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Prison Legal News: October, 2012

Issue PDF
Volume 23, Number 10

In this issue:

  1. Solitary Confinement Subject of Unprecedented Congressional Hearing (p 1)
  2. Solitary Confinement: Bad for Chimps, Okay for Humans? (p 16)
  3. California Female Prisoners Eligible for Early Release, but Disqualified Due to Lack of Local Rehabilitative Services (p 17)
  4. From the Editor (p 18)
  5. Ninth Circuit Judge Who Co-Authored “Torture Memos” Discloses Receipt of $3.4 Million in Legal and Consulting Help (p 19)
  6. The Price to Call Home: State-Sanctioned Monopolization in the Prison Phone Industry (p 20)
  7. Ninth Circuit Holds CAFRA Attorney Fees Should be Paid to Claimant, not Attorney (p 24)
  8. Fifth Circuit Holds Louisiana Prisons Can’t Ban Nation of Islam Newspaper (p 26)
  9. New York Court Upholds Law Requiring Census Count to Use Prisoners’ Pre-Incarceration Address (p 26)
  10. Texas Abolishes Last Meals for Death Row Prisoners, Reduces Weekend Meals (p 28)
  11. Manhattan Prosecutor Who Moonlights as Dominatrix Suspended, Resigns (p 30)
  12. Report Cites Rising Violence, Other Problems at Illinois Maximum-Security Prison (p 30)
  13. Private Prison Monopolies (p 32)
  14. 46 California Prisoners Injured in Disturbance at CCA-run Oklahoma Facility (p 32)
  15. Washington State Post-Judgment Interest Award Required when Judgment Increased by Appellate Court in Records Case (p 34)
  16. Violence in Tennessee Prisons up 20 Percent Under New Commissioner (p 34)
  17. Mug Shot Websites Based on Extortion Business Model (p 36)
  18. Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed., by Mark E. Cammack and Norman M. Garland (Thomson West, 2006). 505 pages, $38.00 (p 38)
  19. Florida: Two Men Sentenced in Prison Canteen Kickback Scheme (p 40)
  20. California Federal Judge Denies Habeas Petitions after Sitting on Them for Years (p 40)
  21. California’s Experiment with Community Correctional Facilities Coming to an End? (p 41)
  22. UTMB Challenges Texas State Audit, while Legislature Imposes $100 Prisoner Health Care Co-Pay (p 42)
  23. Oregon Adopts 5% Prison Trust Fund Account “Service Fee” (p 44)
  24. North Dakota Farmers Help Flush Out Escaped Florida Sex Offender (p 44)
  25. New Hampshire Court Invalidates City’s Sex Offender Residency Ordinance (p 45)
  26. Texas Compensates Exonerees Unequally (p 46)
  27. Fourth Circuit Upholds North Carolina Sheriff’s Bribery Conviction (p 46)
  28. Former Delaware Prisoner Settles Sexual Assault Suit for $287,500 and Policy Changes (p 48)
  29. Criminal Law in a Nutshell, 5th Ed., by Arnold H. Loewy (West Law School, 2009). 387 pages, $38.00 (p 48)
  30. Eight Puerto Rican Prisoners Drown in Flooded Van (p 49)
  31. Oregon Passes Legislation to Move Juveniles Out of Adult Jails (p 50)
  32. Oregon Guard Shoots, Wounds Prisoner; Unreported Earlier Prisoner Murder Exposed (p 50)
  33. News in Brief (p 52)

Solitary Confinement Subject of Unprecedented Congressional Hearing

by Alex Friedmann1

It’s an awful thing, solitary. It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment.

— U.S. Senator John McCain, on his treatment as a P.O.W.2

On June 19, 2012, the U.S. Senate Committee on the ...

Solitary Confinement: Bad for Chimps, Okay for Humans?

Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is a key cosponsor of legislation that, among other provisions, would outlaw psychologically damaging solitary confinement for more than 500 chimpanzees caged for research in federally supported laboratories. In July 2012 the bill bipartisanly passed the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee on its way ...

California Female Prisoners Eligible for Early Release, but Disqualified Due to Lack of Local Rehabilitative Services

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Plata v. Brown, mandating that California take immediate steps to reduce prison overcrowding, state officials have proposed innovative ideas to help accomplish that goal.

One such idea, put forth by state Senator Carol Liu, was subsequently passed by the ...

From the Editor

Over the past 22 years Prison Legal News has been represented by dozens of lawyers around the country in a variety of cases, mostly dealing with censorship and public records requests. We have met many if not most of our attorneys because they subscribed to PLN, based on their interest ...

