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Prison Legal News: December, 1992

Issue PDF
Volume 3, Number 12

In this issue:

  1. Physical Evidence Need Not be Preserved For Hearing (p 1)
  2. Officials Seek to End Politicization of Crime Debate (p 1)
  3. Beaten Jail Prisoner Entitled to Counsel (p 2)
  4. Incarcerated Juveniles Have Right to Court Access (p 2)
  5. Jail Inmates Entitled to Safe Cells (p 2)
  6. Medical Treatment Cannot Be Delayed to Coerce Confession (p 3)
  7. Unlawful to Knock Down Handicapped Prisoner (p 3)
  8. Prison Drug Test Survey (p 3)
  9. Prisoner Has No Right to Independent Drug Test (p 3)
  10. BOP Prisoners Don't Need to Exhaust Administrative Remedies (p 4)
  11. Due Process Requires Hearing Before Punishment (p 4)
  12. Hearing Officer Must Base Guilt Finding on Evidence (p 4)
  13. Resources for Incarcerated Parents (p 5)
  14. Government Entitled to Only One Qualified Immunity Appeal (p 5)
  15. Texas Death Row Prisoners on Hunger Strike (p 6)
  16. Magistrates Cannot Dismiss Civil Rights Suits (p 6)
  17. Prisoner Entitled to Appointment of Substitute Counsel (p 6)
  18. Animal Rights Movement Criminalized (p 6)
  19. Attention Artists (p 7)
  20. California HIV+ Prisoners on Medical Strike (p 7)
  21. U.S. Slammed on Death Penalty (p 7)
  22. Death Penalty Foes Boo Pennsylvania Governor (p 7)
  23. From The Editor (p 8)
  24. Crime and Punishment in America (p 8)
  25. From the Hole to the Street (p 9)
  26. Prison Press Reviews (p 10)
  27. Prison Slave Labor in the U.S. (p 10)
  28. Article Clarification (p 13)

Physical Evidence Need Not be Preserved For Hearing

Physical Evidence Need Not Be Preserved For Hearing

Eddie Griffin is a Pennsylvania state prisoner. During a cell search prison guards found about 15 gallons of fermented beverages in his cell. The guards ordered Griffin to flush the liquids down the toilet and Griffin complied. Griffin was infracted, found guilty ...

Officials Seek to End Politicization of Crime Debate

Hundreds of public officials have signed a statement urging political candidates to refrain from "appeals to base human instincts and demagoguery" when discussing crime this election year. Furthermore, the statement criticizes past approaches to crime control, which it says have relied too heavily on prison as a criminal penalty.

The ...

Beaten Jail Prisoner Entitled to Counsel

James Swofford is a pre-trial detainee in the Franklin County (IL) jail charged with aggravated sexual assault. Upon being booked into the jail Swofford was placed in a cell with ten other prisoners. During the night they beat, kicked and stomped Swofford, urinated on him and sodomized him with a ...

Incarcerated Juveniles Have Right to Court Access

In a still developing area of the law, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that juvenile prisoners have a constitutional right of access to the courts. To make this right meaningful, the state must provide juveniles with access to attorneys. This opinion joins the First Circuit and a district ...

Jail Inmates Entitled to Safe Cells

Jail Inmates Entitled To Safe Cells

Two prisoners at the Birmingham, Alabama, jail committed suicide and their estates filed suit claiming violations of the detainees' eighth and fourteenth amendment rights. Both men hanged themselves with bed sheets hung from an iron bar across their cell window. In a two year ...

Medical Treatment Cannot Be Delayed to Coerce Confession

Medical Treatment Cannot Be Delayed To Coerce Confession

Wesley Taylor is a Missouri state prisoner who suffered a ruptured appendix. Upon arriving at the prison hospital, vomiting blood and in extreme pain, the prison doctor asked him if he had swallowed any balloons of drugs. Taylor denied any such activity ...

Unlawful to Knock Down Handicapped Prisoner

Unlawful To Knock Down Handicapped Prisoner

Laneer Winder is a handicapped Illinois pretrial detainee in the Chicago jail. Due to a back injury Winder cannot walk more than short distances and needs leg braces to walk at all. While going from his cell to recreation he paused to rest. A ...

Prison Drug Test Survey

Drug testing of prison inmates has become a standard practice in federal and state institutions, with hundreds of thousands of urinalysis tests conducted over the course of a year; and a significant portion of the tests turn up positive, according to a major study by the federal Bureau of Justice ...

Prisoner Has No Right to Independent Drug Test

Prisoner Has No Right To Independent Drug Test

Rick Koenig is an Arizona prisoner who tested positive for marijuana use in an ADx urine test. He was infracted for drug use. Prior to his disciplinary hearing Koenig requested a gas liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer test (a method that is 100 percent ...

BOP Prisoners Don't Need to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

BOP Prisoners Don't Need To Exhaust Administrative Remedies

Donald Cooney is a federal prisoner who was infracted for insolence to a staff member, found guilty and removed from his job position as a sanction. Cooney began an administrative review of the decision but abandoned it by filing suit under ...

