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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: April, 2014

Issue PDF
Volume 25, Number 4

In this issue:

  1. An Interview with Noam Chomsky on Criminal Justice and Human Rights (p 1)
  2. $2.25 Million Jury Verdict against LCS in Texas Prisoner Death Suit (p 16)
  3. From the Editor (p 16)
  4. Ohio: Attorney General May Not Increase Sex Offender’s Registration Requirements (p 17)
  5. The Inadequacy of Prison Food Allergy Policies (p 18)
  6. $15.5 Million Settlement for Mentally Ill Jail Detainee Held in Solitary Confinement (p 20)
  7. U.S. Supreme Court: District Courts Can Make Federal Sentences Consecutive or Concurrent to Future State Sentences (p 20)
  8. Kitchen Supervisor Gets Prison Time for Sexually Abusing Two Prisoners (p 20)
  9. Colorado Prisoner who Murdered Guard Gets Life Without Parole (p 22)
  10. Lowering Recidivism through Family Communication (p 24)
  11. Iowa: Parole Agreement Does Not Constitute Voluntary Consent that Justifies Warrantless Search (p 26)
  12. No Discipline for Oregon Prosecutor and Defense Counsel for Illegal Confinement of Mentally Ill Defendant (p 28)
  13. Update on Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act Case (p 28)
  14. Arkansas Suing Prisoners for Incarceration Costs (p 30)
  15. Montana: Hospitalized Prisoner Entitled to Continuance in Divorce Case (p 30)
  16. California Supreme Court: Challenge to Booking Fee Order Forfeited Due to Failure to Object in Trial Court (p 32)
  17. Texas: False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution Result in $411,865.18 Recovery (p 32)
  18. Study: TASER Shocks May Cause Fatal Heart Attacks (p 34)
  19. Texas Court Holds CCA is a Governmental Body for Purposes of Public Records Law (p 35)
  20. Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie (p 36)
  21. New York Prisoner Secures Court Order for Visitation with Child (p 38)
  22. GPS Monitoring System in Los Angeles Plagued by False Alerts, Ignored Alarms (p 40)
  23. Placing Rival Gang Members in Same Cell Not Per Se Unconstitutional (p 40)
  24. Qualified Immunity Denied to Michigan Guard for Improper Strip Search of Amputee Prisoner (p 42)
  25. No Death Penalty for Maine Prisoner (p 42)
  26. The Redbook – A Manual on Legal Style (p 43)
  27. Court Awards $802,176 in Fees, Costs in PLN Censorship Suit Against Oregon County (p 44)
  28. Oregon Appellate Court Declines to Correct Unpreserved Sentencing Error Related to Restitution (p 44)
  29. New York Prison Officials Can Force-Feed Hunger Striking Prisoner (p 45)
  30. Ninth Circuit: Delay in Providing Dental Care May Constitute Deliberate Indifference (p 46)
  31. Burden-Shifting Jury Instruction Requires New Trial in Prisoner's Lawsuit (p 46)
  32. Eighth Circuit: Federal Sentence Consecutive to Later-Imposed State Sentence (p 47)
  33. Sexual Abuse by Oregon Jail Guard Nets Probation; Defense Attorney Blames Victim (p 48)
  34. Federal Court Must Give Reasons for Special Conditions of Supervised Release (p 50)
  35. Idaho Supreme Court Upholds Dismissal of Section 1983 Claims in Jail Suicide Case (p 50)
  36. Washington PRA Violations Result in Costs and Penalties (p 51)
  37. Prisoner Organ Transplants, Donations Create Controversy (p 52)
  38. Oklahoma Jailers Not Immune from Excessive Force Claims (p 54)
  39. News in Brief (p 56)

An Interview with Noam Chomsky on Criminal Justice and Human Rights

On February 5, 2014, Prison Legal News editor Paul Wright interviewed Noam Chomsky, 85, at his home in Lexington, Massachusetts. Professor Chomsky is the foremost dissident intellectual in the United States, and for decades has been a prominent critic of U.S. foreign policy, human rights abuses, imperialism and the ...

