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Prison Legal News: June, 1994

Issue PDF
Volume 5, Number 6

In this issue:

  1. Three Strikes Racks 'em Up (p 1)
  2. Habeas Doesn't Bar Section 1983 (p 3)
  3. Why the Mighty GE Can't Strike Out (p 3)
  4. Stun Gun Use Violates Constitution (p 4)
  5. Infraction No Double Jeopardy Bar (p 4)
  6. Intake Center Prisoners Have Right of Access to Courts (p 5)
  7. Fed Death Penalty Biased (p 5)
  8. Modification of Consent Decree Denied (p 6)
  9. Evidentiary Hearing Cannot Replace Trial in Beating Suit (p 6)
  10. Public Strip Searches Unlawful (p 7)
  11. NV Disciplinary Seg Rules Create Liberty Interest (p 7)
  12. No Court Review of Work Credit Denial (p 8)
  13. CO Affirms Right to Impartial Hearing Board (p 8)
  14. Law Students Entitled to Attorney Fees (p 8)
  15. Religious Freedom Restoration Act Passed (p 9)
  16. UT Property Regs Create Liberty Interest (p 9)
  17. Guards Have Duty to Protect Prisoners (p 10)
  18. Riot at FCI Florence (p 10)
  19. Hog-Tying Violates 8th Amendment (p 10)
  20. Rape Victim States Claim (p 11)
  21. ISR Seg Conditions Suit Not Frivolous (p 11)
  22. AK Disciplinary Hearing Violates Due Process (p 12)
  23. $35,000 Awarded for Beating (p 12)
  24. UNICOR Sued for Illegal Sales (p 12)
  25. DOJ Seeks More Money for Prisons (p 13)
  26. No Miranda Rights in Prison (p 13)
  27. IL Bans Prisoner Name Changes (p 13)
  28. ABC Benefit Tape (p 13)
  29. Prison Labor and the Need for Representation (p 14)
  30. RICO Expanded by Supreme Court (p 15)
  31. Repression Ohio Style (p 16)
  32. From The Editor (p 16)
  33. A Call to Reason (p 17)
  34. Court Allows Video Commitment Hearing (p 18)
  35. AZ Prison Blues (p 19)
  36. Computerless in Alaska (p 19)

Three Strikes Racks 'em Up

Three Strikes Racks 'Em Up

By Paul Wright


In November of 1993 voters in Washington state passed Initiative 593 which mandates life without parole for defendants convicted of one of 42 qualifying felonies for the third time. PLN covered the initiative process as it was unfolding at the time, [see ...

Habeas Doesn't Bar Section 1983

Ronald Rhodes is a Kansas state prisoner. He was placed in segregation by prison officials claiming he was planning an outbreak of racially motivated violence in the prison mess hall. He was never given written notice of the grounds for placing him in segregation. No written explanation of the threat ...

Why the Mighty GE Can't Strike Out

Led by Bill Clinton, the crime fighters of Washington have hit upon a wondrous new weapon for stomping on criminals: Three crimes of violence, from armed robbery and murder, the judicial remedy will be permanent. Lock 'em up for life -- throw away the key. Leave aside all the reasons why ...

Stun Gun Use Violates Constitution

J.B. Hickey was an Arkansas state prisoner in the Pulaski County jail awaiting transfer to the penitentiary. Jail officials ordered him to clean his cell and he refused. Jail deputies told Hickey they would shoot him with a stun gun unless he cleaned his cell. Hickey refused and was ...

Infraction No Double Jeopardy Bar

Gene Newby and Raynaldo Barber were federal prisoners convicted in US District Court of assaulting and interfering with BOP guards. Prior to being criminally convicted they had been infracted and found guilty, in a prison disciplinary hearing, of the same charges. As a result they lost good time, 1000 and ...

Intake Center Prisoners Have Right of Access to Courts

After conviction and sentencing, Oregon prisoners are taken to the Oregon Corrections Intake Center (OCIC) which conducts an initial assessment and classifies the prisoner to the prison he/she will ultimately be sent. The average stay is between four to twelve weeks. The OCIC is jointly run by the Oregon ...

