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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: April, 2005

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Volume 16, Number 4

In this issue:

  1. Abu Ghraib's Stain on Military Medicine (p 1)
  2. New Jersey County Settles With Imprisoned Deaf Man For $175,000 (p 7)
  3. From the Editor (p 8)
  4. PLN's ADX Censorship Suit Partially Survives Motion to Dismiss (p 9)
  5. Wisconsin Enacts Law, Prison Reforms Regarding Sex Assaults (p 10)
  6. California Establishes Statewide Hepatitis-C Management Program (p 12)
  7. Wisconsin County Pays $6.95 Million To Settle Strip-Search Suit (p 13)
  8. Four Guards Suspended By CCA Following Their Murder of Prisoner in Tennessee Jail (p 14)
  9. Five Homicides In L.A. County Jail Blamed On Security Lapses; 25 Sheriff's Deputies May Be Disciplined (p 16)
  10. PLN Wins Washington DOC Bulk Mail Suit, Again (p 18)
  11. Untreated Dental Infection Kills California Prisoner (p 20)
  12. Nine California Guards Fired For Prisoner Assaults (p 21)
  13. CCA Pays House Majority Leader’s Personal Charity $100,000 (p 22)
  14. New Federal Civil Rights Tax Relief Act Ends Double Taxation On Attorney Fee Awards (p 22)
  15. Phone Companies Gouge California Jail Prisoners' Families (p 23)
  16. California Criminal Fine Surcharges Ruled Ex Post Facto (p 24)
  17. New Federal Civil Rights Tax Relief Act Ends Double Taxation On Attorney Fee Awards (p 24)
  18. New York Legislator Pays For CSC-Chauffeured Rides (p 26)
  19. Concubine and Children Cannot Sue for Wrongful Death of Federal Prisoner (p 26)
  20. California Awards MCI WorldCom Another Sole-Source Prisoner Phone Contract (p 27)
  21. Louisiana Jail Settles Suicide Suit For $3 Million (p 28)
  22. California Youth Authority Fires Six For Pummeling Prisoners And Filing False Reports (p 28)
  23. Court Holds Florida's Administrative Processing Fee is Constitutional (p 29)
  24. Florida's Faith-Based Programs Under Watchful Eyes (p 30)
  25. $40,000 To Settle Excessive Force Claim At Los Angeles County Jail (p 31)
  26. Rhode Island Prisoner Awarded $3,900 for False Imprisonment (p 32)
  27. Texas State Equipment and Employees Used for Private Prison Labor Lobbying (p 32)
  28. Georgia Prison Official Immune, Prison Nurse Not, in Prisoner's Suicide (p 33)
  29. Race-Based California Prison Job Lockout May Violate Equal Protection (p 34)
  30. Illinois Appeals Court Reinstates Prisoner's Disciplinary Mandamus Petition (p 34)
  31. New Jersey DOC Liable for Prisoner Death Caused by CMS (p 35)
  32. No Miranda Error During FBI Office Interrogation Where Parolee Knew He Was Free To Leave (p 36)
  33. Fifth Circuit Allows Sexual-Orientation Discrimination in Texas Prisoner Rape Suit (p 37)
  34. Ohio Appeals Court Upholds $7,820 Award for 70 Days Unlawful Incarceration (p 38)
  35. D.C. Prisoner Receives $19,500 Settlement for Slip-and-Fall (p 38)
  36. BOP Good-Time Statute Upheld By Three Circuits (p 39)
  37. First Circuit Rejects Interlocutory Appeal for Authorities Accused of Frame-Up (p 40)
  38. Heck Doesn't Apply to Parole Revocation Incarceration Without Attorney or Hearing (p 41)
  39. News in Brief (p 42)
  40. Triple-Dipping Jail Psychiatrist Fired For Past Medicare Fraud Conviction (p 44)

Abu Ghraib's Stain on Military Medicine

by Steven H. Miles, MD

This article examines the relationship of military medical personnel to abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. It is based on testimony before the US Senate and House, 1,2 US government policy documents,3-7 US armed forces' policies,8-12 US Army investigations of abuses,13-17 trial documents,18-23 human rights groups' investigations,24-26 and news media accounts. These documents suggest that the military medical system and its personnel failed to protect the human rights of detainees, sometimes collaborated with interrogators or abusive guards, and failed to properly report injuries or deaths caused by torture. The emerging evidence of the relationship of military medicine to these abuses deserves a full investigation and has profound implications.

The Policies

As the Bush administration planned to retaliate against Al Queda for the terrorist attacks on the US, it was reluctant to accept that the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War would apply to Al Queda detainees at Guantanamo and Afghanistan.24 Policy documents shed light on their reasoning. A January 2002 Department of Justice memorandum to the Department of Defense concluded that international treaties and ...

New Jersey County Settles With Imprisoned Deaf Man For $175,000

On November 20, 2003, Mercer County, New Jersey, agreed to pay $175,000 to a deaf man who was imprisoned at the Mercer County Detention Center (MCDC) without appropriate accommodations and appeared before a county court without an interpreter. The County also agreed to provide injunctive relief.

