kentucky Prison Guard Awarded $34,000 in Sexual Harassment Suit (p 5)
  3. California Latino Gang Members Locked Down Over 20 Months; Narrow U.S. Attorney Criminal Review Finds "No Abuses" (p 6)
  4. Tenth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of PLN Suit Challenging Kansas DOC Ban On Gift Subscriptions (p 7)
  5. From the Editor (p 8)
  6. Report Lambastes New York Lockdowns (p 9)
  7. Report Lambastes New York Lockdowns (p 11)
  8. Habeas Hints (p 12)
  9. Oregon HCV Class Action Settled; Limitations Period for Individual Damages Actions Tolled (p 14)
  10. Expert Panel Significantly Revises Oregon's HCV Guidelines (p 16)
  11. Alabama Settles Class Action Medical Suit; Institutes HCV Treatment Protocol (p 18)
  12. Jury Awards $500,000 to Massachusetts Jail Guard Harassed for Breaking Code of Silence (p 19)
  13. Three Americans Convicted of Running Sham Military Jail in Afghanistan (p 20)
  14. South Carolina Prison Industry Program Problematic, Audit Finds (p 22)
  15. Doctors of Death and the Medicalization of State Murder (p 23)
  16. California Sex Offender Satisfies Registration Obligation If He Mails Notice (p 24)
  17. Prisoner's Release Fails to Excuse PLRA's Exhaustion Requirement (p 24)
  18. New Jersey Jail Guard Settles Elevator Fall Suit for $750,000 (p 26)
  19. AEDPA One-Year Clock Starts When Administrative Parole Appeal Is Denied (p 26)
  20. Tough Justice Leads To Quadriplegic's Death In CCA-Operated D.C. Jail (p 27)
  21. Government Says No Criminal Conduct in New Jersey Mass Prisoner Beating, But Jury Awards Abused Prisoner $19,000; Sexual Harassment Suit Settled for $250,000 (p 28)
  22. Rikers Island Gunshot Victims' Suit Dismissed (p 28)
  23. Qualified Immunity Denied In Failure To Protect And Delay of Emergency Treatment (p 29)
  24. CMS Liable for Prisoner's Failed Hip Prosthesis; $75,000 Awarded (p 30)
  25. California Prisoner Trust Accounts Allegedly Used To Launder Gang Drug Taxes (p 30)
  26. Absolute Immunity For Acting On Court Order Denied In Failure To Protect Claim (p 31)
  27. California Sexual Predator Unconditionally Released (p 32)
  28. New York Prisoner Awarded $105,000 for Shoulder Injury (p 32)
  29. New York's Felon Disenfranchisement Law Not Saved By Federal Voting Rights Act (p 33)
  30. Connecticut Prison Writers Settle Lawsuit, Writing Program Reinstated (p 34)
  31. Los Angeles County Pays $800,000 To Settle County Jail Medical Suit for Untreated Lupus (p 35)
  32. Seventh Circuit Interprets "Brought" As Used 42 U.S.C. § 1197e(a) (p 35)
  33. Oregon Prisoner's Allegation of Economic Damages States Sufficient Claim (p 36)
  34. Ninth Circuit: "Chilling Effect" Not Required To Establish First Amendment Violation (p 36)
  35. BOP Ad-Seg Rules Create a Liberty Interest (p 37)
  36. Massachusetts Jail Prisoner Awarded $20,000 For Crushed Knuckle (p 38)
  37. Oregon Parole Increase Following Appeal Violates Due Process, Presumption of Vindictiveness Applies (p 38)
  38. Federal Court Orders Mississippi to Desegregate HIV+ Prisoners (p 39)
  39. California Demands $1.6 Million In Diverted Telephone Revenues From Private Prison Contractor (p 39)
  40. Iowa Must Give Kosher Meals to Civilly Committed Sex Offender (p 40)
  41. Texas County, Deputy Settle Sex Assault Case For $50,000 (p 40)
  42. Are Prisons Obsolete? (p 41)
  43. News in Brief (p 42)
  44. California Prosecutor Fights Deportation Of Paroled Sex Offenders (p 44)

HR-4079: A National Crime Emergency?

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it does. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, Jr., resigned his seat, leaving President Bush to name an even more reactionary successor. Not only will the pro-choice Roe v. Wade ruling fall by the wayside, making life for women increasingly difficult ...

Kentucky Prison Guard Awarded $34,000 in Sexual Harassment Suit

Kentucky Prison Guard Awarded $34,000
in Sexual Harassment Suit

On May 27, 2003, a state circuit court in Oldham, Kentucky, awarded prison guard Karen Lemarr a total of $34,000 for the lost wages, embarrassment, and emotional distress she suffered as a result of a coworker's sexual harassment ...

