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Prison Legal News: September, 1994

Issue PDF
Volume 5, Number 9

In this issue:

  1. The Unconstitutionality of Discriminatory Jury Selection (p 1)
  2. Michigan Prisoner Challenges Jury Selection Process (p 2)
  3. Prison Racial Segregation Illegal (p 3)
  4. The Death Penalty in Black and White (p 4)
  5. Demanding Death (p 6)
  6. Delay in Dental Care Creates Fact Dispute (p 7)
  7. PA Prisoners Enjoy Right to Parole Consideration (p 7)
  8. Disciplinary Guilty Plea No Waiver to Suit (p 7)
  9. Breach of Contract Claim OK Against Medical Contractor (p 8)
  10. BOP Ad Seg Rules Create Liberty Interest (p 8)
  11. New Trial for Beating (p 9)
  12. VA "Men Only" Boot Camp Illegal (p 9)
  13. WA Mail Policy Illegal (p 10)
  14. Further Developments in WA Powell Case (p 10)
  15. Airway Heights Opens (p 11)
  16. WA DOC Enjoined From Taking Costs (p 11)
  17. Few Programs for FL Women Prisoners (p 12)
  18. S.Ct. Distinguishes Habeas and Section 1983 (p 12)
  19. Two Dead in CT Riots (p 13)
  20. Juries Tougher on Prisoner Litigators in Big Law Suits (p 13)
  21. PA Supreme Court Justice Sentenced (p 13)
  22. Prison TV: Luxury or Management Tool? (p 14)
  23. News in Brief (p 15)
  24. FL DOC Corruption (p 15)
  25. From The Editor (p 16)
  26. Justice for Mark Cook - It's Way Past Time (p 16)
  27. Letter From Mark Cook (p 17)
  28. South American Prison News (p 18)
  29. Art and Writings Against the Death Penalty / Save Mumia Abu Jamal (p 18)
  30. The "Correcting Corrections" Project Distributes Prison Video Documentaries (p 19)

The Unconstitutionality of Discriminatory Jury Selection

The foundation for an analysis of the right to be a juror, or be tried by a jury of peers is securely rooted in the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The Sixth Amendment prohibits any substantial under-representation of minorities. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth ...

Michigan Prisoner Challenges Jury Selection Process

PLN rarely reports on criminal law cases, but when we think one will interest our readers we print it. Such is the case with an interesting legal struggle going on in Michigan. PLN reader Emmett Jones (see his article on page 1, The Unconstitutionality of Discriminatory Jury Selection) initiated a ...

Prison Racial Segregation Illegal

In 1970s a federal judge issued an injunction enjoining racial discrimination in the operation or administration of the Louisiana State Penitentiary (LSP) at Angola, LA. The court ordered prison officials to immediately correct the effects of any past racial discrimination and to maintain Angola as a completely integrated facility. Despite ...

The Death Penalty in Black and White

By Michael Ross

"[The] evidence shows that there is a better than even chance in Georgia that race will influence the decision to impose the death penalty: a majority of defendants in white-victim crimes would not have been sentenced to die if their victims had been black."

Surprisingly those words ...

Demanding Death

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Michael Alan Durocher, of Florida's Death Row, wrote to the Governor, literally begging for death. Gov. Lawton Chiles agreed, signed his death warrant, and Durocher sent him a thank you note.

On August 25, 1993, at 7:15 a.m., Durocher, 33, got his wish.

California ...

Delay in Dental Care Creates Fact Dispute

Wardell Patterson is a Missouri state prisoner. On February 12, 1992, Patterson had a tooth filled by William Pearson, the prison dentist. The next day Patterson began suffering from swelling, headaches and severe pain. Patterson's unit manager contacted Pearson about the problem and Pearson instructed him to file a ...

PA Prisoners Enjoy Right to Parole Consideration

By William L. Marshall

In an opinion entered February 28, 1994, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that under Section 11 of the PA Parole Act (61 P.S. § 331.22), while the PA Board of Probation and Parole ("the Board"), in its discretion has authority to either grant or deny ...

Disciplinary Guilty Plea No Waiver to Suit

Joe Reeves is a Texas state prisoner. He was infracted for placing his food tray outside his cell in the segregation unit. A prison rule required that food trays remain inside prisoner's cells until collected by guards. Reeves had received no notice prior to this that his behavior was ...

Breach of Contract Claim OK Against Medical Contractor

On December 22, 1992, Eddie Cherry began serving a 30 day sentence in the Polk county jail, Florida, for drunk driving. At the time of his incarceration he told jail staff that he drank approximately a case of beer a day. Over the next two days he repeatedly sought medical ...

BOP Ad Seg Rules Create Liberty Interest

Jerome Crowder is a paraplegic federal prisoner confined to a wheelchair. He filed suit against officials of the Metropolitan Corrections Center (MCC) in Chicago claiming he was placed in administrative segregation without a hearing and as a result of this he was denied proper medical care. The defendants filed a ...

New Trial for Beating

Clifton Thomas is an Illinois state prisoner. While confined at the Pontiac Correctional Center, Thomas was accused of stabbing another prisoner. The state sought and received a court order to obtain a blood sample from Thomas to aid in the investigation of the stabbing. Prison guards summoned Thomas to the ...

