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Prison Legal News: May, 1993

Issue PDF
Volume 4, Number 5

In this issue:

  1. Search Victory for Women Cons (p 1)
  2. Prison Rule Banning Media Mail/Visits Held Unconstitutional (p 2)
  3. Sexually Harassing Pat Searches May Be Illegal (p 2)
  4. Comic Book Censorship Overturned (p 2)
  5. ACLU Challenges NJ DOC Censorship (p 2)
  6. Improved Jail Conditions Merits Attorney Fees (p 3)
  7. Due Process Protects Detainees from Violence (p 3)
  8. Unlawful to Read Legal Mail in Prisoner's Cell (p 3)
  9. Court Dissolves 1-800 Injunction (p 3)
  10. Court Enjoins Torture of Jail Prisoners (p 4)
  11. Guard Convicted of Beating Prisoner (p 4)
  12. Psych Prisoners Have Right of Court Access (p 5)
  13. Damages Awarded in PA Beating and Walk (p 5)
  14. Organizations Not "Persons" for IFP Status (p 5)
  15. DOC Guard Liable for Not Stopping Beating (p 5)
  16. Unsworn Declarations Admissible (p 6)
  17. Prison Officials Liable for Haircuts (p 6)
  18. Retaliatory Denial of Parole Actionable Under Section 1983 (p 6)
  19. Prison Officials Liable for Holding Inmate Past Release Date (p 7)
  20. Section 1983 Proper Remedy for Illegal Confinement (p 7)
  21. Court Bans Double Celling of New Prisoners (p 7)
  22. Transfers May Violate Eighth Amendment (p 8)
  23. WA Prisoners Lose Damages in Rectal Probe Suits (p 8)
  24. Road Kill For Washington Prisons (p 8)
  25. Minimum Wage for Cons Studied by Congress (p 8)
  26. PLN Editor Wins Retaliation Suit (p 9)
  27. Mentally Ill Entitled to Health Care (p 10)
  28. Monroe Double Celling Suit Lost (p 10)
  29. Failure to Treat Illness Violates Eighth Amendment (p 11)
  30. MANCI: The Aftermath (p 11)
  31. Minn. Prison Signs Contract for Puerto Rican Inmates (p 12)
  32. Editorial (p 12)
  33. Criminal Justice System Unfair to Radical Activist (p 13)
  34. Bombed-out German Prison to be Razed and then Rebuilt (p 15)
  35. Brazilian Cops Charged in Prison Massacre (p 16)

Search Victory for Women Cons

By Gini Faller


The long-awaited decision in Jordan v. Gardner, et. al. came down on February 25, 1993. The Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc held 7-4 that cross-gender non-suspicion clothed body searches violate the 8th Amendment:

In this case we are presented with the prospect of serious psychological suffering, the ...

Prison Rule Banning Media Mail/Visits Held Unconstitutional

Sabil Mujahid is a Hawaii state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming that Hawaii prison regulations which prohibit prisoners from visiting or corresponding with members of the media, unless they knew each other on a personal basis prior to incarceration, were unconstitutional.

The district court granted summary judgement to ...

Sexually Harassing Pat Searches May Be Illegal

Two Missouri state prisoners filed suit against a female prison guard. In their complaint they alleged that for a two month period the guard fondled their crotches during almost daily, routine pat down searches. After they told the guard they wanted to be searched by male guards she retaliated by ...

Comic Book Censorship Overturned

Everett Lyon is an Iowa state prisoner. He ordered several religious comic books which prison officials censored claiming they would be "disruptive and produce violence" because they were allegedly "anti-catholic and blatantly bigoted." After exhausting his administrative remedies Lyon filed suit under § 1983 claiming violation of his first amendment rights ...

ACLU Challenges NJ DOC Censorship

The Newark, NJ, law firm of Crummy, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger and Vecchione, acting on behalf of the New Jersey ACLU, has filed a class action law suit challenging the censorship of political publications by New Jersey prison officials. The law suit, PSC Publications, et al., v. Fauver, et al ...

Improved Jail Conditions Merits Attorney Fees

Two Wood County, Texas, jail prisoners filed suit under § 1983 claiming the jail had practices of denying prisoners access to the courts, improper classification, punitive isolation without due process, inadequate medical care, denial of reading material and overall unacceptable jail conditions. The district court certified a class of present and ...

