Skip navigation

Prison Legal News: October, 1994

Issue PDF
Volume 5, Number 10

In this issue:

  1. Retaliation Case Dismissal Reversed (p 1)
  2. CBS Liable for Filming Search (p 2)
  3. Prisoner Mail Trashed at Waupun (p 3)
  4. WA DOC Negligence Caused Prisoner Death (p 3)
  5. The Forgotten Crime Victim (p 4)
  6. MS Prison Officials Indicted (p 5)
  7. New York Police Falsify Evidence (p 5)
  8. Fraudulent Police Chemist Flees Justice (p 5)
  9. No Immunity for Delay of Medical Care (p 6)
  10. Prisoners Have Right to Prompt Sentence Computation (p 6)
  11. Court Returns Fines (p 6)
  12. Federal Public Defenders Govt. Employees for FTCA (p 7)
  13. Ad-Seg Placement Without Hearing Illegal (p 7)
  14. No Right to HIV Testing (p 8)
  15. Correct Jury Instructions Needed for Beating Trial (p 8)
  16. MO Court's HIV Disclosure Rule Struck Down (p 9)
  17. Name Change Statute Upheld (p 9)
  18. Agreement Reached in State-Wide Pennsylvania Prison Case (p 10)
  19. New Trial Required for Improper Testimony (p 10)
  20. Florida Prisoners Have Right to Attend Forfeiture Trial (p 10)
  21. Seg Prisoner Entitled to Competent Hearing Help (p 11)
  22. Bias in Military Death Penalty (p 11)
  23. U.S. Number 1 (in Murder, Violence, Imprisonment, etc.) (p 11)
  24. Pepper Spray Hazardous (p 11)
  25. German Court Legalizes Soft Drugs (p 12)
  26. El Salvador Prison System in Crisis (p 12)
  27. PR Prisoners Rebel (p 12)
  28. The Fire Inside (p 13)
  29. Eleventh Anniversary of Marion Lockdown (p 15)
  30. News in Brief (p 15)
  31. Amnesty Criticizes OK Control Unit (p 16)
  32. From The Editor (p 17)
  33. $273,000 Settlement for Gassing (p 18)
  34. Reviews (p 18)
  35. Peruvian Government to Stand Trial for Prison Massacres (p 19)
  36. $1 Million for Boiling Prisoner (p 19)
  37. $153,400 Awarded to Estate for Stabbing Death (p 19)
  38. $1.7 Million Settlement for Beating (p 19)
  39. Swedish Prisoners Mutiny (p 19)

Retaliation Case Dismissal Reversed

Muriel Black is an Illinois state prisoner. In 1984 he filed suit under § 1983 claiming that prison officials had violated his constitutional rights by filing false disciplinary charges against him, harassing him, etc., after he complained of racial discrimination at the prison. In 1985 the district court dismissed the suit ...

CBS Liable for Filming Search

This case has nothing to do with prison litigation. We are reporting it because it deals with the ongoing propaganda war being waged against criminal defendants and poor people. It is the first reported court decision to hold a television broadcaster liable for accompanying police agents on a search and ...

Prisoner Mail Trashed at Waupun

In the editorial in the September, 1994, issue of PLN, we noted that subscribers at the Waupun Correctional Institution at Waupun, WI. had complained of not receiving their issues of PLN. Shortly thereafter we learned why. The August 4, 1994, edition of the Wisconsin State Journal reported that postal inspectors ...

WA DOC Negligence Caused Prisoner Death

By Paul Wright

In the July, 1994, issue of PLN we reported on the death of Gertrude Barrow, a prisoner at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) at Purdy. On May 16, 1994. Barrow died of a perforated ulcer with acute peritonitis after repeatedly seeking medical care from her ...

The Forgotten Crime Victim

In the seemingly unending clamor for revenge against people in prison and those accused of committing a crime, a particularly vulnerable, unchampioned, group remain overlooked. Casualties of America's "War On Crime," a growing number of people have lost their lives to the unchecked discretion of judges, prosecutors, and police ...

MS Prison Officials Indicted

On June 14, 1994, US Attorney Alfred Moreton III made public a grand jury indictment of six current and five former Mississippi state prison officials in the 1991 beating of Larry Floyd, a prisoner at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) at Parchman. The five former employees have already admitted guilt ...

New York Police Falsify Evidence

Like any organized criminal enterprise, the New York State Police relied on the code of silence to protect them from exposure. The silence was broken in 1991 when a former state trooper, David Harding, applied for a job with the CIA. Harding apparently wanted to impress his prospective employers with ...

