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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: June, 1994

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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 the April, 1993, issue]. The first attempt, in 1992, failed to get the necessary 182,000 voter's signatures for the initiative to qualify for the ballot. It appeared that the 1993 effort would meet the same fate until, within the last few weeks before the July deadline by which initiatives must be filed with the secretary of state with the required signatures, the National Rifle Association (NRA) pumped $90,000 into the campaign (out of a total $170,000 raised). This allowed for a massive direct mailing to citizens across the state as well as paying professional companies to gather signatures.

Washington voters passed Initiative 593 "Three Strikes You're Out" by a three to one margin. Since then California has passed a similar measure; about 30 states are considering some form of it and it is the centerpiece of Clinton's vaunted "anticrime bill." The proponents of 3 ...

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 posed or justification for the segregation were sent to the Secretary of Corrections as required by Kansas prison regulations. Rhodes filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Kansas state court. The writ was eventually granted and the court ordered all references to the segregation expunged.

Rhodes then filed a suit under § 1983 for money damages claiming that his eighth and fourteenth amendment rights were violated by the segregation placement. After the state court granted Rhode's writ of habeas corpus the federal district court dismissed the 1983 action holding that it was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The court of appeals for the tenth circuit reversed and remanded.

The court explains the doctrine of res judicata which prohibits the litigation of certain claims based on the resolution of an earlier action between the same parties.  "Under res judicata, a final judgement on the merits of ...

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 this probably won't deter violent crime any more than the revival of the death penalty has discouraged homicides. The idea is so simple and direct -- and so wildly popular -- that only the bravest politician will dare question it. At both the state and federal levels, the principle is going to be enacted into law. Meanwhile, there is another variety of repeat offender who skips from one florid crime to the next and yet never encounters the same kind of angry reckoning. The crimes of these offenders are mainly about money -- stealing public money -- but some of the offenses can also endanger lives.

Let's name some of these recidivists: Boeing, General Electric, Grumman, Honeywell, Hughes Aircraft, Litton Industries, Magnavox, Martin Marietta, McDonnell Douglas, Northrop, Raytheon, Rockwell International, Teledyne, Texas Instruments, United Technologies.

All of these corporations are major defense contractors, and all have been caught defrauding the federal government ...

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 duly shot with the stun gun. After recovering from the shock he cleaned his cell. Hickey filed suit claiming that use of the stun gun constituted both summary punishment in violation of due process and the wanton infliction of pain in violation of the eighth amendment. After an evidentiary hearing the district court ruled that the use of force was a lawful attempt to restore order in the jail and dismissed the suit. The court of appeals for the eighth circuit disagreed, ruled in Hickey's favor and remanded the case for a determination of damages.

The appeals court concluded that the lower court's determination that the stun gun was used to restore order in the jail was "clearly erroneous." The factual record showed that at no time did jail guards feel threatened by Hickey nor did they subdue, restrain or isolate him after he was paralyzed by the ...

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 56 days, respectively.

In their criminal appeal Newby and Barber claim that under the double jeopardy clause of the constitution, the prison disciplinary hearing barred their subsequent criminal prosecution for the same charges. The court of appeals for the third circuit disagreed and upheld their convictions.

"Disciplinary sanctions imposed by prison authorities for infractions of prison regulations do not bar a subsequent criminal prosecution." Every circuit to consider this question, the 3rd, 8th and 10th, has reached the same conclusion. Thus, prisoners can be prosecuted before or after they have been found guilty of the same charges by prison tribunals.

The defendants also claimed the district court should have given them a downward departure from the sentencing guidelines because of the good-time they had lost in the disciplinary hearing. The appeals court held that the loss of good time is irrelevant for purposes of the federal sentencing guidelines because the ...

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 DOC and Clackamas county.

Alvin Canell is an Oregon state prisoner. He alleges that while he was at the OCIC he had several legal claims pending in different courts but was not allowed access to a law library. The only means he had by which to conduct legal research was via a "paging system" whereby he would provide OCIC officials with the exact case citation he needed and they, in turn, would provide a copy of the case. Canell claims this was inadequate because he lacked the digests he would need to determine what cases he needed. He claimed that even when he did request a specific case it was not always provided and <%-3>there were delays in the materials which were provided. He was also denied access to photocopying by which to copy his exhibits for service on the court and opposing counsel. He filed suit under § 1983 claiming ...

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 to be black or Hispanic. of the six actually convicted and sentenced to die, three are black, one is Hispanic, and two are white. These figures were reported by congressman Don Edwards (D. Calif.) who chairs the house judiciary committee. Before seeking the death penalty federal prosecutors must first obtain the approval of the attorney general.