Fed Death Penalty Biased

In 1988 federal law was amended to allow for the execution of drug dealers who committed murder in the furtherance of their drug enterprises. Since the law came into effect the Justice Department has sought the death penalty in 37 cases. Of the 37 defendants 33, or 89%, just happen ...

Modification of Consent Decree Denied

In 1971 jail detainees of the Suffolk County Jail in Massachusetts filed suit concerning unconstitutional conditions at the jail. In 1979 the prisoners and sheriff entered into a consent decree which forbade the double-celling of jail prisoners. In 1989 a new jail was built and the sheriff sought to modify ...

Evidentiary Hearing Cannot Replace Trial in Beating Suit

Clifton Johnson is an Arkansas state prisoner. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that prison guards had beat, kicked and stomped him without provocation when he requested his property in the prison segregation unit. A magistrate held an evidentiary hearing at which prison guards claimed Johnson ...

Public Strip Searches Unlawful

Alvin Canell is an Oregon state prisoner held at the Oregon Corrections Intake Center (OCIC), which is jointly operated by the Oregon DOC and Clackamas County. Upon arriving, leaving or after any trip outside of OCIC, prisoners are made to disrobe, lift their genitals, bend over, spread their buttocks and ...

NV Disciplinary Seg Rules Create Liberty Interest

Andrew Walker was a federal prisoner housed in the Nevada state prison system. During a cell search guards found a knife in Walker's cell. After the knife was found, Walker was placed in segregation. Prison officials claimed it was administrative segregation (ad seg), Walker contends he was placed in ...

No Court Review of Work Credit Denial

Daniel Waletzki is a federal prisoner. While imprisoned at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, he worked in the kitchen. Prison officials refused to award him good time credits for meritorious job performance which would have reduced his sentence. The statute allowing such credits, 18 U.S.C. § 4162 ...

CO Affirms Right to Impartial Hearing Board

C. Frank Villa is a Colorado state prisoner. He was infracted for allegedly throwing food at a prison guard. At his disciplinary hearing Villa learned that the guard in question, who also issued the disciplinary report, had phoned one of the disciplinary board members to report the incident. Villa requested ...

Law Students Entitled to Attorney Fees

Ten prisoners at the District of Columbia's prison in Lorton, VA, filed suit claiming they had been shackled, handcuffed and severely beaten by prison guards. They were then infracted, found guilty and placed in segregation without due process. Unable to afford counsel the prisoners retained counsel on a contingency ...

Religious Freedom Restoration Act Passed

Congress has passed, and President Clinton has signed into law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Public Law 103-141. The new statute was passed without an exemption for prisons and jails requested by law enforcement officials including the Attorney Generals of 26 states and the Association of State Correctional ...

UT Property Regs Create Liberty Interest

Jeffrey Abbot is a Utah state prisoner. He filed suit claiming his rights to due process were violated when he was transferred to administrative segregation (ad seg) and his personal property (books, bible, magazines, hygiene items, etc.) were confiscated. He also claimed that this amounted to cruel and unusual punishment ...

Guards Have Duty to Protect Prisoners

Oscar Williams is a Missouri state prisoner. He was assaulted and beaten by two other prisoners in his dormitory. The guard on duty at the time, Clarence Davis, witnessed the attack but did not intervene. When Williams attempted to escape his assailants Davis closed and locked the dormitory door which ...

Riot at FCI Florence

Florence, CO, is the future site of the federal government's new supermax prison. Eventually Florence will have a minimum, medium, maximum and supermax prison within one big complex. The minimum and medium sections are already opened and operational. PLN has reported on the control unit aspect of Florence in ...

Hog-Tying Violates 8th Amendment

Eugene Littlewind is a North Dakota state prisoner. In 1988 Littlewind and three other prisoners attacked a guard in the North Dakota Penitentiary segregation unit. After the attack, Littlewind cooperated with guards and was taken to the prison's observation unit. Once there he was stripped naked, placed face down ...

Rape Victim States Claim

James Johnson is a Connecticut state prisoner. He filed suit against various prison officials claiming they were deliberately indifferent to his physical safety after he was placed in a cell with a prisoner who had a known history of sexual assaults who raped him. He claimed prison officials then failed ...

ISR Seg Conditions Suit Not Frivolous

Twelve prisoners in the segregation unit of the Indiana State Reformatory (ISR) filed suit challenging their conditions of confinement. They claimed that their right to freely practice their religious faith was violated when they were denied access to religious programs; their right of access to the courts was violated when ...