Due Process Protects Detainees from Violence

Raul Valencia is a pre-trial detainee in Brewster County, Texas. During a jail disturbance guards smashed Valencia's head into cell bars, choked him into unconcioussness and, after handcuffing him, beat him. Valencia filed suit under§ 1983 claiming this treatment violated his constitutional rights. The defendants sought summary judgement on ...

Unlawful to Read Legal Mail in Prisoner's Cell

Robert Proudfoot is a Pennsylvania state prisoner. After anonymous informants stated Proudfoot was selling drugs from his cell, prison guards searched his cell three times in eight days. No drugs were found. During one of three cell searches guards opened sealed and stamped envelopes addressed to a federal judge and ...

Court Dissolves 1-800 Injunction

Iowa state prisoners filed suit seeking preliminary and injunctive relief against an Iowa prison policy prohibiting them from calling their attorneys toll free 1-800 numbers. They claimed this practice violated their right of access to the courts.

The district court agreed and granted a preliminary injunction. Prison officials appealed and ...

Court Enjoins Torture of Jail Prisoners

Two Mississippi jail prisoners tried to escape from the jail by smashing their way out. Their attempt failed and guards secured and restrained them in an interrogation cell. The sheriff questioned the two men as to the location of their escape tools, which had not been used in the attempt ...

Guard Convicted of Beating Prisoner

As a general rule PLN doesn't report criminal cases. This is an exception because it directly pertains to prisoner civil rights and because its so unusual for prison staff to be charged, much less convicted, of assaulting prisoners.

Michael Newman was a jail guard in Providence, Rhode Island. He ...

Psych Prisoners Have Right of Court Access

Lonnie Hatch is a patient confined in the Arkansas state hospital following his acquittal, by reason of insanity, of criminal charges. Hatch filed suit under § 1983 claiming hospital officials had violated his right of access to the courts by denying him law books, advice from patient advocates, writing materials, stamps ...

Damages Awarded in PA Beating and Walk

William Giroux is a Pennsylvania state prisoner. He filed suit claiming that his eighth amendment rights were violated when prison guards beat him and made him walk a lengthy distance in manacles and chains, knowing he had a heart condition. After a bench trial the court ruled in Giroux's ...

Organizations Not "Persons" for IFP Status

The Men's Advisory Council is a group of elected representatives of prisoners at a prison in California. When the prison discontinued the practice of providing free tobacco to indigent inmates the Council filed a civil rights complaint in federal court. They sought leave to proceed in forma pauperis under ...

DOC Guard Liable for Not Stopping Beating

Roger Buckner is a Missouri state prisoner. He was transported from the Jackson county jail for commitment to the Missouri DOC prison at Fulton. Larry Hollins was a jail guard transporting Buckner. Once at Fulton, Hollins stripped Buckner naked, handcuffed him and then beat, kicked and stomped him. This occurred ...

Unsworn Declarations Admissible

This is a case that will be useful to prisoners in control units or smaller prisons where public notary services are difficult to obtain. Sam Williams is a Michigan state prisoner convicted of murder who was transferred from a max to medium security prison. After a newspaper reported the transfer ...

Prison Officials Liable for Haircuts

Four prisoners at the Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP) with shag haircuts (where the hair is long in back and short in the front and on the sides) were ordered to get haircuts by prison officials. Two of the prisoners agreed to the haircuts, the other refused and were placed in ...

Retaliatory Denial of Parole Actionable Under Section 1983

Isa Shabazz is an Oklahoma state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 alleging that the Oklahoma parole board has a policy, practice and custom of denying parole to prisoners who choose to exercise their civil rights by suing prison officials. He claimed he was denied parole in retaliation for having ...

Prison Officials Liable for Holding Inmate Past Release Date

Gentry Slone is a Missouri state prisoner. He was sentenced to prison and once in prison his sentencing judge suspended Slone's sentence, effective December 21, 1989, and placed him on probation. The state did not appeal the judges order which then became final and non appealable on December 11 ...

Section 1983 Proper Remedy for Illegal Confinement

Spencer Parker is a Texas state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming he was arrested and indicted for a burglary even though no evidence linked him to the crime. After nine months in jail the charges were dropped and he was released. While in jail he had suffered severe ...