On September 10, 1994, Ronald Chisolm, a deaf man who reads and writes English poorly, has limited lip-reading skills, and communicates primarily in American Sign Language (ASL), was driving in Mercer County with his roommate, Kenneth Knight, when he was pulled over and arrested by local police on an outstanding warrant. Knight, who knew only a little sign language, tried to explain what was going on but Chisolm did not understand. At MCDC, Chisolm and Knight requested a TDD (telecommunication device for the deaf), but none was provided. Jailers then misclassified Chisolm as a vagrant and a nurse labeled him a suicide risk because he cried and flailed his arms in frustration when he could not communicate. As a result, Chisolm was placed in solitary confinement where he remained for four days.

In the meantime, Knight contacted Clara R. Smit, an attorney who specializes in deaf issues and is fluent in ASL. Smit ...

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

With last month's issue of PLN we reached an all time circulation high of 4,051 subscribers. This is the most subscribers PLN has ever had. Considering we started with 75 subscribers in 1990, that is a lot of growth. But considering there are over 2.2 million people locked up in American prisons, jails, civil commitment centers, juvenile and immigration detention facilities and military prisons, this is a small number indeed.

Increasing our circulation has been an ongoing project since we started. With increased circulation comes lower per issue printing and postage costs. More importantly comes greater impact and a wider dissemination of the vital information we distribute. A lack of funds has prevented us from doing sample mailings and other measures that would boost our readership.

A key component to PLN's goal of public education around prison and jail issues is and has been the internet. In recent months we have revamped our website with the professional assistance of our web designer, Carlos Batista. We are adding many new features on an ongoing basis that will both serve our existing readers and bring our message to many more people.

Within the next few ...

PLN's ADX Censorship Suit Partially Survives Motion to Dismiss

PLN's ADX Censorship Suit Partially
Survives Motion to Dismiss

by Bob Williams


On November 12, 2004, Colorado Federal District Court Judge Wiley Daniel dismissed all official capacity claims, one defendant, and one substantive claim in PLN's suit over ADX censorship of PLN. The court allowed PLN to proceed on one individual capacity claim against the remaining defendants.

In 2003 Prison Legal News (PLN) filed a Bivens suit against the former (Michael Pugh) and current (Robert Hood) wardens of the Administrative Maximum (ADX) facility in Florence, Colorado, and the current (Harley Lappin) and former (Kathleen Hawk Sawyer) directors of the Bureau of Prisoners (BOP), each in their official and individual capacities. The two claims raised were the unconstitutional censorship of ten monthly issues of PLN as (1) promoting violence and (2) being inmate to inmate" correspondence. Injunctive and declaratory relief as well as monetary damages were sought. [See: PLN, Feb. 2004, p. 15]

On March 15, 2004, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), claiming sovereign immunity, mootness, lack of personal participation, qualified immunity and statute of limitations.

Sovereign Immunity. Suing government officials in their official capacity is tantamount to ...

Wisconsin Enacts Law, Prison Reforms Regarding Sex Assaults

by Michael Rigby


On August 31, 2004, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC) announced it would immediately implement sweeping policy changes in the way it views and handles staff-on-prisoner sexual assaults. The reforms come a year after legislation was enacted criminalizing sex between guards and prisoners, and more than 18 months after the Department made headlines for sentencing to a year in segregation a mentally ill prisoner impregnated by a guard.

Pursuant to the changes, prison employees will receive training about the new law, under which guards convicted of sexual assault can be fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to a maximum of 40 years prison; prison investigators will undergo standardized training; all allegations of sexual misconduct will be referred to law enforcement; prison staff will be required to report sexual misconduct by any employee; prison administrators will be required to keep central records of all allegations, investigations, and dispositions of sexual assault cases involving staff; and prisoners reporting sexual assaults will no longer be segregated, but will either be transferred to another unit or the accused guard will be reassigned. (Department administrators can still order a prisoner segregated in limited circumstances).

Hallelujah," said Todd Winstrom, an attorney with ...

California Establishes Statewide Hepatitis-C Management Program

by John E. Dannenberg


The California Department of Corrections (CDC) Health Care Services Division instituted a statewide Hepatitis-C Clinical Management Program (Program) in March, 2004. The Program draws from the prototype HCV protocol developed under federal court order at Pelican Bay State Prison and a similar program recently begun at San Quentin State Prison. The Program is in response to the settlement in Plata v. Davis, (U.S.D.C., N.D. Cal., Case No. C 01-1351-1EH), a statewide prison medical care suit brought on behalf of all CDC prisoners by the non-profit Prison Law Office, San Quentin, California. The Program's stated purpose is to ensure a consistent, appropriate, effective and efficient approach to the clinical management of persons infected with HCV." As such, it should bring to an end the mixed bag" of treatment protocols that has characterized CDC's treatment of its estimated 64,000 infected prisoners (40% HCV infection rate). (See: PLN, May, 2004, p.1, Prisons Nationwide Fail to Treat HCV Epidemic.)

The Program's three phases are Screening and Diagnosis," Initial Management After Diagnosis Of HCV," and Staging By Liver Biopsy And Combination Therapy.

Phase I offers HCV screening to all prisoner-patients who request ...

Wisconsin County Pays $6.95 Million To Settle Strip-Search Suit

by Michael Rigby

St. Croix County, Wisconsin, and its insurer has paid $6.95 million to settle a federal class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the county jail's blanket strip-search policy, according to the terms of a February 27, 2004, settlement agreement.
The two named plaintiffs, D.B. and ...

