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Prison Legal News: April, 1995

Issue PDF
Volume 6, Number 4

In this issue:

  1. A Viable ACA Litigation Strategy (p 1)
  2. CDC Issues New Shooting Policy (p 3)
  3. From The Editor (p 4)
  4. Pierce County Jail Sued (p 5)
  5. IN Prisoner and Guard Executed (p 6)
  6. Death Penalty Challenged by Philadelphia Public Defenders (p 6)
  7. Purdy Medical Suit Settled (p 7)
  8. S.Ct. to Hear Quayle Retaliation Claim (p 8)
  9. Mumia Speaks (p 8)
  10. Population PI Vacated (p 9)
  11. $50,000 Awarded in Groin Kneeing (p 9)
  12. $157,000 Awarded in Retaliation Suit (p 10)
  13. Most Murders by Friends and Family (p 11)
  14. Death Penalty Sought for Kurdish Legislators (p 11)
  15. State Prisons Subject to RA & ADA (p 12)
  16. 9th Cir. Clarifies Mailbox Rule (p 12)
  17. Retaliatory Infraction Illegal (p 13)
  18. VA Parole and Good Time Laws Don't Create Liberty Interest (p 13)
  19. Forfeiture Violates Double Jeopardy (p 14)
  20. CA Legislative Horror Show (p 14)
  21. No Habeas for Jailhouse Lawyer Aid (p 16)
  22. Attorney Fees for Monitoring Consent Decree (p 16)
  23. Reviews (p 17)
  24. Federal Habeas Rarely Granted (p 17)
  25. News in Brief (p 19)

A Viable ACA Litigation Strategy

On August 6, 1982, David Bazelon, Senior Circuit Judge for the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, resigned from the Board of Commissioners of the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections (American Correctional Association). In his Memorandum of Resignation, Judge Bazelon stated:

"I will soon complete two ...

CDC Issues New Shooting Policy

In the March, 1995, issue of PLN we reported that the FBI was investigating the California Department of Corrections' (CDC) policy of shooting prisoners. That policy had lead to CDC guards shooting and killing at least 27 prisoners between 1989 and 1994, compared to eight in the other 49 states ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

By Paul Wright

Welcome to another issue of PLN. Recently the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Prison Law Project (PLP) held elections in order to elect five prisoners to its steering committee board. I was nominated for one of the slots and asked if I would run. I ...

Pierce County Jail Sued

On January 19, 1995, a class action suit was filed against Pierce County (Tacoma, Washington) concerning massive overcrowding at its jail. The jail was built in 1984 and designed to hold 470 prisoners, it was later remodeled to hold 628. On January 17, 1995, the jail held 1,026 prisoners, more ...

IN Prisoner and Guard Executed

On December 8,1994, Gregory Resnover was executed by the state of Indiana. Governor Evan Bayh denied Resnover's request for clemency. Resnover was convicted and sentenced in 1984 for the 1980 killing of an Indianapolis police sergeant and in connection with the robbery and slaying of a Brinks security guard at ...

Death Penalty Challenged by Philadelphia Public Defenders

Philadelphia's Public Defenders, Bar Association and Institutional Law Project Committee challenged the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's death penalty this October (1994), filing legal challenges in 78 murder cases including their clients.

The Defender Association of Philadelphia contends the law is "broadly drafted" and the state supreme court has "expansively interpreted" it, ...

Purdy Medical Suit Settled

In the April, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Hallet v. Payne, No. 93-5496(T)D, the class action suit by women prisoners in federal court in Tacoma against prison officials at the Washington Corrections Center for Women, also known as Purdy. The suit alleged that medical care for prisoners at Purdy ...

S.Ct. to Hear Quayle Retaliation Claim

On January 20, 1995, the US Supreme Court announced that it had granted certiori to hear a prison retaliation case and it may have an interesting effect on the 1996 presidential campaign if Dan Quayle, George Bush's former vice president, changes his mind and decides to run for the presidency. ...

Mumia Speaks

Mumia Abu Jamal is the former Black Panther unjustly convicted of killing a cop in Philadelphia. A journalist and outspoken advocate for the oppressed before and after his conviction, Mumia was sentenced to death. Since he has been on death row he has continued his incisive and insightful criticism and ...