Between 1930 and 1963, when the federal government last murdered someone with judicial sanction, 85% of its victims were white and 15% were black. Currently state death rows tend to be about 40% black, 58% white, 7.6% Hispanic and less than two percent Native and Asian Americans. Critics of the death penalty have long cited the racial disparity in how the death penalty is actually administered as one of the reasons to oppose it. Not surprisingly, this bias is showing itself in federal death penalty prosecutions as well. Statistics are not kept showing ...

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 the consent decree to allow the double celling of detainees. The district court denied the request which was affirmed on appeal. The Supreme Court vacated the decision in Rufo v. Inmates at the Suffolk County Jail, 112 S.Ct. 748 (1992) and remanded the case back to the district court.

The sheriff again motioned for modification of the consent decree to allow double celling and the court again denied the request 148 F.R.D. 14. The court of appeals for the first circuit affirmed the denial. In it's ruling the appeals court gave an extensive explanation of the legal standards used in modification of institutional reform consent decrees. The standard is a purely legal one subject to de novo review on appeal.

The court held that before a consent decree can be modified or vacated there must be a finding by the lower court that the underlying constitutional ...

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 had been totally out of control and they used only the amount of force needed to restore order. The magistrate recommended dismissal of the suit, which the district judge did. The court of appeals for the 8th circuit reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings.

The appeal court ruled that, as a procedural matter, the magistrate had erred in recommending dismissal of Johnson's excessive force claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the in forma pauperis statute. The IFP statute allows dismissal of legally or factually frivolous suits where the filing fees have not been paid. Because Johnson's claims were neither irrational nor incredible the suit was not appropriate for § 1915(d) dismissal.

While evidentiary hearings may be used to determine whether a pro se plaintiff's § 1983 lawsuit for damages warrants a jury trial, the hearing must be consistent with the plaintiff's right to a ...

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 cough. Those who refuse to do so are then forcibly searched by guards. Canell does not challenge the searches themselves but rather the manner in which they are conducted. He claims that the searches are conducted in an open area in full view of other guards, prisoners waiting to be searched, and clerical employees who view the strip searches through a window. Canell filed suit under § 1983 claiming that this type of search violated his Islamic religous beliefs. He filed for summary judgment and prison/jail officials sought qualified immunity, the district court denied both motions.

The court observes that: "Visual body cavity searches are dehumanizing and humiliating... Where permitted, such searches must be conducted in a reasonable manner and abuses cannot be condoned." The defendants conceded that gratuitous viewing by bystanders of naked prisoners is not supposed to occur but denied Canell's allegation that the searches had occurred ...

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, has since been repealed and only applies to prisoners convicted before November 1, 1987. Claiming that other, similarly situated kitchen workers had been awarded their work credits, Waletzki challenged the work credit denial as being arbitrary and capricious by seeking habeas corpus review in the local district court. The court dismissed the petition which was affirmed by the seventh circuit court of appeals.

The appeals court held that while there is a habeas remedy for the denial of good time credits, that remedy is not available for work credits because there is no entitlement to work credits, they are awarded solely at the Attorney General's discretion. The court conceded the possibility that Waletzki had been denied his work credits in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Even then, he could not succeed on the merits of his claim.

Because the statute sets forth no guidelines or other limits on prison ...

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 that the board member remove himself from the board so he could be called as a witness. The request was denied and Villa was found guilty. His administrative appeals denied, Villa sought review in Colorado state district court which dismissed it.

The Colorado state court of appeals reversed and remanded. In a brief opinion the court held that Colorado state prisoners have a right to call witnesses on their behalf at disciplinary hearings if the witness has knowledge relevant to a determination of the charges. Because the board member in this case did possess relevant knowledge Villa should have been allowed to elicit his testimony.

The court noted that prison disciplinary proceedings are a "quasi judicial proceeding which may be reviewed pursuant to C.R.C.P. 106(a)(4)... Such review is limited to a determination based upon evidence in the record, of whether the governmental body exercising a ...

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 Administrators.

This important new legislation explicitly overturned the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 US 872 (1990), which had held that facially neutral laws of general applicability that burden the exercise of religion require no special justification to satisfy the free exercise of religion clause of the first amendment, rejecting prior tests which required a compelling state interest and use of the "least restrictive means." Additionally, and of importance to prisoners, according to the Report of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary concerning the Act, Report No. 103-111, "As applied in the prison and jail context, the intent of the act is to restore the traditional protection afforded to inmates to observe their religions which was weakened by the decision in O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 US 342 (1987).