Four Guards Suspended By CCA Following Their Murder of Prisoner in Tennessee Jail

Four Guards Suspended By CCA Following Their
Murder of Prisoner in Tennessee Jail

by Matthew T. Clarke

Four male CCA Guards have been placed on paid administrative leave following their murder of a female prisoner at the CCA-run Metro-Davidson County Detention Center (MDCD) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Estelle Richardson, 34, a prisoner in MDCD, was found on the floor of her cell by emergency personnel responding to a call placed at 5:37 a.m. on July 5, 2004, saying that a female prisoner was injured and needed medical help. Richardson had been in an altercation with a guard or guards in her isolation cell the previous morning. Richardson's death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy revealed that she died from blunt trauma" to the head which caused a skull fracture and had also suffered internal injuries. Richardson had been indicted for the non-violent offense of food stamp fraud and was charged with probation violation.

CCA placed guards Joshua D. Stockman, 23; Keith Andre Hendricks, 35; William Wood, 26; and Jeremy Nesse, 24, on paid administrative leave after the ruling. Stockman, who had been with CCA a little more than a year, has studied martial arts and had previous ...

Five Homicides In L.A. County Jail Blamed On Security Lapses; 25 Sheriff's Deputies May Be Disciplined

Five Homicides In L.A. County Jail Blamed On Security Lapses;
25 Sheriff's Deputies May Be Disciplined

by Marvin Mentor


After investigating five brutal prisoner-on-prisoner slayings in a six month period inside the Los Angeles (L.A.), California County Jails, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors reported that L.A. County Sheriff's deputies fell down on the job" by allowing huge lapses in jail security. The lapses and policy violations may lead to twenty-five deputies being disciplined.

With a daily prisoner population of 18,000, L.A. County's jail system is the size of 31/2 California state prisons. It houses misdemeanants and felons of all degrees of dangerousness, 6,400 of whom are in the aging Men's Central Jail. Sheriff Lee Baca was called on the carpet when gaping holes in jail security permitted rival gang members access to each other and permitted mutual access to informants and the defendants they were testifying against with predictably fatal results. While two in-jail murders per year had been the County Jail's average," five in the six month interval from October, 2003 to April, 2004 triggered major investigations.

Killings In Dorms

The first killing was on ...

PLN Wins Washington DOC Bulk Mail Suit, Again

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court's ruling below (and permanent injunction) that the Washington DOC (WA DOC) policy of prohibiting prisoners' receipt of standard rate mail (AKA bulk mail) and catalogs with no notice to the sender or intended recipient violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of Prison Legal News. While the Ninth Circuit upheld WA DOC's defense of qualified immunity as to the bulk mail claim, it denied WA DOC's similar defense for its policy restricting delivery of third-party legal materials, noting that the facts were seriously in dispute as to whether WA DOC's motive in so doing was intentionally discriminatory against PLN, and remanded that question to the trial court for factual resolution by trial.

PLN has now brought, and won, four federal cases against WA DOC over bulk mail issues. See: Miniken v. Walter, 978 F.Supp. 1356 (E.D. W A 1997); MacFarlane v. Walter, No 96-cv-03102-LRS (E.D. WA 1997); Humanists of Washington v. Lehman, No. 97-cv-05499-FDB-JKA (W.D. W A 1999) and the case being appealed here, PLN v. Lehman, 272 F.Supp.2d 1151 (WD WA 2003). PLN has also ...

Untreated Dental Infection Kills California Prisoner

A 41 year-old prisoner at the California State Prison (Solano) in Vacaville died six days after having a tooth extracted, when prison medical staff failed to treat his resulting infection.

Anthony Shumake, sentenced to 12 years, 8 months in 2000, had an abscessed tooth pulled on June 22,2004. Unfortunately, an infection set in - so severe that he could not swallow for several days nor eat for six days. Prison doctors did not find that Shumake needed emergency medical care, but they found he did need care that Solano could not provide. By then, Shumake's symptoms were that his neck was swollen and red in color down to his clavicle" and that he was also spitting up gray sputum.

In spite of the fact that the Vacaville area has a prison hospital (California Medical Facility) and area community hospitals, Shumake was finally taken by life-support ambulance - on oxygen - for a two-hour, 76 mile drive to (prison-contracted) Doctor's Hospital in Manteca. One reason that Solano may have avoided using a local hospital is that the prison is currently being sued for $18 million in unpaid hospital bills.

At the hospital, Shumake was given anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics, but went ...

Nine California Guards Fired For Prisoner Assaults

Nine guards at California's maximum security Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), including some belonging to the Green Wall" satanic gang of rogue guards, were fired on November 8, 2004 as a disciplinary action for allegedly assaulting a prisoner and then conspiring to keep the beating secret. A tenth official was demoted.

The assault occurred in October 2003, when prisoner Henry Stephen Serrano refused to leave an exercise cage and return to his cell. Guard Walter Faulkner, leading the charge to remove Serrano, told other guards in a surveillance tower to turn off the video cameras and recording devices before they entered Serrano's cage. Serrano was then pushed to the ground, where other guards proceeded to beat him up. One guard kicked Serrano while he was pinned down, according to former Warden Ed Caden, who since retired and became a whistleblower. Afterwards, the guards and their superiors conspired to cover up the beating. None of the staff filed the required use of force" forms. The supervisors instructed the guards to lie to investigators. When the assault was referred for prosecution, the Monterey County District Attorney's Office was unable to press charges because none of the guards would talk ...

