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Prison Legal News: October, 1993

Issue PDF
Volume 4, Number 10

In this issue:

  1. Documents Filed When Delivered to Prison Officials (p 1)
  2. Access to Courts: Standing to Assert Right (p 1)
  3. Censoring Legal Mail States Claim (p 2)
  4. Bar on Access to Court Records Struck Down (p 3)
  5. Court Access for Spanish Speakers (p 3)
  6. Pro Se Detainee Has Access Rights (p 3)
  7. Ninth Circuit Reverses Powell Decision (p 4)
  8. Florida Builds More Prisons (p 5)
  9. ACLU Reaches Accord With Hawaii in Prison Case (p 5)
  10. NY Re-Examines Tough Drug Laws (p 5)
  11. Elements of Jail RICO Suit Explained (p 6)
  12. Due Process Required Before Hole Time (p 6)
  13. Destruction of Evidence Allows Adverse Inference (p 7)
  14. Prohibition of Beatings Well Established Law (p 7)
  15. Evidence Must Support Disciplinary Charge (p 7)
  16. Right to Die Rulings Grow (p 8)
  17. Denial of Physical Therapy Shows Deliberate Indifference (p 8)
  18. No Qualified Immunity for Denial of Medical Care (p 9)
  19. Right to Hot Water Clearly Established (p 9)
  20. Research Directory (p 9)
  21. Prison Slavery Upheld, Again (p 10)
  22. From The Editor (p 10)
  23. Clinton Unveils "Anti-Crime" Package (p 11)
  24. Families Against Mandatory Minimums (p 12)
  25. Professionalism at Purdy Women's Prison (p 13)
  26. BOP Not Liable for Guard Raping Prisoner (p 13)
  27. Cops Shaft Informant (p 14)
  28. Murderer Fired From Prison Job (p 14)
  29. PA Women File Suit Over Property (p 15)
  30. Some Food for Thought: Prisoners Are Not Inmates (p 15)
  31. Grievance System Sham (p 15)
  32. Needs Haircut Information (p 16)
  33. Prison Flooded (p 16)

Documents Filed When Delivered to Prison Officials

In two separate cases from the fifth and eleventh circuits, the appeals courts have adopted the Supreme Court's ruling that documents are considered filed in court when they are delivered to prison officials for mailing by pro se prisoner litigants.

Lawrence Thompson is a Texas state prisoner. He filed ...

Access to Courts: Standing to Assert Right

Access To Courts: Standing To Assert Right

This access to the courts case was filed by the Prisoners' Legal Association (PLA), a sanctioned organization of seven jailhouse lawyers operating inside the East Jersey State Prison. The PLA claimed they were harassed because of their litigation efforts performed in behalf of ...

Censoring Legal Mail States Claim

Henry Lavado was a federal prisoner whose legal mail from attorneys, the ACLU and various state and federal law enforcement agencies was opened and read outside of his presence. Some of his legal mail was opened and read in his presence. Lavado filed suit under Bivens claiming that the opening ...

Bar on Access to Court Records Struck Down

The Massachusetts legislature passed the Criminal Offender Record Information System (CORI) which changed the conditions by which the public gained access to court records in the state criminal justice system. The state courts used this law to prohibit unrestricted access to the alphabetical indices of the parties in criminal proceedings ...

Court Access for Spanish Speakers

This is a § 1983 access to the courts case filed by a county jail prisoner who was not conversant in the English language. The plaintiff, Acevedo, claimed that his jailers denied him meaningful access to the courts by failing to maintain an adequate law library and to provide a Spanish-speaking ...

Pro Se Detainee Has Access Rights

A detainee held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) at San Diego, named Gust Janis, was awaiting trial on federal drug manufacturing and possession charges. Janis was also involved in a number of other criminal and civil cases, telling the court he has some sixty-seven civil actions pending. Janis filed ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Powell Decision

By Robert Powell

To understand just what has happened in this case one must first understand Washington state law. At the time of my conviction a person who was found guilty of Murder in the First Degree was either sentenced to death or life imprisonment. If sentenced to life imprisonment ...

Florida Builds More Prisons

The Florida state legislature in late May approved a plan to spend $215 million on prison construction and also voted to overhaul state sentencing guidelines.

The expansion package, which passed during a special legislative session called by Gov. Lawton Chiles, will add 10,524 beds to the prison system over ...

ACLU Reaches Accord With Hawaii in Prison Case

ACLU Reaches Accord with Hawaii in Prison Case

Aconsent agreement was reached in July in a nine-year old Hawaii prison law suit, it was announced by Alvin J. Bronstein, executive director of the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, D.C., Governor John Waihee, and ...

NY Re-Examines Tough Drug Laws

Former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller decided to launch a "get tough on crime" approach to dealing with that state's drug users and dealers. In 1973 Rockefeller had the state legislature pass a "lock `em up and throw away the key" approach to drug crimes. Twenty years later, law ...

Elements of Jail RICO Suit Explained

Billy Joe Ashe is a Montgomery County, Texas, prisoner. He filed suit claiming that in retaliation for filing suit against members of the Sheriff's Department he and his co-plaintiff, and their prisoner witnesses, were subjected to a frightening pattern of physical violence and brutality by members of the Sheriff ...

Due Process Required Before Hole Time

Acounty jail prisoner in Lubbock, Texas, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against his captors. He alleged jailers violated his right to due process by placing him in lockdown without a hearing. The prisoner's crime was to ignore guards who ordered him to ...

Destruction of Evidence Allows Adverse Inference

Jerry McCrary-El is a Missouri state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming that prison guards used excessive force in moving him to the back of his cell, within the prison's segregation unit, to place a cellmate in his cell. After a trial a jury found in favor of ...

