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Prison Legal News: December, 2013

Issue PDF
Volume 24, Number 12

In this issue:

  1. FCC Order Heralds Hope for Reform of Prison Phone Industry (p 1)
  2. Consolidated Footnotes – Charts A to D (p 24)
  3. Prison Phone Companies Fight for Lucrative Florida DOC Contract (p 24)
  4. From the Editor (p 26)
  5. Habeas Hints: Staring Down the Two-Headed Monster: Richter-Pinholster (p 28)
  6. BOP Compromises on Plan to Transfer Prisoners from FCI Danbury (p 32)
  7. Telemedicine Behind Bars (p 34)
  8. Third Circuit Allows Prisoner's Substitution of Deceased Guard’s Estate (p 35)
  9. Under Fire, the Federal Bureau of Prisons Audits its Use of Solitary Confinement - and Buys a New Supermax Prison (p 36)
  10. The Invisible Crisis of Correctional Health Care (p 38)
  11. BOP Settles Lawsuits Related to Food Poisoning at Pennsylvania Prison (p 38)
  12. California Supreme Court Addresses CDCR Gang Associate Validation (p 40)
  13. Ninth Circuit Affirms Finding that Claim Accrues Each Time a Request for Conjugal Visits is Denied (p 40)
  14. Kansas Supreme Court Holds Inpatient Drug Treatment Time Counts as Jail Time in Consecutive Non-Drug Case (p 42)
  15. Ninth Circuit Reinstates Disabled Prisoner's Deliberate Indifference Claim (p 42)
  16. Eighth Circuit Initially Allows Non-Delegation Challenge to SORNA, then Reverses Course (p 45)
  17. Wyoming Sheriff Granted Qualified Immunity for Jail Guard’s Sexual Assault (p 46)
  18. No Summary Judgment on Claim that Guard Stole Prisoner’s Wedding Ring (p 46)
  19. Ninth Circuit: Residential Reentry Center Walkaway is Not Escape (p 47)
  20. Kansas Supreme Court Vacates Attorney Fee Reimbursement Order (p 48)
  21. Minnesota: Favorable Resolution of Charges Establishes Rebuttable Presumption of Expungement (p 48)
  22. Possession of Cell Phone Doesn’t Violate Nevada Escape Device Statute (p 48)
  23. Iowa Voting Rights Restoration Process Becomes Slightly Less Onerous (p 50)
  24. Massachusetts Warden Removed After Eight Months on the Job (p 50)
  25. Elder Abuse in Prisons: The Call for Elder Justice and Human Rights Protections Behind Bars (p 52)
  26. British Court Blocks Sex Offender’s Extradition to U.S. Due to “Draconian” Civil Commitment Policies (p 54)
  27. New York City’s Revised Indigent Defense Services Plan Upheld (p 54)
  28. News in Brief (p 56)

FCC Order Heralds Hope for Reform of Prison Phone Industry

by John E. Dannenberg and Alex Friedmann

"After a long time – too long – the Commission takes action to finally address the high cost that prison inmates and their families must pay for phone service. This is not just an issue of markets and rates; it is a broader issue of ...

Consolidated Footnotes – Charts A to D

1 Alaska provides free local calls, plus free calls to the state’s Public Defender Agency, Office of Public Advocacy and Ombudsman’s Office. First-minute rates for intrastate calls range from $.17 to $.60, with subsequent minutes as indicated in Chart B.

2 Illinois’ ICS contract changed to Securus in ...

Prison Phone Companies Fight for Lucrative Florida DOC Contract

In April 2013, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) issued an invitation for companies to bid on the department’s coveted prison phone contract.

The FDOC evaluated responses to the bid invitation and conducted negotiations with three companies: Global Tel*Link (GTL), Securus Technologies, Inc., which currently holds the department ...

From the Editor

Welcome to the last issue of PLN for 2013. As the year closes we can look back and see we have accomplished a great deal, including expanding the magazine to 64 pages, successfully urging the FCC to cap the cost of interstate prison phone calls, and prevailing in censorship and ...