CCA Pays House Majority Leader’s Personal Charity $100,000

By Matthew T. Clarke

In August, 2004, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) gave House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, (R) Sugar Land, Texas, a check for $100,000 for his DeLay Foundation for Kids during a Lexington, Kentucky, political fund raiser for DeLay’s defense fund organized by Representative Hal Rogers, senior congressman from Kentucky. The event also raised $113,000 in donations to the defense fund.

DeLay has been under fire for questionable fund raising since three of his political aides were indicted for money laundering and illegally using corporate money to influence elections in Texas. The September 21, 2004, indictments resulted in large legal expenses for DeLay, who is seeking to avoid indictment himself. Thus far, DeLay has spent tens of thousands of dollars on defense lawyers with no end in sight. That may not be a problem since DeLay’s defense fund raised over $400,000 between July and December, 2004.

CCA donated nearly $180,000 to politicians for federal elections during 2004. DeLay received $4,500 for political contributions from CCA in 2004, while Rogers received $6,000. CCA is the largest, for profit, private prison company in the world with more than 65,000 prisoners under ...

New Federal Civil Rights Tax Relief Act Ends Double Taxation On Attorney Fee Awards

California Drug Possession" Disciplinary Satisfied By Positive Urine Test


The California Court of Appeal held that a positive urine test for THC (marijuana) was some evidence" sufficient to uphold a prison disciplinary finding of possession" of drugs. However, because the higher burden of proof required for a misdemeanor or felony conviction for drug possession was not met here, the 130 day prison disciplinary credit loss assessment was reduced to 30 days, the maximum allowable without a criminal conviction.

Jason Dikes, a state prisoner at California State Prison, Solano serving eight years for drug offenses, tested positive for THC in a random drug test he was subjected to. Based upon the test results, he was administratively convicted of possession" of a controlled substance in violation of prison regulation 15 CCR § 3016(a), and was assessed 130 days loss of good-time credits. He successfully petitioned the Solano Superior Court, which granted his writ upon a finding that the evidence was insufficient to sustain the disciplinary charges of possession.

The Court of Appeal reversed, relying upon Superintendent v. Hill, 472 U.S. 445, 447 (1985) for the proposition that only some evidence" was needed to uphold a disciplinary finding against a state prisoner ...

Phone Companies Gouge California Jail Prisoners' Families

by John E. Dannenberg


In a scenario reminiscent of the Spy versus Spy" cartoon, phone companies are gouging California jail prisoners' families with outlandish collect call rates, while prisoners are defrauding the phone companies by taking advantage of new computerized phones to clandestinely bill their defense attorneys for collect calls cleverly rerouted elsewhere.

An Associated Press investigation revealed that the average California county jail prisoner's local phone calls home cost more than seven times as much as a 50 cent pay-phone call, yielding over $120 million per year in trappings to the phone companies. From this pot, the phone companies pay nearly 50% in kickbacks to the counties for the privilege of gouging their customers - the jail phone contract going to the highest bidder of kickbacks. The annual payola to Los Angeles County alone runs nearly $17 million per year.

Perhaps the greater crime is that the burden of such calls falls upon the lower income families whose members most often land in jail. Worse yet is that when these costs become prohibitive, family contact is lost and the prisoners' broken lifeline to the community only deepens their chances of becoming stuck" in the system. Charles Carbone, an attorney ...

California Criminal Fine Surcharges Ruled Ex Post Facto

The California Court of Appeals determined that surcharges on fines levied upon criminal convictions were ex post facto where the laws establishing the surcharges were punitive and were enacted after the crimes had been committed.

Daniel High was convicted of property and drug offenses suffering eleven years in prison plus various fines, fees and penalties. On appeal, he asked that lately enacted punitive surcharges on such fines be stricken because the enabling statutes became effective after his crimes were committed. Specifically, he challenged the application as to him of Penal Code § 1465.7 [20% surcharge on base fines] and Government Code § 70372 [state court facilities construction penalty].

The court focused on the ex post facto principle makes more burdensome the punishment for a crime, after its commission" [citing Beazell v. Ohio (1925) 269 U.S. 167]. Timing was not in question here. The inquiry was whether the surcharges were truly punitive or merely regulatory/civil in intent. Relying upon People v. Rivera, (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 705, the court was to be guided first by the declared purpose of the legislature and the structure and design of the statutes. If that failed to adequately inform the court, the challenging ...

New Federal Civil Rights Tax Relief Act Ends Double Taxation On Attorney Fee Awards

by John E. Dannenberg


On October 22, 2004, President Bush signed into law the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act (CRTRA), enacted as section 703 of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. While the CRTRA was intended to provide relief from double taxation of attorney fees owed prevailing plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, a close examination of the statutory language shows that it also applies to other civil rights actions. The double taxation liability accrues first to the prevailing plaintiff who must declare the total award (i.e., damages plus attorney fees) on his or her income taxes, and later, to the attorney when they declare just the fee portion as income.