Population PI Vacated

Prisoners at the North Carolina DOC Morrison Youth Institution (MYI) filed a class action suit claiming that overcrowding and under staffing at the prison exposed them to constitutionally unacceptable risks of physical violence. They sought a preliminary injunction (PI) which was granted. The district court ordered prison officials to reduce ...

$50,000 Awarded in Groin Kneeing

Fred Culver is a mentally disabled alcoholic. He was arrested by city police in Sparta, Georgia and taken into custody. Once in the jail he began slapping at one of the policemen. In an ensuing melee Culver was twice kneed in the groin. He was released from the jail the ...

$157,000 Awarded in Retaliation Suit

Jory Lowrance is a Muslim New York state prisoner. In a seven year period he was transferred a total of 17 times to different state prisons. He filed suit under 42 U.S. C. § 1983 claiming that the transfers were in retaliation for his having exercised his rights of free ...

Most Murders by Friends and Family

One of the propaganda lies hyping the anti-crime hysteria is the fear of seemingly random crimes committed by strangers against strangers. Anyone who watches the television news or reads newspapers would conclude that such crimes constitute the majority of murders committed. However, according to government statistics, that is not the ...

Death Penalty Sought for Kurdish Legislators

On August 3, 1994, the trial of eight Turkish Members of Parliament (MP) began in a special state security court in Ankara. Seven of the legislators are members of the now banned Democratic Party, one is an independent. They are charged with capital treason. Prosecutors claim that the eight MP's ...

State Prisons Subject to RA & ADA

State Prisons Subject to RA & ADA

Anthony Torcasio is an extremely obese Virginia state prisoner who is 5' 7" tall, weighs over 460 pounds and has a girth of 78" . He filed suit under 42 U. S. C. § 1983 claiming that his obesity is a disability that ...

9th Cir. Clarifies Mailbox Rule

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Appeals set forth numerous time limits by which motions and other documents must be filed, answered, etc. This has led to a large body of case law concerning how prisoners comply with these time limits due to the difficulties associated with litigating from ...

Retaliatory Infraction Illegal

Donald Dixon is a Missouri state prisoner. He filed suit under 42 U.S. C. § 1983 after a prison guard filed a retaliatory disciplinary charge against him after he filed a grievance. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the guard because the disciplinary hearings committee dismissed the ...

VA Parole and Good Time Laws Don't Create Liberty Interest

Orillion James is a Virginia state prisoner who filed suit seeking money damages and an injunction ordering prison officials to expunge his records of false educational information that hindered his ability to be paroled. The records in question claim that James can only read at a fifth grade level and ...

Forfeiture Violates Double Jeopardy

In the November 1994 issue of PLN (Vol. 5, No. 11) we reported on the abuse of asset forfeiture laws by law enforcement agencies more interested in monetary gain than in any legitimate measure of justice. Shortly after that article went to press (PLN articles are typically written 2-3 months ...

CA Legislative Horror Show

Due to our very long lead time (I write this on March 7th) it's difficult to report on fast moving stories like the goings on in the state house. As you read this, who knows what may have happened since this story was written. But that said, here is "the ...

No Habeas for Jailhouse Lawyer Aid

In a rather novel ruling the third circuit has ruled that federal courts lack authority to issue writs of habeas corpus to ensure that an imprisoned pro se litigant has the assistance of a jailhouse lawyer at trial. Michael Jones is a New Jersey state prisoner who filed suit claiming ...

Attorney Fees for Monitoring Consent Decree

In 1992 prisoners seeking to desegregate the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, Ohio, entered into a consent decree with prison officials. Under the terms of the decree the cells at SOCF would be randomly integrated. After the April, 1993, rebellion at SOCF [see PLN, Vol . 4. No. ...


By Paul Wright

What you're holding in your hands is referred to as the "Alternative Press." We are called that because we offer an "alternative" view to that provided by the corporate media. In our case we are advocates for the rights and well being of prisoners and seek to ...

Federal Habeas Rarely Granted

The National Center for state Courts in Williamsburg, VA has released a study conducted by Victor Flange, concluding that post conviction challenges by prisoners in state or federal court are rarely successful. The report was originally commissioned in 1989 by the Conference of Chief Justices to determine if state court ...

News in Brief

WA: Dean Wilkins, a Kitsap county jail guard, resigned on January 20, 1995, after county detectives investigated a complaint that he had had consensual sex with a female prisoner at the jail. The complaint was made by another prisoner who witnessed the incident.

FL: In the March, 1995, NIB section ...