Prior to O'Lone, courts used a balancing test in cases where ...

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 in violation of the eighth amendment and violated his right to equal protection because conditions in ad seg were worse than those experienced by prisoners in disciplinary segregation. The district court dismissed the suit as being "frivolous" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d), the in forma pauperis statute. The court of appeals for the tenth circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

Noting that the IFP statute allows a court to dismiss those claims which are legally or factually without foundation, the court affirmed dismissal of the equal protection and eighth amendment claims because they contained only conclusory allegations and no facts to show or describe any differences between ad seg and disciplinary segregation.

While prisoners have no right under the federal constitution to remain free from ad seg such a right can be created by the states. The court held that Utah has not created such ...

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 left Williams trapped with his attackers. Davis belatedly summoned assistance and when the additional guards arrived they halted the beating. Williams requested medical attention and an hour later a nurse cleaned his wounds and recommended he be taken to a hospital. Two or three hours later he was taken to a hospital and received treatment.

Williams filed suit claiming that his eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment was violated, first when Davis did nothing to halt the attack on him, secondly by the delay in receiving medical treatment. The case went to trial and at the conclusion of evidence the district court granted the defendants a directed verdict as a matter of law on all counts. The court of appeals for the eighth circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

The appeals court noted that prison staff have an obligation to protect prisoners ...

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 the past.

At about 7:30 PM on February 26, 1994, prisoners began to riot in the outdoor recreation area and it spread to the indoor recreation, education, chapel and living units. One guard and an undisclosed number of prisoners suffered minor injuries during the melee. The prison suffered fire, smoke and water damage but BOP officials did not provide a dollar estimate on the damage. The medium security prison was originally designed to hold 700 to 800 prisoners but currently holds 1,200. It opened in January of 1993.

The February 28, 1994, article from the Cañon City Daily Record did not cite the causes or reasons behind the riot. However, a separate article in the February 27, 1994, issue of the Rocky Mountain News stated that the BOP was already investigating mismanagement and unrest at FCI Florence. Nineteen staff members and supervisors signed a petition asking Senator Ben ...

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, his hands were handcuffed, his feet shackled and a chain run between the two resulting in his spine being arched. This lasted for almost eight hours during which the restraints were removed only for a 40 minute meal break. Unable to use any bathroom facilities during this period, Littlewind was forced to urinate on the bunk. For the next 23 hours Littlewind was handcuffed with the handcuffs chained to one leg, after which he spent an additional seven and a half days in handcuffs and leg irons within the cell. During this period he was kept naked, without a blanket, toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, in a cell lit 24 hours a day. This occurred with no medical supervision and with the water to his toilet disconnected. Littlewind filed suit under § 1983 claiming that this treatment violated his eighth amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

The case ...

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 to take action upon his complaints of other prisoners' sexual advances, threats and assaults against him, denied his request for protective custody and that they had failed to enact and enforce policies to prevent the occurrence of such assaults. The defendants responded by filing a motion to dismiss on several grounds. The district court granted the motion to dismiss in part and denied it in part.

While noting that the eleventh amendment bars suits against state officials in their official capacities for money damages, suits seeking injunctive relief are allowed by the eleventh amendment. Suits against government officials in their individual or personal capacities may seek money damages.

The court denied the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. It is well established that prisoners have a right to be protected from attack, rape and assault by their fellow prisoners. Prison officials ...

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 they were only allowed three hours of access per week to the prison law library and that their confinement in administrative segregation (ad seg) violated their right to due process. The district court dismissed their suit as being frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d). The court of appeals for the seventh circuit vacated and remanded.

Byron Alston was the only one of the original twelve plaintiffs to appeal dismissal of the suit, the appellate court held the other plaintiffs were thus barred from benefiting from their ruling. The court discusses the in forma pauperis statute which allows courts to dismiss actions lacking an arguable basis in law or fact. The court noted that courts must give the pleadings of pro se litigants a liberal reading and should provide an opportunity to amend a complaint if more specific factual pleadings will cure its deficiencies.

The record before the lower ...

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, refused to stay the punishment pending further appeal and awarded the state $293.72 in partial attorney's fees and costs. The Alaska state supreme court vacated and remanded holding that prison officials had violated Brandon's right to due process at the hearing and the lower court had applied the wrong standard in declining to stay the punishment.

The supreme court held that Brandon was denied due process when the disciplinary hearings officer refused to call the guard who searched his cell as a witness. The court notes that under the Alaska state constitution prisoners have a fundamental right to call witnesses at their disciplinary hearings. "The burden is on the hearing officer to state reasons why the accused is not permitted to call the witness." "We have stated that it is the `exceptional case' where the chairman should refuse to call a witness." Alaska readers should note that ...