California Latino Gang Members Locked Down Over 20 Months; Narrow U.S. Attorney Criminal Review Finds "No Abuses"

California Latino Gang Members Locked Down Over 20 Months; Narrow U.S. Attorney Criminal Review Finds "No Abuses"

Latino gang members at California's 124 year-old Folsom State Prison (FSP) were locked down for over 20 months following a riot where "Southern" Hispanic gang members attacked their rival "Northern" Hispanics ...

Tenth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of PLN Suit Challenging Kansas DOC Ban On Gift Subscriptions

Tenth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of PLN Suit Challenging
Kansas DOC Ban On Gift Subscriptions

by John E. Dannenberg

The Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the district court's grant of summary judgment to prison officials (see: Zimmerman v. Simmons, 260 F.Supp.2d 1077 (D ...

From the Editor

The index for the 2004 issues of PLN is now ready and available for shipping. PLN's indexes are a great stand alone research tool as well as the best tool to maximize the use of PLN as a research tool. Each index lists all PLN articles by issue and ...

Report Lambastes New York Lockdowns

by: Michael Rigby

Emotional and physical distress...restricted diets... "greeting beatings" ...high rates of mental illness...a reliance on warehousing instead of treatment. This is the troubling reality of disciplinary confinement in New York, according to a 54-page report released on October 22, 2003, by the New York Correctional Association ...

Report Lambastes New York Lockdowns

by: Michael Rigby

Emotional and physical distress...restricted diets... "greeting beatings" ...high rates of mental illness...a reliance on warehousing instead of treatment. This is the troubling reality of disciplinary confinement in New York, according to a 54-page report released on October 22, 2003, by the New York Correctional Association ...

Habeas Hints

This column is intended to provide "habeas hints" to prisoners who are handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys ("in pro per"). The focus of the column is post-conviction practice under the AEDPA, the 1996 law which now governs habeas corpus practice throughout the U.S.

Some Useful Post-Conviction ...

Oregon HCV Class Action Settled; Limitations Period for Individual Damages Actions Tolled

Oregon HCV Class Action Settled; Limitations Period
for Individual Damages Actions Tolled

by Mark Wilson

On April 6, 2004, the Class Action suit against the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) for failing to properly diagnose and treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV), was resolved by entry of a comprehensive settlement ...

Expert Panel Significantly Revises Oregon's HCV Guidelines

A panel of hepatitis experts has significantly revised the hepatitis C virus (HCV) guidelines of the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Pursuant to the terms of the settlement resolving Oregon's Class Action HCV suit of Anstett v. State of Oregon , a Medical Review Panel (MRP) was appointed to evaluate and ...

Alabama Settles Class Action Medical Suit; Institutes HCV Treatment Protocol

Alabama Settles Class Action Medical Suit;
Institutes HCV Treatment Protocol

by John E. Dannenberg

In a major milestone along the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) march towards gaining humane medical care in Alabama's prisons, a Settlement Agreement was signed in June, 2004 that commits the Alabama Department of ...

Jury Awards $500,000 to Massachusetts Jail Guard Harassed for Breaking Code of Silence

by Matthew T. Clarke

A Boston federal jury has awarded $500,000 to a guard who was harassed at work by other jail employees after he reported misconduct by another guard.

Bruce S. Baron, a former guard at the Suffolk County House of Correction (the jail), filed suit under 42 ...

Three Americans Convicted of Running Sham Military Jail in Afghanistan

Three Americans Convicted of Running Sham
Military Jail in Afghanistan

by Matthew T. Clarke

Three Americans, led by ex-special forces soldier Jonathan Keith Idema, 48, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, have been convicted of running an unauthorized jail in Kabul and torturing Afghans they kidnapped in an attempt to extract information ...

South Carolina Prison Industry Program Problematic, Audit Finds

South Carolina Prison Industry Program
Problematic, Audit Finds

by Michael Rigby

The prison industries program of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is improperly managed, likely displaces workers in the surrounding community, and creates an unfair advantage in the marketplace, according to a review performed by the Legislative Audit ...

Doctors of Death and the Medicalization of State Murder

Doctors of Death and the Medicalization
of State Murder

by Michael Rigby

Prisoners often wonder if prison medical personnel really have their best interests at heart. But in the case of Sanjeeva Rao, a Georgia prison doctor, there is no doubt. He aims to see them dead.

When the state ...

California Sex Offender Satisfies Registration Obligation If He Mails Notice

California Sex Offender Satisfies Registration
Obligation If He Mails Notice

The California State Supreme Court held that a sex offender satisfies his legal requirement to register with the police and tell them where he is living if he timely mails a notice to them by United States Mail.

David Smith ...