Ninth Circuit Judge Who Co-Authored “Torture Memos” Discloses Receipt of $3.4 Million in Legal and Consulting Help

In October 2011, the National Law Journal reported that Jay Bybee, a conservative federal judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, had accepted $3.4 million in legal and consulting help from 2007 to 2010 as he defended himself against allegations that he violated ethics rules when, as head ...

The Price to Call Home: State-Sanctioned Monopolization in the Prison Phone Industry

Ed. Note: In April 2011, Prison Legal News published a comprehensive cover story on the prison telephone industry based on two years of research into prison phone contracts, rates and kickbacks nationwide. This article provides a summary and update of issues related to the prison phone industry, including the Wright ...

Ninth Circuit Holds CAFRA Attorney Fees Should be Paid to Claimant, not Attorney

In a case brought under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held on April 26, 2011 that “attorneys fees awarded under CAFRA are payable to the claimant, not the attorney,” but left the total amount of the fees to be decided by the ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Louisiana Prisons Can’t Ban Nation of Islam Newspaper

In 2005, Louisiana prison officials instituted a statewide ban on The Final Call, a newspaper published by the Nation of Islam. The ban was based solely on the content of a statement of beliefs called “The Muslim Program,” located on the last page of each issue of the paper. However ...

New York Court Upholds Law Requiring Census Count to Use Prisoners’ Pre-Incarceration Address

On December 1, 2011, a New York Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit that sought a judicial declaration that a state statute requiring prisoners to be counted for reapportionment purposes in their last known residence prior to their incarceration, rather than in their currently assigned prison, violated the state’s constitution ...

Texas Abolishes Last Meals for Death Row Prisoners, Reduces Weekend Meals

Texas served its final last meal to condemned prisoner Lawrence Russell Brewer, who, on September 21, 2011, was executed for the infamous racially-motivated 1998 dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. Brewer requested an extensive last meal and then didn’t eat any of it, which prompted state Senator John Whitmire, chairman ...

Manhattan Prosecutor Who Moonlights as Dominatrix Suspended, Resigns

by Matt Clarke

In 2008, then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo heaped lavish praise on Alisha Smith, a prosecutor in Manhattan who helped secure a $5 billion settlement in a securities fraud case involving Bank of America and other financial firms. The demurely-dressed Assistant State Attorney General spent her workdays ...

Report Cites Rising Violence, Other Problems at Illinois Maximum-Security Prison

by David M. Reutter

A report by the John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) found that overcrowding and understaffing at the Menard Correctional Center (Menard) has resulted in an “alarming” increase in staff and prisoner assaults.

Opened in 1878, Menard is the second-oldest prison in Illinois. When JHA visited the ...

Private Prison Monopolies

As the late business historian Alfred Chandler, Jr. once said, the visible hand of the corporation has been of far greater importance to capitalism than has Adam Smith’s so-called invisible hand of the market.

Although modern forms of capitalism are justified, and often sanitized, by rhetorical appeals to competition ...

46 California Prisoners Injured in Disturbance at CCA-run Oklahoma Facility

Widespread fighting among black and Hispanic California prisoners at the privately-operated North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma last year left dozens of prisoners injured.

The disturbance began shortly before noon on October 11, 2011 and was described by some news reports as a riot and by others as a ...

Washington State Post-Judgment Interest Award Required when Judgment Increased by Appellate Court in Records Case

The Division One Court of Appeals for the State of Washington held on August 15, 2011 that where an appellate court “merely modifies the trial court award and the only action necessary in the trial court is compliance with the mandate,” post-judgment interest retroactive to the date of the original ...

Violence in Tennessee Prisons up 20 Percent Under New Commissioner

On September 18, 2012 the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization of Prison Legal News, released data indicating that levels of violence in Tennessee state prisons had increased approximately 20 percent since Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) Commissioner Derrick D. Schofield was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam in ...

Mug Shot Websites Based on Extortion Business Model

by David M. Reutter

One of the most insidious businesses to grow out of the prison industrial complex revolves around mug shots. Natural curiosity compels many people to view jail booking photos taken by law enforcement agencies when someone is arrested, which are usually considered public records. Profiteers are now ...

Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed., by Mark E. Cammack and Norman M. Garland (Thomson West, 2006). 505 pages, $38.00

Book review by John E. Dannenberg

Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell is an informative book that covers procedural aspects of a criminal case after an investigation by the police has resulted in a decision to prosecute. A less accurate but more colorful title would be “Criminal Procedure from Bail ...

Florida: Two Men Sentenced in Prison Canteen Kickback Scheme

A federal district court in Jacksonville has sentenced two men to short prison terms after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to paying kickbacks to former Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) Secretary James V. Crosby, Jr. and former FDOC regional director Allen Wayne Clark.