Habeas Hints: Staring Down the Two-Headed Monster: Richter-Pinholster

by Kent Russell

This column provides “habeas hints” to prisoners who are considering or handling habeas corpus petitions as their own attorneys (“in pro per”). The focus of the column is on the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), the federal habeas corpus law which now governs habeas corpus ...

BOP Compromises on Plan to Transfer Prisoners from FCI Danbury

In an unexpected turnabout, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has modified its July 2013 decision to transfer all prisoners from the only federal women’s facility in the northeast, located in Danbury, Connecticut. The BOP had planned to ship 1,120 prisoners held at FCI Danbury to a recently-opened 1 ...

Telemedicine Behind Bars

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), which provides accreditation for medical services in prisons, jails and other correctional facilities, held its national conference in Nashville, Tennessee from October 28 to 30, 2013.

PLN managing editor Alex Friedmann attended the conference and sat in on several presentations that addressed ...

Third Circuit Allows Prisoner's Substitution of Deceased Guard’s Estate

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held on October 16, 2012 that a district court had improperly denied a prisoner’s motion to substitute a deceased guard’s estate as a defendant.

Delaware prisoner Wardell Leroy Giles filed suit in federal court against prison sergeant Gary Campbell and other defendants, alleging excessive ...

Under Fire, the Federal Bureau of Prisons Audits its Use of Solitary Confinement - and Buys a New Supermax Prison

by James Ridgeway and Jean Casella

Amidst growing criticism of its abundant use of solitary confinement, the federal Bureau of Prisons has quietly set in motion an “internal audit” to review its “restricted housing operations.” The audit, which has been contracted out to a Washington think tank and will be ...

The Invisible Crisis of Correctional Health Care

After 33 years behind bars, Alvin Entzminger, who was released in March, needed immediate medical attention for a host of chronic illnesses.

“I went into prison a healthy individual and came out suffering,” claimed Entzminger, now in his late 50s.

Entzminger’s story was one of several poignant testimonies provided ...

BOP Settles Lawsuits Related to Food Poisoning at Pennsylvania Prison

As previously reported in Prison Legal News, hundreds of federal prisoners at USP Canaan, a high-security federal prison northwest of Scranton, Pennsylvania, became sick after eating salmonella-contaminated chicken in June 2011. [See: PLN, August 2012, p.31].

Although Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials denied reports of widespread food poisoning at ...

California Supreme Court Addresses CDCR Gang Associate Validation

In October 2012, the California Supreme Court reversed a grant of habeas relief by the Court of Appeal, which had interpreted a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) regulation regarding the validation of a prisoner as a gang associate. The Supreme Court held the appellate court had failed to ...

Ninth Circuit Affirms Finding that Claim Accrues Each Time a Request for Conjugal Visits is Denied

On November 21, 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court’s finding that a prisoner’s challenge to the denial of his request for conjugal visits was not barred by the statute of limitations, notwithstanding the fact that 1) the prisoner had been denied a similar ...

Kansas Supreme Court Holds Inpatient Drug Treatment Time Counts as Jail Time in Consecutive Non-Drug Case

The Supreme Court of Kansas has held that a prisoner is entitled to have time spent in an inpatient drug treatment facility while on probation count as jail time in a consecutive non-drug case.

Heather Hopkins was convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to 18 months on probation with ...

Ninth Circuit Reinstates Disabled Prisoner's Deliberate Indifference Claim

On November 5, 2012, the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a disabled prisoner with limited English proficiency who alleged that prison officials violated his constitutional rights by failing to honor a doctor’s order to house him in a ground-floor cell.

In ...

Eighth Circuit Initially Allows Non-Delegation Challenge to SORNA, then Reverses Course

Another challenge to the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) initially met with limited success, but ultimately failed.

Lindon Roy Knutson pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender under SORNA stemming from a 1974 rape conviction but reserved several issues on appeal, including a challenge ...