Fraudulent Police Chemist Flees Justice

A former West Virginia state police chemist, Fred Zain, 43, accused of rigging criminal evidence in two states is missing and being sought by Texas authorities. Texas state district Judge Mickey Pennington issued what is called a "capias warrant" in Texas, meaning any law enforcement agency that finds Zain should ...

No Immunity for Delay of Medical Care

Willie Harris was a pretrial detainee in the Coweta County, Georgia, jail. When he was arrested his hand was injured by tight handcuffs. Upon arrival at the jail, on September 6, 1990, he requested treatment for the injury. He was seen by the jail nurse on September 28 and later ...

Prisoners Have Right to Prompt Sentence Computation

David Plumb is an Oregon state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming that his right to due process under the fourteenth amendment and his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment were violated by state and county officials. He claimed that they delayed ...

Court Returns Fines

In 1976, prisoners of the Allegheny County Jail in Pennsylvania filed suit against their keepers over unconstitutional jail conditions. Over the next 18 years of litigation, the court imposed $2,729,300 in fines against county officials who refused to abide by court orders to alleviate overcrowding and improve conditions ...

Federal Public Defenders Govt. Employees for FTCA

Joseph Sullivan is a federal prisoner who filed suit against the two federal public defenders who represented him in a parole revocation proceeding. Sullivan initially filed suit in federal court under the court's diversity jurisdiction. In a previous decision the seventh circuit had remanded this case back to the ...

Ad-Seg Placement Without Hearing Illegal

Huey Wright is a New York state prisoner. In 1983 Wright was attacked in his cell by two other prisoners and placed in segregation on disciplinary charges. Three days later the disciplinary charges were dismissed by a hearing officer but Wright was retained in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) for ...

No Right to HIV Testing

In 1989 a Kentucky state prisoner, John Doe, requested testing for the HIV virus which causes AIDS. His request was denied because he did not meet the criteria for HIV testing established by Kentucky Corrections Cabinet Policy 13.5. That policy states: "Testing for the Presence of HIV antibodies. No ...

Correct Jury Instructions Needed for Beating Trial

Keith Howard is a Missouri state prisoner. Upon returning to the prison after an outside medical visit, Howard was ordered to strip for a search. He refused and was thrown to the floor by several guards, hand-cuffed, forcibly stripped and taken to his cell. In this process Howard's head ...

MO Court's HIV Disclosure Rule Struck Down

Judges in Cole County, Missouri enacted a local court rule requiring that jail officials inform them, in camera, whether a prisoner scheduled for a court appearance had an infectious disease or carried the HIV virus believed to cause AIDS. The purported reason for the rule was an effort by the ...

Name Change Statute Upheld

Kevin Mathews is a Texas state prisoner who filed suit under § 1983 challenging the constitutionality of § 32.22 of the Texas Family Code. The statute in question prohibits convicted felons from changing their names unless the person has been discharged from parole or probation, has been pardoned or two years ...

Agreement Reached in State-Wide Pennsylvania Prison Case

On Aug. 12, 1994, lawyers representing the prisoners announced that they have reached a settlement with the State of Pennsylvania in Austin v. Lehman, the state-wide prison conditions case filed in November, 1990. The agreement has been presented to U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois for approval.

In 1990, the ...

New Trial Required for Improper Testimony

Michael Kemp is a Missouri state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming that a prison guard, Antonio Balboa, had confiscated his epilepsy medication and flushed it down the toilet. This resulted in Kemp having epileptic seizures during which he injured himself. The case went to trial and a jury ...

Florida Prisoners Have Right to Attend Forfeiture Trial

A Florida state prisoner whose property was the subject of a forfeiture proceeding while he was imprisoned had a right under the due process clause of the Florida Constitution to be present at the trial, the Florida Court of Appeals for the Fourth District ruled on May 25, 1994.

Referring ...

Seg Prisoner Entitled to Competent Hearing Help

Kenney Nix is a South Carolina prisoner. He was charged with violations of prison rules, placed in administrative segregation and found guilty of the charges at a disciplinary hearing. Prior to the hearing, Nix was assigned a staff member to assist him in gathering witness statements. The staff member claims ...

Bias in Military Death Penalty

The Vol. 5, No. 6, issue of PLN reported on studies showing the new federal death penalty was racially biased. A recent report issued by the Death Penalty Information Center notes that of the six men (three soldiers, two marines and an airman) awaiting execution at the US Disciplinary Barracks ...

U.S. Number 1 (in Murder, Violence, Imprisonment, etc.)

The United Nations released its 1994 Human Development Report in mid June, 1994. According to the report, the United States is first in murders, first in military spending, first in rapes and first in road accidents in the industrialized world. It said that 20 children a day died from gunshot ...