$2.25 Million Jury Verdict against LCS in Texas Prisoner Death Suit

by Matt Clarke

On October 24, 2012, a federal jury in Texas awarded $2.25 million to the estate and survivors of a prisoner who died at a facility operated by LCS Corrections Services (LCS), after finding the company was 100% at fault. The district court subsequently reversed its dismissal ...

From the Editor

This month’s interview with Noam Chomsky is part of PLN’s ongoing series of interviews with notable people who have diverse views of the U.S. criminal justice system. Prior interviews have been conducted with well-known actor Danny Trejo, media mogul and millionaire Conrad Black, and wrongfully convicted former ...

Ohio: Attorney General May Not Increase Sex Offender’s Registration Requirements

In April 2013, an Ohio appellate court ruled that a sex offender, who was required by virtue of a California conviction to register his address annually for ten years, could not subsequently be indicted, after moving to Ohio and being reclassified under the Adam Walsh Act, for failing to register ...

The Inadequacy of Prison Food Allergy Policies

by Jamie Longazel and Rachel Archer

Michael Saffioti was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana charge and held at the Snohomish County Jail (SCJ) in Washington State. On the morning of July 2, 2012, he arrived at the center of his module where breakfast was being served. Because he had a ...

$15.5 Million Settlement for Mentally Ill Jail Detainee Held in Solitary Confinement

A mentally ill detainee who was placed in solitary confinement in a New Mexico county jail for nearly two years, without adequate medical or mental health care, accepted a $15.5 million settlement for violations of his civil rights.

Stephen Slevin, 59, served almost 22 months in solitary confinement between ...

U.S. Supreme Court: District Courts Can Make Federal Sentences Consecutive or Concurrent to Future State Sentences

On March 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a federal district court may impose a federal prison term that is consecutive to an anticipated future state court sentence. In February 2014, the Third Circuit ruled that a district court’s ability to impose such a sentence only applies ...

Kitchen Supervisor Gets Prison Time for Sexually Abusing Two Prisoners

A civilian prison employee’s sexual abuse of two prisoners at a federal facility in Phoenix, Arizona was made public after an FBI surveillance camera captured the lascivious details of their ménage à trois.

According to a rather explicit criminal complaint filed on August 29, 2012 in U.S. District Court ...

Colorado Prisoner who Murdered Guard Gets Life Without Parole

Last month, Prison Legal News reported that the parents of a slain Colorado prison guard did not want the prisoner who murdered him to face the death penalty. Edward Montour, who beat Lima Correctional Facility guard Eric Autobee to death in October 2002, was initially sentenced to death but that ...

Lowering Recidivism through Family Communication

There are currently 2.2 million people held in prisons and jails in the United States,1 and an estimated 95% of prisoners currently in custody will one day be released. Based on 2012 data, around 637,400 people are released annually from state and federal prisons.2

According to ...

Iowa: Parole Agreement Does Not Constitute Voluntary Consent that Justifies Warrantless Search

Last year the Supreme Court of Iowa reversed a parolee’s conviction on drug charges, holding that his acceptance of a search condition in a parole agreement did not constitute voluntary consent, and therefore a warrantless, suspicionless search of his car was unreasonable and violative of his rights under the search ...

No Discipline for Oregon Prosecutor and Defense Counsel for Illegal Confinement of Mentally Ill Defendant

Although the Oregon State Bar initially decided to pursue disciplinary charges against the district attorney for Washington County and a criminal defense attorney who represented a mentally ill defendant, for causing the defendant’s illegal confinement, the charges were later dropped.

Donn Thomas Spinosa stabbed his wife to death on May ...

Update on Missouri Incarceration Reimbursement Act Case

Prison Legal News previously reported a decision by the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Eighth Circuit, which held that a Missouri bankruptcy court was correct in concluding that state prison officials did not violate a discharge injunction by collecting money from a prisoner’s account for incarceration costs that accrued after ...