Wyoming Sheriff Granted Qualified Immunity for Jail Guard’s Sexual Assault

The Wyoming Supreme Court has held that a county sheriff was improperly denied qualified immunity on claims that a guard in his employ sexually assaulted a female prisoner.

While working as a jail guard in Utah, Todd Hoover underwent back surgery, became addicted to pain pills and stole prisoners’ medication ...

No Summary Judgment on Claim that Guard Stole Prisoner’s Wedding Ring

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has held that factual disputes about a guard’s alleged theft of a prisoner’s wedding ring precluded summary judgment in a lawsuit that has been pending for the past eight years.

In November 2004, Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) staff at the John Liley Correctional ...

Ninth Circuit: Residential Reentry Center Walkaway is Not Escape

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that walking away from a residential reentry center does not constitute escape under 18 U.S.C. § 751(a).

In 2008, Anthony E. Burke was convicted of federal offenses in Washington State and sentenced to 37 months in prison and 36 months ...

Kansas Supreme Court Vacates Attorney Fee Reimbursement Order

The Kansas Supreme Court vacated a sentencing court’s order requiring a criminal defendant to reimburse Board of Indigents’ Defense Services (BIDS) attorney fees, for failing to make appropriate findings on the record.

Morgan Wade was convicted of killing his former girlfriend and the mother of his son. His convictions ...

Minnesota: Favorable Resolution of Charges Establishes Rebuttable Presumption of Expungement

The Minnesota Supreme Court held that the favorable resolution of criminal proceedings establishes a rebuttable presumption in favor of expungement under state law.

In May 2009, a defendant identified only as RHB was charged with first- and third-degree assault for injuring a young child. He was found not guilty by ...

Possession of Cell Phone Doesn’t Violate Nevada Escape Device Statute

The Nevada Supreme Court has held that a statute prohibiting prisoners from possessing escape devices does not encompass possession of a contraband cell phone.

Pursuant to NRS 212.093(1), prisoners are prohibited from having “any key, picklock, bolt cutters, wire cutters, saw, digging tool, rope, ladder, hook or any ...

Iowa Voting Rights Restoration Process Becomes Slightly Less Onerous

Iowa is one of the toughest states in the nation for disenfranchised felons who want to obtain reinstatement of their voting rights, a review by the Associated Press found.

When Republican Governor Terry Branstad took office in 2011, he reversed a six-year-old policy instituted by former Governor Tom Vilsack, a ...

Massachusetts Warden Removed After Eight Months on the Job

The superintendent of the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts was removed from his job only eight months after being promoted to the position.

Anthony Mendonsa started as a guard in 1978 and worked his way up through the ranks; he was appointed superintendent at Souza-Baranowski in November 2011, then ...

Elder Abuse in Prisons: The Call for Elder Justice and Human Rights Protections Behind Bars

by Tina Maschi, Ph.D., LCSW, ACSW

“Prison is a hard place. Pure Hell! As long as you are in khaki, you are considered non-human. The elder suffer the most because there isn’t much for them, us. I have the start of osteoporosis and seeing how some people young ...

British Court Blocks Sex Offender’s Extradition to U.S. Due to “Draconian” Civil Commitment Policies

In June 2012, Britain’s High Court of Justice blocked the extradition of a defendant wanted in Minnesota for sex crimes, stating a “flagrant denial” of his human rights would result if he were subjected to civil commitment under U.S. law.

Shawn Sullivan, 43, a dual U.S.-Irish ...

New York City’s Revised Indigent Defense Services Plan Upheld

The New York Court of Appeals – the state’s highest court – held last year that changes to New York City’s system of indigent defense, which permit the assignment of conflict cases to institutional providers without the involvement of county bar associations, do not violate state law.

In response to ...

News in Brief

Arizona: On May 28, 2013, a former staff member at FCI Phoenix was convicted of six counts of sexual abuse of a ward. A federal jury found that Jose Arnulfo Martinez, 49, sexually abused a prisoner on three separate occasions in 2008 and victimized another prisoner three times in 2010 ...