Prohibition of Beatings Well Established Law

Steven Hill was a jail prisoner in the Tazewell County, IL, jail. When ordered to leave his cell to clear it for another prisoner Hill questioned why he was being moved. William Shelander, a guard, responded by grabbing Hill's hair and shoulder, pulling him out of the cell, slamming ...

Evidence Must Support Disciplinary Charge

Lloyd Brown is a District of Columbia prisoner held at the Lorton prison in Virginia. Brown was infracted for throwing a fermented solution of milk, feces and urine in a guard's face. He was charged with assault and destruction of property, and three other offenses. The disciplinary board found ...

Right to Die Rulings Grow

A quadriplegic prisoner and a woman imprisoned in a persistent vegetative state occasioned recent "right to die" rulings in two states.

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a quadriplegic prisoner who is not terminally ill but who must be assisted by others to perform bodily functions such as eating ...

Denial of Physical Therapy Shows Deliberate Indifference

Joel Durmer was a New Jersey state prisoner. Shortly before being imprisoned he suffered two strokes which left him weakened and partially paralyzed. His treating physician prescribed extensive physical and water therapy which he received until he entered the DOC's custody.

After entering the New Jersey state prison system ...

No Qualified Immunity for Denial of Medical Care

George Cornelious was assaulted and badly beaten in Jefferson City, MO. While receiving treatment at a local hospital he was arrested due to an outstanding warrant. The treating doctor gave the arresting police a head injury monitoring sheet on which to chart and monitor his care. At 3:40 AM ...

Right to Hot Water Clearly Established

Philip Mathews is an Illinois state prisoner. While he was confined in the segregation unit of the Stateville prison he was held in a cell without hot water for eleven months. His repeated oral and written requests that the hot water be fixed were ignored by prison officials. Mathews filed ...

Research Directory

Keep yourself up-to-date and in the know. Complete list of 1993 federal prison cases published in the Federal Supplement and Federal Reporter 2d is available from:
Wayne B. Alexander
BSCC/MB: 258
P.O. Box 73
Norfolk, Mass. 02056

Send $2.90 in stamps to cover postage, handling, and costs ...

Prison Slavery Upheld, Again

By Ed Mead

Prisoners in various Minnesota correctional facilities filed a class action suit in an effort to secure minimum wages for the work they performed in the many prison industries. The industries in question produce items such as furniture, truck and auto body products, mattresses, textiles, and notebooks; they ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

Welcome to another issue of PLN . Lately we have been sending out a lot of sample issues of PLN to encourage new subscribers. In August we sent an issue to every prison law library in the US. If our prison readers could encourage their respective libraries, prisoner ...

Clinton Unveils "Anti-Crime" Package

By Paul Wright

On August 11, 1993, president Clinton revealed his proposed new "anti crime" legislation. A few months ago I wrote an article in PLN concerning Clinton's campaign promises as they affected prisoners. It appears that things are worse than expected.

With Slick Willie having reneged or backed ...

Families Against Mandatory Minimums

FAMM is a national, grassroots organization of the friends and family members of prisoners serving "mandatory minimum" sentences. In the 1980's, as part of the "war on drugs" the U.S. congress and many state legislatures passed laws mandating minimum sentences for many types of offenses, most but not ...

Professionalism at Purdy Women's Prison

By V.M .

Being incarcerated here at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) for the past few years, I have had the opportunity to observe the behavior of those designated by the state to make sure that we stay incarcerated, that being the guards. Or more appropriately termed, Satan ...

BOP Not Liable for Guard Raping Prisoner

Lisa Flechsig was a prisoner at the federal women's prison in Lexington, Kentucky. After undergoing surgery she was taken to a local doctor's office for follow up treatment. BOP guard Bruce Trent was assigned to escort Flechsig to the doctor's office. En route to the doctor's ...

Cops Shaft Informant

In 1989 John Fay was serving a 15-35 year sentence for a second degree murder committed in 1973 and a 1984 armed robbery. While at the county jail pending a hearing on the robbery conviction, Fay came in contact with two guys who had just been arrested for an across ...

Murderer Fired From Prison Job

By Paul Wright

Massachusetts is currently being ruled by the Republican Weld administration. Governor Weld was elected to office on a "tough on crime" platform. Weld is himself a former federal prosecutor. Among his more interesting campaign promises were those to restore the death penalty in Massachusetts and to remove ...

PA Women File Suit Over Property

by D.M. Muncy, PA

Our other lawsuit, on our property, seems to be at a standstill. The defendants filed an answer to our complaint, we filed an answer to their answer and now we're just waiting. We've heard nothing since June. We tried for a TRO/Preliminary ...

Some Food for Thought: Prisoners Are Not Inmates

By Ojore Lutalo

[Ed. Note: Readers will note that PLN rarely refers to prisoners as "inmates" or "residents." We usually change any such terms to "prisoners" when we reprint pieces or publish articles. Ojore, a New Afrikan political prisoner, explains the reasoning behind this].

The vast majority of prisoners (especially ...

Grievance System Sham

This letter is directed specifically at inmates within the Florida Department of Corrections, but may be of interest to any prisoner utilizing the grievance procedure in their state.

If the grievance procedure is "certified," as it is in the State of Florida, exhausting administrative remedies is required by the state ...

Needs Haircut Information

I need to know if any prisons in the United States, state or federal, allow their prisoners to grow beards and have long hair. If you don't have their address just listing their names would be a start.

Prisoners here at the Georgia State Prison have filed a class ...

Prison Flooded

We at Menard are suffering the ravages of the Mississippi river flooding. Because of the flooding, all normal services are up in the air. We are given potable water in half ounce little milk containers, and not in sufficient quantities to wash with. The prevailing wind comes in to us ...