Arkansas Suing Prisoners for Incarceration Costs

Arkansas officials are suing prisoners under the State Prison Inmate Care and Custody Reimbursement Act (Act), seeking reimbursement for the costs of their incarceration by obtaining court orders and seizing money from their prison trust accounts.

For example, a state court entered an order requiring prisoner Michael R. MacKool to ...

Montana: Hospitalized Prisoner Entitled to Continuance in Divorce Case

The Montana Supreme Court held on March 5, 2013 that refusing to grant a hospitalized prisoner’s motion for continuance of a divorce trial was an abuse of discretion.

David and Lori Eslick were married on August 15, 2005. In December 2010, David began serving a sentence in the Montana State ...

California Supreme Court: Challenge to Booking Fee Order Forfeited Due to Failure to Object in Trial Court

On April 22, 2013, the Supreme Court of California, resolving a conflict among lower state courts, held that a defendant who fails to contest a jail booking fee order when it is imposed forfeits the right to challenge the order on appeal.

After pleading no contest to being a convicted ...

Texas: False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution Result in $411,865.18 Recovery

A Texas probationer subjected to false arrest and malicious prosecution has been awarded $169,000 in damages plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

Thomas Hannon, 37, unemployed and on probation, had an outstanding arrest warrant for probation revocation. Dallas police knew he was at a local hotel, and on August 1 ...

Study: TASER Shocks May Cause Fatal Heart Attacks

by Matt Clarke

A study involving eight people who lost consciousness immediately after being shocked by a TASER X26 – the most common electronic control device (ECD) used by police, corrections agencies and the military – concluded that ECD shocks can induce fatal cardiac arrest by causing cardiac “capture” and ...

Texas Court Holds CCA is a Governmental Body for Purposes of Public Records Law

On March 19, 2014, a state district court in Travis County, Texas held that Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest for-profit prison company, is considered a “governmental body” for purposes of the state’s Public Information Act and therefore subject to the Act’s “obligations to disclose public information.” ...

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie

A Prison Policy Initiative briefing

by Peter Wagner and Leah Sakala

Wait, does the United States have 1.4 million or more than 2 million people in prison? And do the 688,000 people released every year include those getting out of local jails? Frustrating questions like these abound because ...

New York Prisoner Secures Court Order for Visitation with Child

The New York Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that granted an incarcerated father visitation rights with his three-year-old child. The Court held the lower court had properly applied a legal standard that presumes in favor of visitation and considers whether that presumption is rebutted by evidence showing ...

GPS Monitoring System in Los Angeles Plagued by False Alerts, Ignored Alarms

Los Angeles County’s GPS monitoring system, designed to keep track of high-risk probationers, has overwhelmed probation officers with thousands of false alerts each day – so many that some officers simply ignore them. As a result, dozens of probationers have been able to roam unmonitored. In some cases, even when ...

Placing Rival Gang Members in Same Cell Not Per Se Unconstitutional

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals applied the harmless error test in finding that a district court’s late Rand summary judgment notice did not deprive a prisoner of substantial rights. Additionally, the appellate court held prison officials were not deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of violence by placing two ...

Qualified Immunity Denied to Michigan Guard for Improper Strip Search of Amputee Prisoner

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of qualified immunity to a Michigan prison guard who allegedly strip searched a prisoner without a legitimate penological reason for doing so. The appellate court also vacated the denial of qualified immunity to a warden who sanctioned the prisoner’s placement in ...

No Death Penalty for Maine Prisoner

In 2008, within a supposedly high-security prison in the giant federal correctional complex in Florence, Colorado, Gary Watland, a “boarder” from Maine, murdered another prisoner, white supremacist Mark Baker.

After five and a half years – and after, probably, millions in taxpayer-paid legal costs, including for his defense team – ...

The Redbook – A Manual on Legal Style

by Bryan Garner (Thomson West, 2nd Ed., 2006). 510 pages (spiral bound), $15.00.

Book review by John E. Dannenberg

The Redbook is a comprehensive reference manual that provides guidance with every facet of preparing legal documents. Reviewed by judges and attorneys, the Redbook authoritatively instructs litigants in the mechanics ...

