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Prison Legal News: March, 1995

Issue PDF
Volume 6, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. CA Prison Guards - A Potent Political Interest Group (p 1)
  2. Liability for Filming Search Affirmed (p 3)
  3. AG Mail Must be Treated as Legal Mail (p 3)
  4. WI Guard Indicted for Mail Obstruction (p 3)
  5. Police Report Inadmissible in Rape Case (p 4)
  6. 6th Cir. Rules on BOP Phone Suit PI (p 4)
  7. Attorney General Subject to Suit (p 6)
  8. No Liberty Interest in GA Parole Rules (p 6)
  9. New Trial for Improper Voir Dire (p 7)
  10. MI DOC Has Duty to Give Women Prisoners Legal Aid (p 7)
  11. Medical Indifference Suit Requires New Trial (p 8)
  12. MI DOC Visitor Ban Overturned (p 9)
  13. TX Parole Board Can't Use Voided Priors (p 9)
  14. BOP Good Time Ploy Exposed (p 10)
  15. Settlement Reached in MT Prison Case (p 10)
  16. FBI Investigates CDC Shootings (p 11)
  17. BOP Guard Killed (p 11)
  18. WA Special Commitment Center Failing (p 11)
  19. WA Prisoners Under Attack (p 12)
  20. WA "Corrections" Committee (p 15)
  21. Editorial (p 16)
  22. Confronting the Helms Amendment (p 16)
  23. Prison Weight Lifting is a Nonsense Issue (p 17)
  24. Ohio Offshore Industries Project (p 18)
  25. News in Brief (p 19)

CA Prison Guards - A Potent Political Interest Group

By Dan Pens

There is a well fed political interest group feasting at the California public trough, and most taxpayers are unaware of the huge growth in this creatures appetite and political clout. It has grown from a political runt to one of the biggest hogs in the barnyard in ...

Liability for Filming Search Affirmed

In the November, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Ayeni v. Mottola, 848 F Supp 362 (ED NY 1994) which denied qualified immunity to Secret Service (SS) agents who allowed a CBS television crew to film the search of a familys home. The Ayeni family was suspected of being involved ...

AG Mail Must be Treated as Legal Mail

Rakim Muhammad is a Michigan state prisoner. He challenged a Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) policy of treating mail to prisoners from the state Attorney generals office as ordinary mail, i.e. opened outside the addressees presence, rather than as legal mail where it is opened by prison officials only ...

WI Guard Indicted for Mail Obstruction

In the October, 1994, issue of PLN we reported that U.S. Postal investigators were investigating the discovery of large quantities of prisoner mail found in the garbage at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. On December 8, 1994, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Thomas Schneider ...

Police Report Inadmissible in Rape Case

William Miller is a Michigan state prisoner. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when a prison supervisor and two guards were informed he was in danger, did nothing to protect him and he was subsequently raped by ...

6th Cir. Rules on BOP Phone Suit PI

The March and November, 1994, issues of PLN both contained extensive articles about Washington v. Reno, the nationwide class action suit that challenges numerous aspects of the Inmate Telephone System (ITS) in the process of being installed at federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities across the country. Copies of the ...

Attorney General Subject to Suit

Attorney General Wendy Ritz ordered the court reporter not to prepare the transcript, despite the court order to the contrary, because she thought the petition would be dismissed on procedural grounds. The state court called the AGs conduct "outrageous" and ordered the attorney generals office to cease and desist from ...

No Liberty Interest in GA Parole Rules

In the April, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Sultenfuss v. Snow, 7 F.3d 1543 (l1th Cir 1993).  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 ...

New Trial for Improper Voir Dire

California state prisoner Floyd Scott claimed that prison officials used excessive force in physically restraining him after he attacked a guard. The case went to trial and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant prison officials. Scott appealed claiming that the trial court had committed reversible error ...

MI DOC Has Duty to Give Women Prisoners Legal Aid

Past issues of PLN have detailed the long running saga by Michigan state prisoners to ensure their right of access to the courts [See: PLN, Nov. 1994] whereby the DOC must provide them with either law library access or the assistance of counsel. The latest installment is that the MDOC ...