$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 products to nongovernment agencies. UNICOR is owned by the US government and operated by the Deprtment of Justice and Bureau of Prisons.

The clothes in question were sold to Sport Europa, a Miami based clothes retailer. Prisoners are paid between 23 cents and $1.15 an hour for their labor. UNICOR makes everything from furniture to military components, See May, 1994, PLN.

Mohwish and Duane Olson, another Jesup prisoner, have filed suit in US District Court in Georgia alleging that the practice violates the RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) act, its own 1934 charter and other laws. The suit also alleges that UNICOR is the largest employer of illegal aliens in the US, employing over 4,500 in violation of federal laws which prohibit the knowing employment of undocumented aliens. The inspector general of the Department of Justice has also begun a preliminary investigation into the allegations of falsified ...

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 Crime Control Fund, part of the "anti-crime" legislation now pending before congress.

Included in the DOJ budget request is $450 million to activate 9,673 new prison beds and pay for increased operational costs of existing facilities. It also requests $83 million for construction of 4,224 beds and the leasing of private prisons. This breaks down to: $101 million to activate prisons in Beckley, WV; Coleman, FL; Butner, NC; Waseca, MN; medical facilities in Carswell AFB, TX and Ft. Devens, MA; a detention center in Oklahoma City; detention units at FCI Sheridan, OR, and FCI Seagoville, TX; and a housing expansion in FCI Stafford, AZ. These activations add up to 9,673 beds, which represent more than a 10 percent increase in Bureau of Prisons (BOP) bed space.

The $83 million will go to build new prisons, with the 4,224 beds, in Louisiana, Texas and California and leasing ...

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 in his cell with stuffing from his mattress and other objects. Gardner directed Garcia to leave the cell and extinguished the fire. After putting out the fire Gardner asked Garcia why he had set the fire. Garcia responded "I no get my canteen... I got my rights." Not only did Garcia not get his canteen, he also did not receive a Miranda warning that his statements to Gardner could be used against him in a criminal proceeding.

Garcia was charged and convicted in Florida state court of first degree arson. His statements to Gardner were introduced at the trial, over his objection, and were an important part of the state's case. He sought federal habeas corpus relief by claiming his fifth amendment right against self incrimination was violated when Gardner interrogated him about the fire without informing him that his reply could be used against him in court. The ...

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 to change his name to Yakubu Mapfumo. He is prohibited from doing so as a result of the above law. He has filed a petition for a name change which was denied by the district court. The appeal is now pending and the appeals court has declined to appoint counsel. Both the ACLU and NAACP have declined to provide legal assistance in challenging the statute's constitutionality. Bogan is requesting legal assistance from counsel. He can be contacted at: Anthony Bogan # N13398, P.O. Box 711, Menard, IL. 622S9.

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 tape is 60 minutes long and features songs by Robinson, Flat Cap Conspiracy, Blind Mole Rat, Gentle iHors, Devotion, The Heather Dawson Experience, The Obi Men, Chom', Steve Finn, The Amazing Oak Tree Band, Vodi, Pastell Collision, The Acab Posse and Academy 23. The styles range from punk to industrial to rock.

To order a copy and help support this worthy cause send $7.00 to: Manchester ABC, Box 8, 1 Newton St. Manchester, M1 1HW, England.

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 good, but do not be fooled, the last thing on the State's agenda is to provide meaningful employment that might provide for a nice nest egg for prisoners upon release. They were responding to a notion that has become fashionable as of late, and that is: Make those scumbag prisoners pay for their room and board!

In careful analysis this is Capitalism doing what it does best--the rich profiteering off the work and misery of others, with no concern for those who are performing the labor. The courts have long held that prisoners in no way enjoy the same rights as other workers. The truth of the matter is slave labor is alive and well in the prisons of America, as well as the rest of the world. If a prisoner does not "program," i.e. work, he/she can lose good time, be thrown in the hole, not ...

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 civil suit in the lower courts.

NOW, a liberal feminist organization, was joined and supported in its petition to the court by the U.S. Department of Justice. Besides Scheidler, the targets of the suit include numerous anti-abortion organizations, with Operation Rescue being the most prominent. The NOW suit alleges that Operation Rescue, etc. are trying to shut down health clinics that provide reproductive services to women, including safe, legal abortion, and that their tactics include blockades, threats, etc. to dissuade women from using these clinics. What interest the Justice Dept. has in this case can only be presumed, but it's doubtful that their motivation has much to do with assisting NOW in their struggle to protect women's' access to abortion clinics.