Court Bans Double Celling of New Prisoners

Prisoners at the Nebraska State Penitentiary filed a class action suit challenging numerous conditions of confinement at the penitentiary. Most of the claims relate to overcrowding and the overall poor living conditions which include: excessive noise, lack of ventilation, inadequate staff, assaults and violence, contraband rules, lack of privacy, excessive ...

Transfers May Violate Eighth Amendment

Timothy Taylor is a small, mentally retarded Michigan state prisoner. While at the Jackson state prison Taylor was transferred to a camp where he was raped. After being raped prison officials labeled him a homosexual and he was denied a job and resident home application. He claims that the screening ...

WA Prisoners Lose Damages in Rectal Probe Suits

In the mid 80's the Washington DOC built two control units called Intensive Management Units (IMU's). One of the policies they implemented was a mandate that all prisoners entering or leaving the IMUs would be subjected to a rectal probe (also known as digital rape) supposedly to search ...

Road Kill For Washington Prisons

Prison food has been the subject of jokes and commentary for ages. Given its general low quality and often unidentifiable nature, meat dishes are often referred to as "road kill" or "mystery meat." If Washington state Representative Steve Fuhrman, (R) Kettle Falls, has his way these comments will be true ...

Minimum Wage for Cons Studied by Congress

In an effort to reverse a federal court ruling that would allow inmates holding prison jobs to be paid the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour, members of congress and state prison directors have launched an effort to reverse the ruling, in Hale v. Arizona, Nos 88-15785 and 89-15162 ...

PLN Editor Wins Retaliation Suit

Over the years PLN readers have read the periodic reports we have published about the legal struggle against double calling at the Washington State Reformatory (WSR) in Monroe, Washington. Not all of the struggle took place in the courtroom. When the state first announced plans to doublecell us in 1988 ...

Mentally Ill Entitled to Health Care

H.B. is a woman prisoner in the Arizona DOC. She suffers from schizophrenia and becomes hostile and threatening when she doesn't take her medication. HB's legal guardian filed suit on her behalf claiming that the DOC's pattern of placing HB in lockdown constituted deliberate indifference to ...

Monroe Double Celling Suit Lost

By Ed Mead

In 1981 prisoners at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe entered into a judicially enforceable consent decree with their captors that would have permanently eliminated double celling at the prison. The original complaint, filed in 1978, challenged a number of prison conditions on constitutional grounds, especially the ...

Failure to Treat Illness Violates Eighth Amendment

Derrick Williams is an Illinois state prisoner. As a result of a car accident he suffers from chronic infectious inflammation of the bone marrow. After being imprisoned a DOC doctor examined Williams and prescribed medication and a course of treatment. Prison officials did not carry out the doctor's prescribed ...

MANCI: The Aftermath

By John Perotti

In June, 1992, MANCI guard Thomas Davis was stabbed in the back shoulder. Prisoner Roy Slider was accused of the stabbing. Davis died at a Mansfield hospital the next day. This began a series of retaliatory transfers and total lockdown of the prison for one month and ...

Minn. Prison Signs Contract for Puerto Rican Inmates

Minn. Prison signs Contract for Puerto Rican Inmates

St. Paul, Minn. - about 500 prisoners from Puerto Rico will come to Minnesota as early as this month under a deal that finally will fill a privately operated prison in Appleton built to create jobs.

Appleton officials said they had signed a ...

Editorial

Editorial Comments

With this issue we start our fourth calendar year of printing PLN (we began our fourth publishing year back in January). Paul and I have been looking back on what we've been able to accomplish during this period and we feel pretty good about the newsletter's ...

Criminal Justice System Unfair to Radical Activist

By Jon George

"Toiling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail, An' for each unharmful, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail."

Bob Dylan, Chimes of Freedom

In 1978, Ed Mead said, "I feel a lot of interior conflicts. One side of me feels the need to stay here ...

Bombed-out German Prison to be Razed and then Rebuilt

Darmstadt, Germany - Bombs set off by guerrillas on March 26th at a new prison in Darmstadt caused such extensive damage that it will have to be razed, a justice official said. There were no injuries.

The federal prosecutor's office in Karlsruhe said a letter found in a getaway car ...

Brazilian Cops Charged in Prison Massacre

In Brazil 121 police officers have been formally charged with the murder of at least 111 prisoners at Carandiru prison in Sao Paulo on October 2, 1992, when they invaded the prisons cell block 9 on the pretext of quelling a riot. [PLN, Vol. 4, No. 1.]

Former commander of ...