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Prison Legal News: April, 1994

Issue PDF
Volume 5, Number 4

In this issue:

  1. Court Rules on Control Unit Law Library Access (p 1)
  2. Ad Seg as Punishment Unlawful (p 2)
  3. Jail Detainees Have Right to Library Access (p 2)
  4. 5th Cir. Guts Legal Mail Standard (p 3)
  5. Wolff Hearing Required Before Detainees Punished (p 3)
  6. 9th Cir. Explains Review of Religious Claims (p 4)
  7. AZ Prisoners Have Right to Court Access (p 5)
  8. Okay to Disclose Informant's Identity (p 5)
  9. Excluding Alibi Witness Unconstitutional (p 5)
  10. Infestation Violates 8th Amendment (p 6)
  11. Detainees Have Right to be Vermin Free (p 6)
  12. BOP Liable for Recalculating Sentence (p 6)
  13. IL Prisoners Have No Right to a Valid Classification System (p 7)
  14. MO Ad Seg Practices Unlawful (p 7)
  15. Double Celling Pre-Trial Detainees Violates Due Process (p 7)
  16. Washington Litigation Update (p 8)
  17. LA Prisoners Boycott Phones (p 9)
  18. Court Cannot Dismiss Suit When Partial Filing Fee Paid (p 9)
  19. Prisoners Pursue Prison Industries Litigation Despite Continued Retaliation (p 10)
  20. Report on Indiana Control Unit Issued (p 10)
  21. Stop the Ohio Super-Max! (p 11)
  22. From The Editor (p 11)
  23. Informant Sues Over Disclosure (p 11)
  24. GA Parole Rules Create Liberty Interest (p 12)
  25. Ohio Targets Activists as "Gang Members" (p 12)
  26. Work Release Revocation Requires Hearing (p 13)
  27. Jail Sued Under ADA (p 13)
  28. No Right to Gate Money (p 13)
  29. Mexican Prisoners Speak Out (p 14)
  30. BOP Suits Require Administrative Exhaustion (p 14)
  31. Brazilian Guard Gets 516 Years (p 15)
  32. Legal News in Brief - NCIC Info Rule (p 15)
  33. British Govt Rolls Back Civil Rights (p 15)
  34. Legal News in Brief - 9th Cir. Amends LeMaire Opinion (p 15)

Court Rules on Control Unit Law Library Access

Abdul Akbar is a Delaware state prisoner confined in the Maximum Security Unit (MSU) of the Delaware Correctional Center (DCC). The MSU is a control unit for the long-term segregation of prisoners that prison officials allege to be a danger within the general population of the DCC. The MSU is ...

Ad Seg as Punishment Unlawful

Ad Seg As Punishment Unlawful

Greg Stevens is an HIV+ Arkansas state prisoner, he is also missing a finger. Due to his medical condition he received a medical limitations slip which prohibited him from working in the prison fields. He reported to work in the fields and showed the slip ...

Jail Detainees Have Right to Library Access

This case involves a consolidated appeal of one suit by three Wisconsin county jail detainees and one by an Indiana jail detainee. All of the plaintiffs claimed their right of access to the courts was violated because the jails they were held in had no law library, they had no ...

5th Cir. Guts Legal Mail Standard

Van Lee Brewer and Claude Harris are Texas state prisoners. They filed suit under § 1983 claiming that prison officials had opened and read their incoming legal mail from the courts, attorneys and government officials outside their presence. They also claimed their outgoing mail to the courts was opened and legal ...

Wolff Hearing Required Before Detainees Punished

Ernest Walker is a pretrial detainee at the Navarro County Jail in Corsicana, Texas. Walker asked a jail guard to open his cell door so he could get some chips to eat. The guard refused and claimed Walker called him an obscene name. The guard placed Walker in segregation. The ...

9th Cir. Explains Review of Religious Claims

Jason Ward is the only Orthodox Jewish prisoner at the Ely State Prison in Nevada. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming that prison officials had violated his right to free exercise of his religion by not providing him with a kosher diet; an orthodox Rabbi; clothes made of a single ...