Prisoner's Release Fails to Excuse PLRA's Exhaustion Requirement

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held the Prison Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA) administrative remedy exhaustion requirement was not excused by the fact the plaintiff had been released at the time the district court considered the motion to dismiss. While a prisoner at a Tennessee federal special needs prison ...

New Jersey Jail Guard Settles Elevator Fall Suit for $750,000

On December 15, 2003, Global Elevator Technologies (GET), a company under contract with the Union County (New Jersey) Jail to provide elevator maintenance services, agreed to pay $750,000 to a guard who suffered back and knee injuries in a December 2000 elevator accident.

The plaintiff, Union County Jail guard ...

AEDPA One-Year Clock Starts When Administrative Parole Appeal Is Denied

AEDPA One-Year Clock Starts When
Administrative Parole Appeal Is Denied

by John E. Dannenberg

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that for 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus filing-deadline purposes, the AEDPA one-year filing clock starts at the time that state administrative remedies not state court ...

Tough Justice Leads To Quadriplegic's Death In CCA-Operated D.C. Jail

Tough Justice Leads To Quadriplegic's Death
In CCA-Operated D.C. Jail

by Michael Rigby

Washington D.C. Superior Court Judge Judith E. Retchin is known for being tough on crime. She's so tough, in fact, that when a quadriplegic man came before her for possessing a small amount ...

Government Says No Criminal Conduct in New Jersey Mass Prisoner Beating, But Jury Awards Abused Prisoner $19,000; Sexual Harassment Suit Settled for $250,000

Government Says No Criminal Conduct in New Jersey Mass
Prisoner Beating, But Jury Awards Abused Prisoner $19,000;
Sexual Harassment Suit Settled for $250,000

by Matthew T. Clarke

Despite government reports claiming that guards committed no crimes in the alleged mass beating of prisoners at Bayside Prison in 1997 ...

Rikers Island Gunshot Victims' Suit Dismissed

A New York state court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by two men who claimed they were shot while asleep at the Rikers Island prison in New York City.

Bronx Judge Alison E. Tuitt dismissed the suit on May 21, 2004four days into the trialbecause the prisoners had not shown ...

Qualified Immunity Denied In Failure To Protect And Delay of Emergency Treatment

Qualified Immunity Denied In Failure To
Protect And Delay of Emergency Treatment

by Bob Williams

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that guards are not entitled to qualified immunity for failing to segregate co-defendants in a known hostile relationship and that doctors are not entitled to qualified immunity ...

CMS Liable for Prisoner's Failed Hip Prosthesis; $75,000 Awarded

by Robert H. Woodman

On January 9, 2004 the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri found that Correctional Medical Services (CMS) and one of its employees, Gary Campbell, D.O., were liable for fourteen (14) months of pain and suffering endured by a Missouri state prisoner ...

California Prisoner Trust Accounts Allegedly Used To Launder Gang Drug Taxes

California Prisoner Trust Accounts Allegedly Used
To Launder Gang Drug Taxes

A phantom "Banco de Pelican Bay" has sprung up at California's supermax Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP), wherein 14 Mexican Mafia (nicknamed "Eme") prisoners had their prison trust accounts frozen in October, 2004 because of suspected laundering of ...

Absolute Immunity For Acting On Court Order Denied In Failure To Protect Claim

Absolute Immunity For Acting On Court Order Denied
In Failure To Protect Claim

by Bob Williams

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of absolute immunity against prison guards who claimed they were following a court order when they failed to protect a known prison informant, even ...

California Sexual Predator Unconditionally Released

California's first "graduate" of the state's sexually violent predator (SVP) program, who was released in August, 2003 to highly supervised conditions while living in a trailer on the grounds of Soledad State Prison, was granted unconditional release by a state judge in San Jose, California on Sept. 13 ...

New York Prisoner Awarded $105,000 for Shoulder Injury

New York Prisoner Awarded $105,000 For Shoulder Injury

On December 15, 2003, a court of claims in Syracuse, New York, awarded $105,000 plus interest to a state prisoner who suffered a torn rotator cuff as the result of a construction accident.

New York state prisoner Tommy Knights, 50 ...

New York's Felon Disenfranchisement Law Not Saved By Federal Voting Rights Act

New York's Felon Disenfranchisement Law Not Saved
By Federal Voting Rights Act

by John E. Dannenberg

The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that New York Election Law § 5-106, which disenfranchises [i.e., suspends voting rights] of parolees and currently incarcerated felons is not overridden by the ...

Connecticut Prison Writers Settle Lawsuit, Writing Program Reinstated

Connecticut Prison Writers Settle Lawsuit,
Writing Program Reinstated

by Michael Rigby

Eight Connecticut prisoners who were sued by the state after the publication of their book, Couldn't Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters , will get to keep most of their earnings, according to the terms of ...