VA "Men Only" Boot Camp Illegal

In 1990 the Virginia legislature created a Boot Camp Incarceration Program (BCIP) which became effective on January 1, 1991. Those entering the BCIP usually spend 90 days in it followed by a year's probation. Those unable to enter the program, including all women, spend longer sentences either in prison ...

WA Mail Policy Illegal

Timothy O'Keefe is a prisoner at the Washington State Penitentiary (WSP) at Walla Walla. In October, 1993, O'Keefe tried to mail six pieces of outgoing mail as legal mail. The letters were addressed to the prison warden; US Postal Inspector; State Higher Education Coordinating Board; Employment Security Dept ...

Further Developments in WA Powell Case

This is a further update on developments in the Powell litigation. The Attorney General's office recently filed in the Ninth Circuit a document in which they claimed that the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board will treat superintendents' recommendations for parole under RCW 9.95.052 just as they would have ...

Airway Heights Opens

The Spokane Spokesman Review reports that on July 15, 1994, the 1,024 bed Airway Heights Correctional Center (AHCC) officially opened near Spokane, Washington, by accepting its first 40 medium security prisoners. The prison cost Washington state tax payers $113 million to build and was slated to open in November ...

WA DOC Enjoined From Taking Costs

Past issues of PLN have reported on the tactic seized upon by the Washington Attorney General's office to retaliate against prisoners who exercise their right of access to the courts, namely billing prisoners for the costs incurred by the AG in litigating [See PLN, Vol. 4, No. 6]. A ...

Few Programs for FL Women Prisoners

Despite laws requiring that women prisoners receive the same job training in prison as men, Florida spends one third less on women's programming than men's and limits their training to low paying jobs, according to a study released by the Florida House Corrections Committee in March, 1994.

The ...

S.Ct. Distinguishes Habeas and Section 1983

The two most common suits filed by state prisoners in federal courts are 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petitions which challenge the length or legality of confinement and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suits which seek money damages for civil rights violations. There are important procedural differences between ...

Two Dead in CT Riots

At 6:45 PM on July 12, 1994, 200 prisoners were in the recreation yard of the medium security Carl Robinson Correctional Facility at Enfield, Connecticut. For reasons not reported to PLN, a number of prisoners put on hoods and used makeshift weapons to hunt down and beat other prisoners ...

Juries Tougher on Prisoner Litigators in Big Law Suits

In this land of big lawsuits, the growth of multimillion dollar jury awards may have been halted. Juries nationwide have become tougher on people who sue doctors, insurance companies, and prison officials--siding less often with the plaintiffs. There is evidence that the size of the awards has leveled off, too ...

PA Supreme Court Justice Sentenced

On June 13, 1994, Rolf Larsen, a justice on the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court for the past sixteen years, was removed from office and sentenced to two years' probation for arranging to have his doctor prescribe tranquilizers in the name of court workers. He was also ordered to perform 240 ...

Prison TV: Luxury or Management Tool?

By Paul Wright

In March 1994, the Florida state legislature passed a law severely restricting how the DOC could spend prisoner welfare funds. It specifically prohibited the expenditure of welfare funds for cable television, to rent movie videos, televisions, VCRs or purchase other electronic entertainment equipment for prisoners. The law ...

News in Brief

WA: On June 3, 1994, former King County (Seattle, WA) jail guard Andre Gantt, 35, was sentenced to 26 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The drugs in question were cocaine and marijuana which Gantt was smuggling into ...

FL DOC Corruption

The July 1, 1994, edition of the Tampa Tribune reported that graft and corruption permeate the Florida DOC's purchasing system. As an example, the story reported that an investigation by the state inspector general discovered the Florida DOC paid $5.42 for a single tube of Pepsodent toothpaste. The ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN. In the March, 1994, issue of PLN we started the News in Brief column which carries little tidbits we think readers might be interested in but which either don't merit an article of their own or that ...

Justice for Mark Cook - It's Way Past Time

The Vietnam war was fought not only on the soil of Southeast Asia, but in the streets of the U.S. as well. Anti war activists struggled to end a conflict they knew to be unjust and extended their fight to include justice and equality for all human beings. Some ...

Letter From Mark Cook

by Comrade Mark

I appreciate the political support folks want to give regarding my case and will compliment it whenever I can. I will mostly focus on the legal aspect and do the major portion of that work with the attorneys. As of this date I have still not received ...

South American Prison News

Brazil: According to the Brazilian Ministry of Justice there are an average of two and a half riots a day in Brazilian prisons and jails. The Brazilian prison crisis became evident on March 15-16, 1994, when the Archbishop of Fortaleza was taken hostage by prisoners, along with 14 other visitors ...

Art and Writings Against the Death Penalty / Save Mumia Abu Jamal

by Adrian Lomax

Mumia Abu-Jamal learned early what happens to African Americans who speak their minds. In 1968, at the age of 16, Mumia and some of his friends marched in Philadelphia to protest the presidential candidacy of arch-segregationist George Wallace. Police severely beat Mumia and then charged him with ...

The "Correcting Corrections" Project Distributes Prison Video Documentaries

Community activists in Madison, Wisconsin have joined together to develop the Correcting Corrections Project. Correcting Corrections combines art and journalism to create a series of educational videos, to organize community meetings, to arrange for radio and cable television broadcasts, and to stimulate media coverage which will inform the public about ...