AZ Prisoners Have Right to Court Access

Antonio Bustamonte is an Arizona state prisoner held at the Winslow prison. In April of 1992 a riot broke out at the prison resulting in Bustamonte's housing unit being locked down. One of the consequences of the lockdown, in which prisoner's were not allowed to leave their cells ...

Okay to Disclose Informant's Identity

David Sterling is a federal prisoner. He is also an informant. During the course of disciplinary proceedings against his cellmate, Lawrence Pekoske, Sterling provided information to Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials under a promise of confidentiality.

Pekoske filed a request to examine his prison records with the BOP under the ...

Excluding Alibi Witness Unconstitutional

Kelvin Moye is a New York state prisoner. He was infracted for stabbing another prisoner. At his disciplinary hearing Moye requested a statement from a prisoner whose testimony would indicate that Moye could not have committed the stabbing. The hearing officer refused to obtain a statement from the witness and ...

Infestation Violates 8th Amendment

Several pretrial detainees in the Cook County jail in Chicago filed suit over rodent infestation at the jail. Several of the plaintiffs claimed they had been bitten by rats, one was attacked by a swarm of mice. Administrative grievances and complaints to jail officials failed to resolve the problem. The ...

Detainees Have Right to be Vermin Free

Two federal pretrial detainees housed under contract in the Allegheny County Jail (ACJ) in Pennsylvania sued jail officials for a wide variety of ailments affecting jail prisoners. Among the issues they filed suit on were: inadequate ventilation, extreme temperatures, excessive noise, use of chemicals and machines in the jail that ...

BOP Liable for Recalculating Sentence

Kent Alexander is a former federal prisoner. In 1986 he was released after serving a three year federal sentence. Eighty days later he was arrested for "violation of parole" and placed in FCI Tucson. The prison administrative systems manager, Luis Rivera, told Alexander that the BOP had recalculated his previously ...

IL Prisoners Have No Right to a Valid Classification System

State prosecutors' use of extreme language and personal opinion in letters that they are required to submit to the department of corrections for use in making initial prison security classifications of newly committed prisoners does not violate the constitution or the statute itself, the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held ...

MO Ad Seg Practices Unlawful

Several prisoners at the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) filed suit after they were held in administrative segregation (ad seg) for periods ranging between nine and thirty days without a hearing or an opportunity to challenge the information upon which the ad seg was allegedly based. The "hearing" the prisoners received ...

Double Celling Pre-Trial Detainees Violates Due Process

Several animal rights protestors arrested while demonstrating against an annual pigeon shoot filed suit against Schuykill County Prison in Pennsylvania, and it's officials, alleging that the conditions of confinement during their stay at the prison violated their constitutional rights. The conditions complained of in the suit include: double celling ...

Washington Litigation Update

Access to the Courts: Prisoners at WCC, TRCC, MICC and WSP have filed suit concerning DOC policies, rules and practices which restrict their right of access to the courts. Scott v. Peterson , Case No. C92-5232B, filed in US District Court in Tacoma, is a consolidation of six individual cases initially ...

LA Prisoners Boycott Phones

By Paul Wright

In June of 1993 Global Tel-Link won a 3 year contract with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections to install about 875 phones and handle all collect calls placed from the state's 16 adult and juvenile facilities. The company, which mentioned the "profitability of ...

Court Cannot Dismiss Suit When Partial Filing Fee Paid

Robert Butler is a Nevada state prisoner. He filed suit under § 1983 alleging his defense attorney and trial judge at his state court trial had conspired together in order to deny him a fair trial.

The district court granted Butler permission to proceed in forma pauperis but required him to ...

Prisoners Pursue Prison Industries Litigation Despite Continued Retaliation

By Ken Krause

Several prisoners at the Ely State Prison in Ely, Nevada are continuing to litigate despite repeated retaliation by Ely State Prison officials. Kenneth Krause, Edward Wills and David Bean began a federal RICO suit in 1991 alleging that the prison drapery factory was not paying minimum wage ...

Report on Indiana Control Unit Issued

The Coalition Against Indiana Control Units (CAICU) has issued it's report Human Rights Violations and Torture on the Rise at the Maximum Control Complex at Westville, IN: Profile of a Supermax . The report details and documents the conditions of confinement suffered by prisoners at the MCC in Westville. This ...