The full scope of the CRTRA is enumerated in newly added paragraph 19 to subsection (a) of section 62 of section 703 (Civil Rights Tax Relief), wherein the term unlawful discrimination" is defined in terms of applying specific civil rights statutes. Notably, for prisoner litigants, the list includes Section 501 or 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 791 or 794); Section 1977, 1979 or 1980 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. § 1981, 1983 or 1985); Section 703, 704 or 717 of ...

New York Legislator Pays For CSC-Chauffeured Rides

A New York State Assemblyman has been sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and restitution for unlawfully billing the state for rides he got for free from Correctional Services Corporation (CSC). The sentence was imposed after Roger Green, a veteran Brooklyn Democrat, pleaded guilty to two counts of petty larceny and one count of offering a false instrument.

Green's legal problems resulted from an investigation of free transportation provided to lawmakers by the scandal-plagued CSC. According to Albany County prosecutors, Green, 54, billed the state for travel expenses he never incurred while being chauffeured from Brooklyn to Albany in CSC vans. Green filed fake claims for about 30 trips, they said.

Green, along with many other current and former state legislators, also wrote letters to New York officials advocating extensions of CSC's state contracts for halfway house services. Between 1992 and 2000, the state, paid CSC $25.4 million for those services.

Green was nearly jailed in April 2004 for not paying a $2,000 fine in the case. Green had claimed he was too tapped to pay, but finally coughed up the money on April 29, two days after an ...

Concubine and Children Cannot Sue for Wrongful Death of Federal Prisoner

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a concubine and her children could not sue for damages resulting from the cancer death of federal prisoner Jose Miguel Ruiz.

This action was brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1346, against the United States in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida. First, the District Court held Luz Gonzelez lacked standing to sue for any wrongs inflicted on Ruiz, or for any emotional distress she may have suffered as a result thereof. Gonzelez contended she could bring the claims because she was either Ruiz's common-law wife or his concubine more uxorio" under Puerto Rican law.

In affirming the district court, the Eleventh Circuit held that because the alleged wrongful acts occurred in Florida, Florida law including Florida choice of law rules governs the action. Florida law directed the court to consider Puerto Rican law to see whether Gonzelez qualifies as Ruiz's common law spouse. Rather than examine that law, the court affirmed because Gonzelez has provided us with no authority, however, to suggest that Puerto Rico recognizes common law marriage. Moreover, while she may have held concubine more uxorio status ...

California Awards MCI WorldCom Another Sole-Source Prisoner Phone Contract

by Marvin Mentor


The California Department of Corrections (CDC) awarded a sole-source contract to MCI WorldCom (MCI) for all CDC prisoner phones. The October 29, 2004 agreement covers four years, with options for up to two one-year extensions. Significantly, CDC entered into the contract with no input from its prisoner users or their families even those few remaining phone call recipients who have accounts with MCI. Prior contracts with MCI and Verizon expired in February, 2005.

The new contract provides that in-state long distance rates will be reduced by 20% (from what has been $.93 per minute), but out-of-state rates will remain unchanged. Future rate reductions are provided for when call volumes increase (reviewed annually). MCI will also provide newer technology equipment that includes Personal Identification Number capability, which CDC might use in the future. MCI will upgrade equipment at its current sites.

According to Lorretta Fine, CDC's Telecommunications Branch (TB) Chief, the new contract is designed to aid CDC investigative staff. Statewide reports on telephone use can be generated. Auto-archiving will be done on MCI computers. Call detail records and voice recordings will be accessible for the life of the contract. MCI will provide computer workstations for investigative ...

Louisiana Jail Settles Suicide Suit For $3 Million

On June 10, 2004, the City of Shreveport, Louisiana, agreed to pay $3 million to settle a lawsuit arising from the suicide death of a prisoner in. the city's jail.

Frances Loggins, 48, was arrested for public drunkenness and taken to the Shreveport City Jail on July 5, 2002 ...

California Youth Authority Fires Six For Pummeling Prisoners And Filing False Reports

On September 10, 2004, six California Youth Authority (CYA) Correctional Counselors (guards) were fired for using excessive force" in beating two prisoners at a Stockton, California youth prison on January 20, 2004, and then falsifying the reports. The San Joaquin County prosecutor and the State Attorney General declined criminal prosecution of the guards.

In nationally publicized footage from video cameras inside the N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility, two of the counselors [who are peace officers and members of the powerful prison guards union (CCPOA)] were filmed pummeling the two youths long after they had been subdued. Counselor Delwin Brown struck 28 blows to the side of the head of handcuffed prisoner Narcisco Morales while sitting on top of the face-down youth. Counselor Marcel Berry was observed kicking subdued and restrained prisoner Vincent Baker in the face, while driving his knee repeatedly into Baker's neck. The remaining four counselors, Linda Bridges, Steve Chiu, Danny Torrez and Robert Dutra, were fired for pepper spraying the prisoners after they were subdued and/or for filing false, self-serving reports on the incident.

The melee apparently began when prisoner Morales punched one of the counselors in the face in his office, bloodying and ...

Court Holds Florida's Administrative Processing Fee is Constitutional

by David M. Reutter

On December 21, 2004, Florida's Leon County Circuit Court held that a 2004 law that imposed an administrative processing fee on monies deposited into prisoner accounts does not violate the Florida Constitution's single-subject rule. The December 2004 PLN reported the enactment of this law and ensuing lawsuit.