Pepper Spray Hazardous

The July 2, 1994, issue of the Seattle Times reported that troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) will no longer be sprayed with pepper spray as part of their training. The change in policy came after patrol Lt. Harold Frear filed a complaint with the Florida state Labor Department ...

German Court Legalizes Soft Drugs

On April 28, 1994, the Federal Constitutional Court, Germany's highest court, ruled that possession of small quantities of hashish and marijuana should no longer be the subject of criminal penalties. The ruling came as the court affirmed the 1992 lower court ruling by Lubeck judge Wolfgang Neskovic. The judge ...

El Salvador Prison System in Crisis

On August 4, 1994, 300 prisoners at the San Miguel prison in El Salvador took a judge and his secretary hostage to protest prison conditions. The hostages were freed a few hours later after judicial officials signed an agreement to study the prisoners' demands for prison reforms. The demands include ...

PR Prisoners Rebel

On July 10, 1994, more than 8,000 prisoners in 16 prisons across the US occupied island of Puerto Rico went on strike to protest overcrowding and bad living conditions. Puerto Rico's 34 prisons hold almost 11,000 prisoners. For the first ten days of the strike prisoners refused ...

The Fire Inside

October, 1994, marked the eleventh year of collective punishment at the United States penitentiary, Marion. It marked a decade of lockdown, control unit regimes and government lies. No doubt the federal Bureau of Prisons will commemorate the event by rolling out its propaganda wagon, and indulging the public with some ...

Eleventh Anniversary of Marion Lockdown

I was asked to put together an article to tell my side of the story of how the cruel and unjustifiable lockdown at Marion kicked off eleven years ago. I am supposedly one of the two reasons (excuses) BOP officials gave to justify the lockdown. PLN is the only news ...

News in Brief

WA: In May, 1994, three former prisoners and two staff members of the Snohomish county jail filed suit in US District Court in Seattle claiming that they contracted tuberculosis at the jail due to its lax testing and screening policies. The plaintiffs' attorney, Ted Spearman, stated that people have told ...

Amnesty Criticizes OK Control Unit

On June 14, 1994, Amnesty International (AI) released a report harshly criticizing the control unit at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary (OSP) at McAlester. An AI investigation team toured the prison's H. Unit in March, 1994, and found that some 350 prisoners are held 23 or 24 hours a day ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

by Dan Pens

Greetings to PLN readers from the new co-editor. I have worked with Ed and Paul since nearly the very beginning, helping to type articles, writing, editing, and proof reading (an odious chore). I originally came on board when the mailing list grew to over ...

$273,000 Settlement for Gassing

A hallucinating diabetic was sprayed in the face with a chemical spray called "Freeze + P." after he had been arrested and tried to escape. The spray contains tear gas and a red pepper derivative. After being held in the Montgomery County, Alabama, jail for a week he was transferred to ...

Reviews

AntiShyster is a bi-monthly 48 page magazine "dedicated to raising hell for lawyers." It presents a critical examination of the American legal system, both civil and criminal. Recent articles have included non-lawyers running for judicial offices, tax laws, listing of public corruption cases by the office holder convicted, the Bar ...

Peruvian Government to Stand Trial for Prison Massacres

On June 19, 1986, political prisoners of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) held at three prisons revolted demanding government compliance with agreements previously reached governing the prisoners' conditions of confinement. The Peruvian government of then President Alan Garcia refused to negotiate with the prisoners, who had seized the prisons ...

$1 Million for Boiling Prisoner

Vaughn Dortch is a California prisoner held at the Pelican Bay prison control unit. After suffering mental deterioration Dortch covered himself in fecal matter. The administration ordered guards to wash it off and the guards took Dortch to the prison infirmary where they placed him in a steel tub of ...

$153,400 Awarded to Estate for Stabbing Death

$153,400 Awarded To Estate for Stabbing Death

An Ohio state prisoner was stabbed to death in a prison kitchen by another prisoner. The victim's estate sued the Ohio DOC claiming that because of inadequate security procedures with regards to kitchen knives and inadequate supervision of the assailant, the ...

$1.7 Million Settlement for Beating

A homeless man arrested for not paying a $100 fine for shoplifting food was booked into the Los Angeles County Jail. He refused to take an X-ray test for tuberculosis and was placed into an unsupervised hallway with a much taller prisoner who had earlier been certified as mentally disturbed ...

Swedish Prisoners Mutiny

On July 23, 1994, prisoners at the Tidaholm Prison, 200 miles Southwest of Stockholm, Sweden, refused to return to their cells at lock up time to protest the solitary confinement given to three prisoners after a fight earlier that day. Prison officials stated that some 115 of the 165 prisoners ...