Los Angeles County Pays $800,000 To Settle County Jail Medical Suit for Untreated Lupus

Los Angeles County Pays $800,000 To Settle
County Jail Medical Suit for Untreated Lupus

by John E. Dannenberg

On June 3, 2002, the Los Angeles (L.A.) County, California Claims Board agreed to pay $800,000 to settle medical negligence and consortium loss claims by a prisoner and his ...

Seventh Circuit Interprets "Brought" As Used 42 U.S.C. § 1197e(a)

Seventh Circuit Interprets "Brought" As Used 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has interpreted the word "brought" in 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) to mean "when the complaint is tendered to the district clerk." The court then used that ...

Oregon Prisoner's Allegation of Economic Damages States Sufficient Claim

Oregon Prisoner's Allegation Of Economic Damages States Sufficient Claim

The Oregon Court of Appeals held that a state prisoner's allegation of economic damages stemming from the purported improper release of his medical records and substandard medical care stated a claim sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.

Plaintiff ...

Ninth Circuit: "Chilling Effect" Not Required To Establish First Amendment Violation

Ninth Circuit: "Chilling Effect" Not Required
To Establish First Amendment Violation

by Marvin Mentor

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals dealt with the following conundrum: does a prisoner who exhaustively fights purported violations of his First Amendment rights, by dint of his sheer effort to do so, thereby ...

BOP Ad-Seg Rules Create a Liberty Interest

by David M. Reutter

The Eleventh Circuit court of Appeals has held that BOP administrative segregation policies create a liberty interest. The Court reversed a Georgia federal district court's order granting prison officials' motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a ...

Massachusetts Jail Prisoner Awarded $20,000 For Crushed Knuckle

Massachusetts Jail Prisoner Awarded
$20,000 For Crushed Knuckle

A superior court in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, awarded $20,000 to a man who sustained a knuckle fracture when a cell door was allegedly opened without warning.

Plaintiff Gary Taylor, 47, was arrested for disorderly conduct and intoxication and imprisoned in ...

Oregon Parole Increase Following Appeal Violates Due Process, Presumption of Vindictiveness Applies

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the imposition of a longer sentence imposed on remand after a successful appeal of an order of the Oregon Parole Board (Board) was presumptively vindictive and the Board failed to rebut the presumption of vindictiveness.

In 1986, George Nulph was convicted of ...

Federal Court Orders Mississippi to Desegregate HIV+ Prisoners

Federal Court Orders Mississippi to
Desegregate HIV+ Prisoners

by Matthew T. Clarke

On June 7, 2004, a federal district court in Greenville, Mississippi, ordered the Mississippi Department of Corrections (DOC) to cease excluding HIV+ prisoners from being housed in a Community Work Center (CWC), ending Mississippi's policy of total ...

California Demands $1.6 Million In Diverted Telephone Revenues From Private Prison Contractor

California Demands $1.6 Million In Diverted Telephone Revenues
From Private Prison Contractor

by John E. Dannenberg

The California Department of Corrections (CDC) has charged private prison contractor Marantha Corrections LLC with "misappropriating" more than $1 million in telephone revenues at its 500 bed prison in Adelanto, California, and ordered ...

Iowa Must Give Kosher Meals to Civilly Committed Sex Offender

Iowa Must Give Kosher Meals To Civilly Committed Sex Offender

by John E. Dannenberg

The United States District Court (S.D. Iowa) ordered that Kosher meals be provided without co-payment to an Orthodox Jewish prisoner who is committed to the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders of the Iowa Department ...

Texas County, Deputy Settle Sex Assault Case For $50,000

A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a Kleberg County, Texas, sheriff's deputy has settled her civil rights lawsuit against the county and the deputy for $50,000.

On May 16, 2001, Sarah Jean Hernandez, 22, was arrested at a border patrol checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, for ...

Are Prisons Obsolete?

by Angela Y. Davis

Open Media/Seven Stories Press, 127 pp. $8.95 paperback

Review by Silja Talvi

"On the whole people tend to take prisons for granted," Angela Y. Davis.

But are we, as a society, willing to face the reality of what goes on inside? And are we ...

News in Brief

News in Brief:

Arizona: In an uprising at the Lewis prison complex in Florence, on May 7, 2004, 100 prisoners refused to leave the prison yard for two hours and 50 refused to leave the dining hall after a fight between two prisoners in the yard. When guards tried to ...

California Prosecutor Fights Deportation Of Paroled Sex Offenders

California Prosecutor Fights Deportation
Of Paroled Sex Offenders

Today, nobody wants to keep paroled sex offenders around. Except the Los Angeles County district attorney, that is.

In an odd "man bites dog" scenario, the district attorney is trying to retain four foreign nationals who were paroled in California after serving ...