AK Disciplinary Hearing Violates Due Process

Richard Brandon is an Alaska state prisoner. During a search of his cell prison guards found homemade liquor and a stolen radio. Brandon was infracted and found guilty at a disciplinary hearing and his administrative appeals were denied. Brandon filed an appeal with the state superior court which denied it ...

$35,000 Awarded for Beating

Leon Davis is a Georgia state prisoner. He filed suit claiming that his eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated when a guard shoved him down the stairs of a fire escape and another guard punched him in the face and struck his legs ...

UNICOR Sued for Illegal Sales

UNICOR Sued For Illegal Sales

Joe Mohwish, a federal prisoner at FCI Jesup in Georgia, has filed suit against UNICOR claiming that they are competing against private industry by selling prisoner made clothing to private companies. UNICOR is prohibited by statute from competing against private industry and cannot sell its ...

DOJ Seeks More Money for Prisons

On February 7, 1994, President Clinton submitted his proposed budget for fiscal year 1995 to congress. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is slated to receive $13.652 billion, a $2.679 billion increase over the 1994 budget. This figure includes $2.423 billion that the administration is seeking from a ...

No Miranda Rights in Prison

PLN does not normally report on criminal cases, however, that line is sometimes blurry and we will report on cases which will affect or interest our readers. Marco Garcia was a prisoner in the Hillsborough County Jail in Florida. He was observed by jail guard Robert Gardener feeding a fire ...

IL Bans Prisoner Name Changes

The Illinois legislature recently passed Public Act 88-25, effective July 6, 1993, which prohibits convicted felons from changing their names while incarcerated. The act also prohibits felons from changing their names until two years after being paroled or pardoned.

Anthony Bogan is a PLN reader in Illinois who has sought ...

ABC Benefit Tape

The Anarchist Black Cross is composed of different groups around the world whose purpose is to aid and support class struggle prisoners. ABC Manchester has recently put out a pretty good benefit tape to help raise funds for their activities, which include supporting prisoners, putting out a paper, etc.

The ...

Prison Labor and the Need for Representation

By H. Rosenberg

The 1993 session of the Washington State Legislature, passed a bill into law, mandating that Washington State DOC double the size of the Institutional Industries program within the next several years. The bill in essence creates more higher paying jobs for prisoners. To some this might sound ...

RICO Expanded by Supreme Court

On January 24, 1994 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law does not require proof of economic motive, National Organization of Women, et. al. v. Joseph Scheidler, et. al. The court's decision clears the way for NOW to continue its RICO ...

Repression Ohio Style

By John Perotti

On April 14, 1994, the 60th day of a hungerstrike by Danny Cahill (see PLN, April, 1994), state representatives Rhine McLin and Samuel Bateman ordered Lebanon Correctional Institution officials to take them to Danny's isolation cell. Danny had been experiencing daily vomiting and convulsions; his cell ...

From The Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN. We received a lot of letters from readers inquiring about the late delivery of their March, April and May issues. That was due to delays in the desktop publishing which delayed the March issue. The move to the east coast also ...

A Call to Reason

By Pat O'Connell

The recent news about an ex-murderer being promoted to assistant sheriff of the San Francisco Sheriff's department shouldn't really be such a unique news item but the story got me to thinking about why it would make headlines.

Michael Marcum murdered his father in ...

Court Allows Video Commitment Hearing

Leroy Baker is a federal prisoner who was scheduled for a hearing to determine if he would be committed to a mental health facility. While there is nothing unusual about such hearings, this one was conducted by means of "teleconferencing" whereby Baker and his attorney remained at the federal prison ...

AZ Prison Blues

In Arizona prisoners are allowed a TV, stereo, typewriter, fan, electric razor, reading lamp and a hot pot. Yet the Director of Prisons claims that it is the hot pots which use the most electricity thus he is banning hot pots! He also wants to start using the Activities and ...

Computerless in Alaska

It was with intense interest that I read your editorial in the February, 1994, issue in which you described the end of your 5 year struggle to get your computers back for in-cell use. I am sorry to tell you, our struggle has only recently begun.

I am a prisoner ...