Stop the Ohio Super-Max!

Ohio presently imprisons some 41,000 prisoners in 23 different penitentiaries designed to hold 21,738. It plans to build six more prisons, including a super-maximum, or Super Max, prison which will confine only 500 prisoners and cost taxpayers $15 million to build. Super max prisons, such as the U ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN . First, please accept my apologies for the late arrival of the March issue. In the past we have mailed PLN from Seattle on the last Tuesday of the month. We have now switched our printing and mailing operation ...

Informant Sues Over Disclosure

Steve Rutledge is an informant in the Illinois state prison system. While housed at the Joliet prison he informed on members of the North Side gang who were planning an escape attempt. As a result, the would-be escapees were segregated, infracted and punished. Prison officials promised Rutledge fabricated infractions to ...

GA Parole Rules Create Liberty Interest

Stephen Sultenfuss is a Georgia state prisoner serving sentences for two drug convictions. Under the rules of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole (GBPP) he should have served 10 months in prison. Disregarding their own rules the GBPP imposed a period of 62 months of incarceration before parole.

Sultenfuss ...

Ohio Targets Activists as "Gang Members"

Ohio Targets Activists As "Gang Members"

By John Perotti

The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DORC) instituted a regulation prohibiting "gang related activity." This was implemented to fall in line with their overall intention to follow in the footsteps of California, Texas, Illinois and other states which have built "Super ...

Work Release Revocation Requires Hearing

Billy Jackson was an Arkansas state prisoner. She was placed in work release but later quit her job and her parole officer could not locate her at her address of record. She was later arrested on charges of public drunkenness, returned to prison and given a prison disciplinary hearing whereupon ...

Jail Sued Under ADA

In 1990 Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12131-12134, which prohibits discrimination against the disabled by public services. Readers will note that this law applies to prisons and jails who can be sued for failing to provide disabled prisoners with reasonable accommodation to the ...

No Right to Gate Money

Several New York state prisoners filed suit under § 1983 over a plan enacted by the New York state legislature which revoked the $40 gate money previously given to prisoners upon their release by the state. They also challenged a plan under which prison officials would seize 12.5% of all ...

Mexican Prisoners Speak Out

[PLN is committed to keeping it's readers informed of those who are in prison as a result of the struggle for social and economic justice. By now everyone has heard about the rebellion which rocked Mexico when, on Jnauary 1, 1994, guerrillas of the Zapatista National Liberation Army took ...

BOP Suits Require Administrative Exhaustion

John Rourke is a federal prisoner. He filed suit seeking injunctive relief alleging that prison officials had denied him medical care and arbitrarily imposed disciplinary sanctions against him. The district court dismissed the suit without prejudice as frivolous, before service on the defendants, holding that Rourke was required to exhaust ...

Brazilian Guard Gets 516 Years

On October 23, 1993, Celso Jose De Cruz, a military police investigator, was sentenced by a Brazilian judge to a record 516 years in prison for the murder of 18 prisoners. A jury had found Cruz, 46, guilty of all 18 counts of murder.

The jury found that in February ...

Legal News in Brief - NCIC Info Rule

The Bureau of Prisons, Department of Justice, has issued a final rule amending it's rule on production or disclosure of FBI/National Crime Information Center (NCIC) information to conform to NCIC's requirement that any request by a prisoner for his or her NCIC Interstate Identification Index be made ...

British Govt Rolls Back Civil Rights

As part of the political and economic crisis racking all the capitalist countries the British government has recently passed it's version of a crime bill. Home Secretary Michael Howard says the bill is the most comprehensive attack on "crime" in three decades. This follows over a decade of war ...

Legal News in Brief - 9th Cir. Amends LeMaire Opinion

The Court of Appeals for the ninth circuit recently amended an opinion concerning the constitutionality of conditions in the Oregon State Penitentiary's (OSP) Disciplinary Segregation Unit (DSU). PLN reported the decision in Vol. 5, No. 1 (January, 1994). The court adhered to it's decision in LeMaire v. Maas ...