Due Process Requires Hearing Before Punishment

Keith Brown-El is a prisoner at the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP). He was infracted for staying in bed during count and staying in the shower too long. He was found guilty at a disciplinary hearing and sentenced to segregation, transferred to another prison and placed in administrative segregation. The only ...

Hearing Officer Must Base Guilt Finding on Evidence

Hearing Officer Must Base Guilt Finding On Evidence

Frank Zavaro is a New York state prisoner who was infracted for participating in a riot and assault on guards. A riot had broken out in a mess hall with several guards being attacked. The guards infracted everyone in the mess hall ...

Resources for Incarcerated Parents

The Child Custody Advocacy Services (CHICAS) Project is a part of the Family Reunification component of the Pacific Oaks Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents. The project offers child custody and placement advocacy to jailed or imprisoned parents and their families.

Up to 38% of imprisoned parents have lost temporary ...

Government Entitled to Only One Qualified Immunity Appeal

Government Entitled To Only One Qualified Immunity Appeal

In Mitchell v. Forsyth , 472 US 511, 105 S. Ct. 2806 (1982), the US Supreme Court clarified its prior rulings on qualified immunity. Government officials performing discretionary functions (such as prison officials, law enforcement personnel and most government officials) are entitled to ...

Texas Death Row Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Texas Death Row Prisoners On Hunger Strike

Since July 19, 1992, more that 50 condemned prisoners on Texas's death row commenced a chain hunger strike. They are fasting in pairs for three days at a time, consuming only liquids, when the strike is taken over by another pair. The ...

Magistrates Cannot Dismiss Civil Rights Suits

Johnnie Reynaga is a California state prisoner who filed a § 1983 suit against a public defender, district attorney, deputy district attorney and state trial judge seeking damages and injunctive relief on the ground they had denied him his right to a fair trial. The suit was referred to a Magistrate ...

Prisoner Entitled to Appointment of Substitute Counsel

Richard Rayes is a Nebraska state prisoner. Rayes filed suit under § 1983 claiming prison guards had slammed a steel door on his hand breaking a finger, that medical staff refused to treat him, and guards confiscated his finger splints on three separate occasions which interfered with his medical treatment and ...

Animal Rights Movement Criminalized

With little fanfare by the mainstream media George Bush has signed S. 544, the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-346) into law. The Act creates a new offense entitled "animal enterprise terrorism", defined as traveling in interstate or foreign commerce, of using the mail or any facility ...

Attention Artists

FUSPPP (Free U.S. Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War) is sponsoring an art show of art by prisoners. They are seeking to gather art from around the country, in all different forms, including poetry and other writing, to draw attention to the stories of various prisoners, their political work ...

California HIV+ Prisoners on Medical Strike

California HIV+ Prisoners On Medical Strike

The rate of HIV (the virus believed to cause AIDS infection) in prisons is higher than in all other institutions in the U.S. National studies have shown that prisoners with AIDS live half as long as people with AIDS on the outside. Even ...

U.S. Slammed on Death Penalty

While a growing number of countries are abolishing the death penalty as a form of justice for convicted criminals, the United States is executing convicts at a faster rate than ever before, the head of Amnesty International recently said.

America's insistence on upholding the death penalty contradicts its policy ...

Death Penalty Foes Boo Pennsylvania Governor

By Paul Wright

Robert Casey is the governor of Pennsylvania. He claims to be "pro-life" because he opposes a woman's right to choose abortion and has signed into law one of the more restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. (which was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court). Like ...

From The Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to our last issue of PLN for this year. This makes 32 consecutive issues of PLN published. This isn't bad in a business where many newsletters, not just prison ones either, count their number of issues in the single digits. Looking back over the past ...

Crime and Punishment in America

Crime And Punishment In America

By Paul Wright

The October 7, 1992, edition of the Seattle Times reported that in Carson, CA a homeless man had been acquitted by a jury of stealing aluminum cans from a recycling bin. The man was charged with misdemeanor theft and the trial lasted ...

From the Hole to the Street

Whatever happened to the practice of gradual reintegration of prisoners back into society? Corrections rhetoric for years has included the concept that gradual reintegration is conducive to better psychological adjustment to freedom, thereby reducing recidivism. Theoretically, inmates were to be carefully transferred from maximum security facilities to medium, then to ...

Prison Press Reviews

By Paul Wright

There are a number of excellent publications that deal with the American prison system. We exchange with most of them and try to inform our readers of these publications by periodically reviewing them. Because we have had a large increase in new readers, I am going to ...

Prison Slave Labor in the U.S.

Prison Slave Labor In The U.S.

By Joe Mowish

[The following is a letter to Business Week concerning an article they published on prison slave labor in China. ]

Ihave read your article of December 30, 1991 and I agree the use of slave labor anywhere is deplorable and the ...

Article Clarification

J.D., Lompoc, CA

Received your August issue and as good as ever, but one story had me a little uncomfortable. The article about the Lompoc Prison Strike...the source Out of Time (3543 18th St. San Francisco, CA) [ PLN , vol. 3, #8 August]

The United States Penitentiary Lompoc and ...