Over a two-year period, Edward ...

California Federal Judge Denies Habeas Petitions after Sitting on Them for Years

A federal judge’s treatment of prisoner habeas petitions gives new meaning to the old adage that justice delayed is justice denied. U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson, who was named to the federal judiciary in 2002 by President George W. Bush, has established a track record of allowing ...

California’s Experiment with Community Correctional Facilities Coming to an End?

From August to November 2011, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) closed all but one of its community correctional facilities (CCFs).

In the past, the CDCR used CCFs to house low-level (minimum and medium security) prisoners in a dormitory-style environment at a cost-effective average daily rate of just ...

UTMB Challenges Texas State Audit, while Legislature Imposes $100 Prisoner Health Care Co-Pay

by Matt Clarke

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) has challenged the findings of a state audit of the prisoner health care services it provides. The challenged audit reported that UTMB improperly charged the state for about $40 million in prison medical-related costs while reporting a $95 ...

Oregon Adopts 5% Prison Trust Fund Account “Service Fee”

Tasked with cutting $28 million from its massive $1.36 billion budget, Oregon prison officials had to look under every couch cushion for loose change. That means they once again turned their focus to prisoners and their loved ones, who present an easy and convenient target for generating additional revenue ...

North Dakota Farmers Help Flush Out Escaped Florida Sex Offender

A Florida prisoner picked the wrong state when he fled from a private transport van and ran into a 310-acre corn field. “This is unique in the sense that, God bless North Dakota, we bring everybody together to solve the problem and we put guys up on combines,” said Cass ...

New Hampshire Court Invalidates City’s Sex Offender Residency Ordinance

A New Hampshire Superior Court has invalidated a local ordinance that prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of a school, day care center, playground, athletic field, public beach or ski area, finding that it violated the Equal Protection clause of the New Hampshire Constitution.

In May 2007 ...

Texas Compensates Exonerees Unequally

by Matt Clarke

A succession of laws, cumulating in the most generous compensation package for wrongly convicted prisoners in the nation, has left Texas exonerees stuck at different levels of compensation depending on when they were proven innocent. Consequently, some earlier exonerees now claim they should receive compensation at the ...

Fourth Circuit Upholds North Carolina Sheriff’s Bribery Conviction

On November 7, 2011, former Buncombe County, North Carolina Sheriff Bobby Lee Medford’s conviction on federal bribery and conspiracy charges was upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision highlighted a scheme in which Medford and his co-conspirators misused their office to illegally profit from the regulation ...

Former Delaware Prisoner Settles Sexual Assault Suit for $287,500 and Policy Changes

by Derek Gilna and Brandon Sample

Former Delaware state prisoner Michelle Bloothoofd has settled a federal lawsuit filed against the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC), the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution (BWCI), Warden Patrick Ryan, guard Anthony Antonio and other prison officials, after she was sexually assaulted by Antonio on ...

Criminal Law in a Nutshell, 5th Ed., by Arnold H. Loewy (West Law School, 2009). 387 pages, $38.00

Book review by John E. Dannenberg

Loewy, a law professor, warns his students not to substitute reading this book for doing the hard work of mastering course material in their criminal law classes. Yet he admits that Criminal Law in a Nutshell constitutes the “succinct exposition of substantive criminal law ...

Eight Puerto Rican Prisoners Drown in Flooded Van

On November 7, 2011 in Puerto Rico, eight prisoners died in a transport van trapped in rising floodwaters. The van contained two guards and ten shackled prisoners, all of whom were pre-trial detainees; most had been unable to afford bail and were being transported to a detention center in Arecibo ...

Oregon Passes Legislation to Move Juveniles Out of Adult Jails

“Youth who are held in adult jail[s] are at significantly increased risk of experiencing violence, committing suicide, and they’re actually at much higher risk of recidivating as well,” stated David Rogers, executive director of the Partnership for Safety and Justice (PSJ), based in Portland, Oregon. Thus, Rogers and ...

Oregon Guard Shoots, Wounds Prisoner; Unreported Earlier Prisoner Murder Exposed

An Oregon state prisoner was shot by a tower guard on the recreation yard at the Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) last year, after he ignored orders to stop fighting. That incident followed an unreported prisoner murder on the same yard three months earlier.

On August 17, 2011, prisoner Brian ...

News in Brief

Alabama: On June 13, 2012, two state prisoners picking up trash on an outside road crew were hit by a vehicle on Interstate 10 near Loxley. One, Kenric Turner, was killed; the other, Kelvin Dejan Jordan, was transported by helicopter to the University of South Alabama Medical Center. The Department ...