Before the Court was summary judgment motions filed by both parties. This class action suit was brought against the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) by prisoners Jesus Scull and John O'Callaghan. The lead plaintiff was Kindred Spirits Charitable Trust, who is dedicated to addressing the spiritual and emotional needs of Florida's prisoners and their families.

The Court said it had three issues to determine. The first concerned the standing of the plaintiffs. The Court said there is no doubt Scull and O'Callaghan had standing, as their meager prisoner accounts, comprised of funds they receive from Kindred Spirits, are directly and adversely affected by the imposition of the processing fee, which will substantially reduce their available funds. Kindred Spirits, however, had no standing to bring the suit. In so holding, the Court said Kindred Spirits gave the funds to the prisoners and no longer had ...

Florida's Faith-Based Programs Under Watchful Eyes

by David M. Reutter


With budget cuts eliminating its substance abuse programs and most educational programs in its prisons, the State of Florida is turning to religious groups to rehabilitate its prisoners. Since 1995, Florida's prison population has exploded from 62,000 prisoners to its current population of 80,000 which nets the Florida Department of Corrections (F.D.O.C.) a $1.7 billion annual budget. Over that same period, FDOC's substance abuse programs have been eliminated despite the fact that at least 80% of all Florida prisoners have substance addictions. Moreover, despite the fact prisoners have a median educational grade of 6.5, basic education and vocational programs have been cut as FDOC adjusts to representing 8.0% of the states budget compared with 8.6% in 1997-98. That has resulted in money flowing from religious groups to the state.

At a December 12, 2003, White-House sponsored news conference in Tampa, which was organized to highlight President Bush's attempts to give religious organizations a greater role in solving social problems, Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced the FDOC would house 800 prisoners at Lawtey Correctional Institution (L.C.I.) that volunteered for the faith-based program.

To ...

$40,000 To Settle Excessive Force Claim At Los Angeles County Jail

In September, 2004, the Los Angeles County Claims Board (Board) agreed
to pay $40,000 to settle an excessive force claim brought by a prisoner injured at the L.A. County Main Jail.

On March 17, 2002, prisoner Joseph Amezola was protectively housed in the 2500 Module of the Main ...

Rhode Island Prisoner Awarded $3,900 for False Imprisonment

A Rhode Island jury awarded a prisoner $3,900 for false imprisonment on April 21, 2004. In August 1994, William Ross was incarcerated and held by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC) on a minor larceny charge.

During his incarceration, the State of Oklahoma issued a warrant for his ...

Texas State Equipment and Employees Used for Private Prison Labor Lobbying

by Matthew T. Clarke


Republican State Representative Ray Allen of Grand Prairie, Texas, Chairman of the Texas House Corrections Committee, has been using his state employees and state equipment to operate a private firm that specializes in consulting and lobbying for the private prison industry. Allen's company, called Service House, has one client: the National Correctional Industries Association, a promoter of programs designed to use prisoner labor in private business.

Allen, 53, is known as a conservative Republican who is very pro-gun and anti-abortion. He took a leading role in passing the 1995 law that allowed Texans to carry concealed firearms.

Two government watchdog groups have criticized Allen for his practices of using state employees and equipment to further his private company. For instance, Scott Gilmore, Allen's top aide, was paid by the state while he was traveling around the U.S. doing paid consulting and lobbying for the prison factory industry. In another incident, a letter to a lobbying client was found stored on a state computer used by ex-Allen employee Tedrah Hutchins, who left Allen's office in June, 2004 for another state job. Hutchins also used the state computer system's email to send a ...

Georgia Prison Official Immune, Prison Nurse Not, in Prisoner's Suicide

by Robert H. Woodman


The Court of Appeals of Georgia, Second Division, affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the Gwinnett Superior Court in a case brought against a prison official, a prison nurse, and other defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort law claims for the suicide of a Georgia state prisoner.

Brent Barwick was incarcerated in the Phillips State Prison on July 6, 1998, for a parole violation. On August 30, 1998, Barwick attempted suicide by deliberately cutting his foot on his cell toilet. Barwick was hospitalized then released to a mental health unit where he was allowed to self-medicate with acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol®). The mental health unit, operated under contract with the Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) by the Medical College of Georgia (MCG), kept no log of how many pills prisoners were given and did not require prisoners to ingest the pills in the presence of staff. According to prisoner witnesses, Barwick talked daily about suicide. Prisoners reported this to mental health staff and told staff that Barwick was hoarding pills; however, nothing came of these reports.

On September 29, 1998, Barwick ingested 110 acetaminophen pills that he ...

Race-Based California Prison Job Lockout May Violate Equal Protection

by John E. Dannenberg


A divided panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that during a California prison partial lockdown limited to two ethnic populations, prison officials' exclusion from early return-to-work of pre-screened critical" prisoner workers solely because of their race, did not rise under the facts of the case to the prison officials' claimed level of a rational connection to a legitimate penological interest. While thus reversing the district court's grant below of summary judgment for the prison officials, the Ninth Circuit noted the officials were nonetheless protected by qualified immunity.

Jamel Walker is a black Lead Law Library Clerk at Calipatria State Prison. In 1994 and 1995, Calipatria experienced numerous lockdowns due to prisoner on prisoner violence as well as assaults on staff. Because the perpetrators were mostly black and Hispanic, prison officials often locked down just those two populations, pending completion of an investigation. However, during a lockdown, Calipatria's procedure calls for escorting non-involved prisoners to their job assignments if their names appear on a critical workers" list. As the investigation/review process proceeds, additional screened critical workers," even those within designated racial groups may be cleared for work. [Editor's ...