Court Awards $802,176 in Fees, Costs in PLN Censorship Suit Against Oregon County

In March 2014, a U.S. District Court ordered Columbia County, Oregon to pay $763,803.45 in attorney’s fees and $38,373.01 in costs in a lawsuit raising claims of illegal censorship at the Columbia County Jail.

Prison Legal News had filed suit against Columbia County and Sheriff ...

Oregon Appellate Court Declines to Correct Unpreserved Sentencing Error Related to Restitution

In May 2013, the Oregon Court of Appeals agreed that a trial court had committed plain error when it recommended that a defendant pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision (Board). The appellate court refused to correct the error, however, because ...

New York Prison Officials Can Force-Feed Hunger Striking Prisoner

The New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, held that a hunger striking prisoner’s rights were not violated by a judicial order allowing the state to feed him by nasogastric tube to preserve his life.

The Court’s decision labeled New York state prisoner Leroy Dorsey a “serial hunger ...

Ninth Circuit: Delay in Providing Dental Care May Constitute Deliberate Indifference

In an unpublished ruling, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed in part a district court’s grant of summary judgment to prison officials who, a prisoner alleged, were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

In 2008, Nevada prisoner Martinez Aytch filed numerous requests for dental treatment for a ...

Burden-Shifting Jury Instruction Requires New Trial in Prisoner's Lawsuit

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial in a civil rights action that alleges a prisoner was subjected to improper strip searches to humiliate him, then was subjected to an “especially protracted, gratuitous and humiliating strip search” in retaliation for having filed grievances complaining about the ...

Eighth Circuit: Federal Sentence Consecutive to Later-Imposed State Sentence

On June 6, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a prisoner was not entitled to credit toward his federal sentence for time already served on state charges.

In March 2007, Charles Lee Elwell was arrested in Iowa. A federal indictment was issued against him several days later ...

Sexual Abuse by Oregon Jail Guard Nets Probation; Defense Attorney Blames Victim

A former Oregon jail guard was sentenced to probation for sexually abusing a female prisoner after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge; his defense attorney blamed the incarcerated victim while the prosecutor defended the light sentence. The guard, Eddie James Miller, 60, was later accused of sexually harassing a co-worker ...

Federal Court Must Give Reasons for Special Conditions of Supervised Release

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a district court’s imposition of four special conditions of supervised release, due to the court’s failure to explain its reasons for imposing them.

Rashan R. Doyle was convicted in New York of attempted sexual abuse in the first degree; as a result ...

Idaho Supreme Court Upholds Dismissal of Section 1983 Claims in Jail Suicide Case

The Idaho Supreme Court has affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of § 1983 claims stemming from the death of a detainee who committed suicide at the Ada County Jail (ACJ).

On September 28, 2008, Bradley Munroe was arrested for robbery. He was hospitalized because he was intoxicated, uncooperative and exhibiting ...

Washington PRA Violations Result in Costs and Penalties

The Washington Court of Appeals, Division Two, held on July 30, 2013 that a state agency violated Washington’s Public Records Act (PRA) by failing to respond to a prisoner’s request within the statutory time limit and by redacting information not exempt from disclosure. The appellate court instructed the lower court ...

Prisoner Organ Transplants, Donations Create Controversy

Prison officials in several states are mulling over two sides of the same coin with respect to organ transplants for prisoners: first, the eligibility and cost of such medical procedures, and second, whether prisoners should be allowed to donate their organs.

Prisoners in Need of Organ Transplants

In Rhode Island ...

Oklahoma Jailers Not Immune from Excessive Force Claims

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has held that jail officials are not immune from liability for excessive force claims under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act (OGTCA).

On May 17, 2011, Daniel Bosh was detained at the Cherokee County Detention Center for failure to pay a traffic ticket. Video surveillance showed ...

News in Brief

Alabama: Carbon Hill Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson, 61, was arrested on September 19, 2013 on multiple charges related to sexually abusing four prisoners at the city’s municipal jail; he was released eight days later after posting a $250,000 property bond. In addition to the criminal charges, Richardson faces ...


 

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