The narrow legal issue decided by the court was whether RICO requires proof that a group is motivated by an economic purpose--as many district and appellate ...

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 reeked of vomit. Lebanon prisoncrats had refused to recognize Danny's protest or medically monitor his strike, contrary to department rules.

Representative McLin promised to launch an investigation into the misuse and falsified charges of "gang related activity" used to repress prison activists and jailhouse lawyers and ordered the Lebanon physician to place Danny on a liquid diet. The original charges stemmed from Lebanon investigator Flick monitoring mail between myself, my companion Sharon, Chryztof Knecht, Bill Martin and Danny which were formulating tactics of legitimate legislative lobbying letters and flyers protesting the implementation of a supermax prison in Ohio, as well as support activities for our class action lawsuit against Ohio's governor and DORC challenging overcrowding in Ohio along with the reduced programs and conditions resulting from the overcrowding. The suit encompasses six different maximum and close security Ohio prisons and has eleven named plaintiffs.

In effect, Danny was ...

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 compounded this as we had to get new postal permits which took a little longer than expected. Our move to the east coast has been finalized and all the problems associated with lining up an inexpensive printer, postal permits and volunteers appear to be resolved. Readers complained about the low quality of the March and April issues so we have switched to a new printer who has better quality control and is still cheaper than Seattle area printers.

With this issue of PLN we should be back on schedule of getting each issue into the mail by the end of the preceeding month. Thank you for bearing with us on this transition. Now for the good news. Last month's issue of PLN had 20 pages as a special anniversary issue. It turns out that it costs us a little less to print a 20 page issue of PLN in ...

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 1965 and spent seven years in prison before beginning his career as a civilian administrator of San Francisco's jail system, a successful career spanning almost 20 years which has earned him the respect of his supervisors as well as his latest promotion to assistant sheriff.

Good thing for Mr. Marcum he did not wait until after 1978 to commit a murder. Our first and second degree murder sentences are now 25 years to life and 15 years to life, respectively. The parole board appointed by Governor Wilson paroled an ex-cop who donated $30,000 to Wilson's campaign fund, yet others who have done 8, 10, 12, 14 or more years for the same crime as Mr. Marcum are being denied parole despite statistics which show the vast majority of murderers over the age of 40 who have served 8 or more years in prison never again commit a ...

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 in Butner, NC, while the judge and prosecutor remained in the courtroom in Raleigh, NC. Such video conferences were recently approved in the march, 1993, Judicial Conference. This appears to be the first time the technology was used, and challenged.

Citing the cost and inconvenience of sending federal marshalls to Butner to pick up prisoners and bring them to court for their competency hearings, the court approved the government's motion to conduct the commitment via teleconference. Other concerns expressed by the court were the disruption in prisoners' medication schedules and having to place mentally ill prisoners in holding cells with healthy prisoners. The court describes the arrangement whereby the witnesses, Baker, and others were present at Butner and televised into the court some forty miles away.

Bakers's attorney objected to the arrangement on the grounds that it denied Baker due process and the right to effective assistance of ...

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 Recreation fund for purposes other than those which were the intent of the legislature. In taking the hot pots, the director is also discontinuing all items on the prison store which are used in conjunction with the hot pots.

The director, Samuel Lewis, has a complete disregard for society. Lewis ordered district warden Crist to open a new prison unit before it was completed, by this I mean placing prisoners in a unit when the security fence was not even completed! This is a medium security unit. Warden Crist objected to placing prisoners on an unsecured yard, citing the possible dangers to society. Lewis informed Crist he didn't care about his objections and Crist then resigned. Lewis then ordered Deputy Warden McFadden to open the new unit (Eyman Complex, Meadows Unit, Florence, AZ) and the unit was opened. When the unit was first opened the main gate was not ...

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 at the Spring Creek Correctional center in Seward, Alaska. We have a population of about 450 prisoners here, maximum security. At one point we were allowed computers and printers for in-cell use. However, in January, 1992, we were blessed with a new warden, you guessed it, Larry Kincheloe, and his first action here was to take away our computers and printers. Of course, he had a little help from the Alaska Attorney General's office in this scheme to hinder our access to the courts and deny our rehabilitative efforts. We now have approximately four cases pending in federal district court in Alaska on this issue and are only near or at the discovery stage of the litigation.

We are currently experiencing the most blatant forms of harassment and retaliatory measures by this prison administration (headed by Larry Kincheloe) due to our exercising our right of access to the courts ...

 

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