Illinois Appeals Court Reinstates Prisoner's Disciplinary Mandamus Petition

The Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District, held that prisoner in the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) had adequately stated causes of action for mandamus relief pertaining to disciplinary sanctions imposed against him.

On September 11, 2002, William Cannon, Jr., a prisoner at the Pontiac Correctional Center, was issued a disciplinary citation for yelling to another prisoner while standing inside his cell door. The guard who issued the citation, Michael Burger, told Cannon the citation was for violating a January 1, 2002, memorandum prohibiting excessive noise. On September 17, 2002, and again on September 29, 2002, Burger issued Cannon additional citations for excessive noise. Cannon was found guilty of all three disciplinary infractions.

In November 2002, Cannon filed a grievance relating to all three disciplinary cases. The grievance was denied and Cannon filed a pro se petition for mandamus relief alleging multiple violations of DOC rules and his due process rights. On September 26, 2003, the same day he filed it, the Circuit Court of Livingston County denied Cannon's petition for failing to state a cause of action. The sua sponte dismissal came in a docket entry consisting of three terse sentences. Cannon appealed.

On appeal, the Appellate Court ...

New Jersey DOC Liable for Prisoner Death Caused by CMS

by Robert H. Woodman

The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, partly affirming a New Jersey prisoner's estate's suit, held that the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) could be held liable for the negligence of Correctional Medical Services (CMS) in treating a prisoner's medical condition, resulting in the prisoner's death.

Tyrone Neal was a DOC prisoner in February 1997 at the East Jersey State Prison when he was diagnosed with a medical condition known as Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria with hemolytic episode" (PNH). The illness is a breakdown of the red blood cells. Treatment requires prednisone. The only known cure is a bone marrow transplant. After discharge from the hospital, the DOC administered prednisone until May 1997, then quit. In June 1997, Neal transferred to the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center (MCACC) for sentencing on an unrelated charge. While there, he repeatedly completed medical request forms for treatment, but MCACC physicians refused to administer prednisone to Neal. On August 1, 1997, Neal died of PNH.

Neal's estate and his daughter, Tymirah Scott-Neal sued the DOC, MCACC, and CMS, but none of the individuals involved, under New Jersey state law claims and 42 U.S ...

No Miranda Error During FBI Office Interrogation Where Parolee Knew He Was Free To Leave

by John E. Dannenberg


An en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held that no Miranda violation occurred in failing to suppress an interrogee's statement taken in the office of the FBI, where the person knew he was free to leave. The court further held that no Fourth Amendment violation occurred where the interrogee, a California state parolee, had signed a Fourth Waiver" [consent to search by any law enforcement officer] as a condition of parole.

In 1998, FBI agent David Bowdich, while investigating a February 10, 1998 armed bank robbery in San Diego, California, was informed that a Ralphy Rabbit" was involved. This led Bowdich in 2000 to Raphyal Crawford, a California parolee. After talking with Crawford's parole agent, Carl Berner, Bowdich scheduled a parole search" accompanied by four state police. Crawford had moved twice in the two years following the robbery. But Bowdich never intended to find evidence at Crawford's apartment. Rather, he used the search as a pretext to talk about the bank robbery.

The search occurred on July 27, 2000, when the five cops found Crawford asleep with his wife and 18 month-old daughter. The four state police ...

Fifth Circuit Allows Sexual-Orientation Discrimination in Texas Prisoner Rape Suit

by Matthew T. Clarke


The Fifth Circuit court of appeals held that a homosexual prisoner who prison officials allegedly allowed to be repeatedly sexually assaulted and made a sex slave may sue the prison officials for both failures to protect him in violation of the Eighth Amendment and discrimination based upon sexual orientation in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

Roderick Keith Johnson, a former Texas state prisoner, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in federal district court against various prison officials alleging they denied him protection from physical and sexual assault. [PLN Oct. 2002, p. 20]. Margaret Winters, Associate Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project (NPP) and the NPP's Craig Cowie represented Johnson.

Johnson is black, homosexual, and of slight build and effeminate manner. He was imprisoned 18 months at the Allred Unit. At the time of his incarceration, Allred was infamous for being gang-infested and extremely violent. Johnson alleged that prison gangs made him a sex slave, buying and selling him like chattel. He was allegedly raped, abused and degraded on a daily basis. Johnson filed numerous grievances and life-endangerment" forms. He also wrote letters to prison officials complaining of his treatment. Johnson ...

Ohio Appeals Court Upholds $7,820 Award for 70 Days Unlawful Incarceration

By Robert H. Woodman

The Tenth District Court of Appeals of Ohio upheld a $7,820 damages award by the Ohio Court of Claims to Alton M. Stroud, a prisoner of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DORC). In its 2-1 decision, the appeals court found that DORC “may ...

D.C. Prisoner Receives $19,500 Settlement for Slip-and-Fall

The United States and the District of Columbia agreed on June 4, 2004, to pay Robert M. North $19,500 for injuries he received from falling down a set of stairs while handcuffed. North was arrested on Thanksgiving Day 2000 by Federal Marshals. Since all federal buildings were closed for ...