Medical Indifference Suit Requires New Trial

William Hathaway is a New York state prisoner.  In 1973 he underwent hip fusion surgery and had three metal pins inserted into his left hip joint. He continued to experience pain after the surgery and in 1977 sought medical assistance from Dr. Schlesinger, the prison doctor. Schlesinger found one of ...

MI DOC Visitor Ban Overturned

Randy Kelley is a Michigan state prisoner who was infracted and found guilty by a prison disciplinary board of sexual misconduct, namely, cupping his hands over his wifes breasts during a visit. As a result, both he and his wife were given a permanent visitor restriction. Keller is serving a ...

TX Parole Board Can't Use Voided Priors

John Cook is a Texas state prisoner. In 1964 he was convicted of burglary. In 1982 he was convicted of indecency with a child and received a 20 year sentence which included a ten year enhancement for the 1964 conviction. In 1987 the court of appeals for the fifth circuit ...

BOP Good Time Ploy Exposed

Over the years has repeatedly gotten inquiries from readers in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inquiring about rumors that the amount of statutory good time they were eligible to earn under the new sentencing guidelines would be increased from 56 days a year to relieve prison crowding. Our response ...

Settlement Reached in MT Prison Case

A settlement agreement has been reached between attorneys for prisoners at the Montana State Prison (MSP) and Montana state officials responsible for running the prison. The case, Langford v. Racicot, was originally filed on December 30, 1993. The National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in Washington ...

FBI Investigates CDC Shootings

In the January, 1995, issue of we ran an article about the shooting death of a San Quentin prisoner by California Department of Corrections (CDC) guards. In the past ten years CDC guards have shot and killed 36 prisoners, including three since September, 1994. That is three times more than ...

BOP Guard Killed

A report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution states that the US penitentiary in Atlanta is the most dangerous federal prison in the country with five prisoners killed in a year. During a May, 1994, tour by BOP director Kathleen Hawk, one prisoner stabbed and killed another. Prison guards have complained ...

WA Special Commitment Center Failing

In 1989 Washington State passed a controversial "civil commitment" law to allow for the indefinite incarceration of "dangerous sexual predators." Opponents of this law point out that although those who are determined to be sexual predators are confined to a "treatment center" until they can show that they are no ...

WA Prisoners Under Attack

By Paul Wright

Someone once said that no citizen's life, limb or property was safe while the legislature was in session. Substitute "Prisoner" for "citizen" and you have an idea of what things are like in Washington. Fortunately, the Washington state legislature is only in session for periods of ...

WA "Corrections" Committee

By Paul Wright

On September 6, 1988, Diane Ballisiotes was killed by Eugene Kane, a prisoner on work release in Seattle, Washington. Kane had been serving time for two assaults on women and was paroled despite DOC psychologists stating he was at high risk to re-offend. When Diane died a ...

Editorial

This is the best part about being an editor. Every other month I get to sit down and write whatever comes to mind. And I know itll be read by over a thousand people.  Hey!  Wait a second... whatta ya flipping that page for? Oh well, at least I candream ...

Confronting the Helms Amendment

In the December, 1994, issue of PLN we reported on and analyzed the federal crime bill and discussed one of its components, section 20409, which seeks to limit prisoners ability to challenge prison overcrowding via class action suits. Elizabeth Alexander, Associate Director for Litigation of the National Prison Project, has ...

Prison Weight Lifting is a Nonsense Issue

Across the country Republicans have seized on prison weigh-lifting as a no risk political "issue" to make big hoopla over. The corporate media has abetted this by running sensationalist stories of prisoners bulking up by pumping iron. So far Mississippi and Wisconsin have banned weights in prison. The California legislature ...

Ohio Offshore Industries Project

In the state governments effort to market prisoners as cheap labor it has unveiled the Ohio Offshore Industries Project. This marketing campaign offers companies a vast pool of cheap prison labor as an attractive alternative to foreign based production. Companies have been moving overseas to take advantage of cheap labor ...

News in Brief

Morocco: On November 24, 1994, the Moroccan Human Rights Organization reported that the head of Morocco's delegation to a UN anti-torture conference was Kadouri Yousfi. Yousfi now heads the Moroccan national security apparatus but in the 1970's and '80's he was warden of the infamous Derb Moulay ...