BOP Good-Time Statute Upheld By Three Circuits

by John E. Dannenberg


The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a U.S. District Court ruling that had accorded BOP prisoners 54 days good-time credit per year, holding instead that the maximum credit available is only 47 days per year. In separate cases, the First and Third Circuit Court of Appeals likewise held BOP prisoners are only entitled to 47 days of good time credits per year.

Yancy White had won a writ of habeas corpus awarding him 540 days maximum good-time credit against his ten year BOP sentence, after having complained that Warden Joseph Scibana misinterpreted the good-time credit statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1) to allow White only 470 days. See: White v. Scibana, 314 F.Supp.2d 834 (W.D. Wis. 2004); PLN, Sept. 2004, p.23.

The district court had based its ruling upon a construction of § 3624(b)(1)'s language term of imprisonment" wherein it held that one year of imprisonment" meant one year of a sentence," i.e., inclusive of earned good-time credits. In so doing, the district court disagreed with regulation 28 C.F.R. § 523.20 that BOP had promulgated based upon its reading of § 3624 ...

First Circuit Rejects Interlocutory Appeal for Authorities Accused of Frame-Up

by Robert H. Woodman


In a case involving charges of frame-up and cover-up by former Massachusetts and federal authorities brought by former Massachusetts state prisoners, their family members, estates, and survivors, the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and rejected defendants' interlocutory appeal on grounds of qualified immunity and lack of favorable termination under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).

Edward Teddy" Deegan was murdered in 1965. In 1968, the State of Massachusetts convicted Peter Limone, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo of Deegan's execution and sentenced them to death but later commuted these sentences to life in prison. All three men steadfastly maintained their innocence and fought for decades to prove it, but their repeated appeals were rejected, because the evidence against them testimony by informant Joseph Baron" Barboza was so strong.

Barboza and another man, Vincent Jimmy" Flemmi, were working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Boston Police Department (BPD), and the Chelsea Police Department (CPD) as organized crime (the mob) informants. FBI agents H. Paul Rico, Dennis Condon, John Morris, and John Connolly, supervised by then Special Agent in Charge James Handley ...

Heck Doesn't Apply to Parole Revocation Incarceration Without Attorney or Hearing

The Tenth Circuit court of appeals has held that a prisoner who claims he was denied an attorney or court hearing for 73 days while awaiting extradition for parole revocation need not show that the revocation had been reversed before filing suit.

Steven Roy French, an Oklahoma state prisoner, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging his civil rights were violated when he was held in jail for 73 days without access to an attorney or the courts. French was convicted in Oklahoma, but was serving out his parole in Colorado. On November 13, 2001, he was summoned to his parole officer's office. There she accused him of having flushed" his system of drugs to beat a urinalysis. She arrested him for parole violation.

For the following 73 days, Adams was incarcerated at the Adams County Detention Center in Colorado, awaiting extradition to Oklahoma for parole revocation proceedings. Despite repeated requests, he was neither informed of the specific reason for his incarceration, allowed to meet with an attorney, nor given a hearing. French wrote a local public defender who secured his release. Later he filed suit.

The district court dismissed Fench's suit, reasoning that the suit ...

News in Brief

News in Brief:


Arkansas: On February 6, 2005, real estate developer NGI Rental filed a $2 million lawsuit against sex offender Randall Collins, his wife and the real estate company that allowed the Collins to purchase their home. NGI claims that after Collins moved into the neighborhood sales stopped. The day after the Collins bought the house, police distributed flyers in the neighborhood informing residents that Randall is a convicted sex offender. The lawsuit claims residents said they would move if Collins did not leave and that sales also halted because now the developer must inform potential buyers that a sex offender lives in the area. The suit claims Collins told the developer he was willing to move in exchange for $250,000 or he would stay there and kill their subdivision.

Arkansas: On March 11, 2005, Johnnie Pruett, 27, a guard at the Paragould jail was fired and charged with battery for giving jail prisoner Darryl Bartlett, 19, a laxative after Bartlett requested cold medication. Bartlett developed severe diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pains after consuming the laxatives and during the ordeal Pruett taunted him and asked him if he needed a diaper.

California: On March 14, 2005, Erik Morales ...

Triple-Dipping Jail Psychiatrist Fired For Past Medicare Fraud Conviction

Dr. Kripa Kashyap, 62, a psychiatrist providing treatment to prisoners at the Harford County (Maryland) Detention Center in Bel Air was barred from treating any more prisoners after The Baltimore Sun newspaper revealed his past conviction for Medicare fraud. For the past seven years, Kashyap counseled prisoners and prescribed medications at the jail six hours a week through a contract with ConMed Inc., a private prison medical service company from LaPlata, Maryland.

Until June, 2004, Kashyap was associate clinical director of a state-run institution for the mentally ill in Cantonsville, Maryland, being paid $120,692 a year. He was fired from that job after state auditors discovered that he had been falsifying time sheets to get double pay. The auditors said that Kashyap billed the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene for at least 160 hours he had spent as a private consultant at the state-run Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents in Baltimore while receiving his regular salary from the Department for the same hours. The 160 hours he fraudulently billed amounted to $8,800 between July 2003 and February 2004.

In January 1987, Kashyap pleaded guilty to billing Medicaid for services he did not perform. He was given ...

 

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