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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: June, 1995

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Volume 6, Number 6

In this issue:

  1. 9th Circuit Affirms Court Access Case (p 1)
  2. No Immunity for Cold Filthy Cell (p 3)
  3. MO Hair Cut Rule Violates RFRA (p 3)
  4. Turner Applied to Rehabilitation Act Claims (p 4)
  5. Excessive Force Jury Instructions Affirmed (p 4)
  6. Pen, Photocopies and Exercise Must Be Provided (p 5)
  7. WA Powell Update (p 6)
  8. Retaliatory Infractions Illegal (p 6)
  9. Delay in Hearing States Claim (p 6)
  10. Bye Bye Mike (p 7)
  11. VA Guards Indicted in Beatings (p 7)
  12. WA Prisoners Protest HB 2010 (p 7)
  13. DOJ Issues Guidelines for Seizing and Searching Computers (p 8)
  14. VA Jails Sue State Prisons (p 8)
  15. AZ DOC Takes Weights (p 8)
  16. DOJ Sues MT DOC (p 9)
  17. Winds of Unrest Blowing Over Arizona (p 9)
  18. Grand Jury Slams FL Prison, Again (p 10)
  19. Prison TV: Aid and Comfort to the Enemy (p 11)
  20. Just Say "No?" (p 12)
  21. The New Politics of Crime (p 13)
  22. Attention Prisoners Convicted of Drug Offenses! (p 13)
  23. Grievance Policy Modified (p 13)
  24. News in Brief (p 15)
  25. New Habeas Book (p 16)
  26. From The Editor (p 16)
  27. Forfeiture and Double Jeopardy (p 16)
  28. Two Strikes and You're Out - of Prison Space (p 17)
  29. True Lies in Philly (p 17)
  30. The Last Mile (p 18)
  31. Gangs in OH (p 19)
  32. Trailer Visits Curtailed at CBCC (p 19)

9th Circuit Affirms Court Access Case

In a wide ranging ruling, a unanimous panel of the ninth circuit court of appeals affirmed most of a lower court ruling designed to ensure Arizona prisoners' right of access to the courts. In the May 1994 issue of PLN we reported Casey v. Lewis, 834 F. Supp. 1553 (DC AZ 1992) which held that the Arizona DOC's law libraries and legal assistance programs violated prisoners' right of access to the courts. Specifically, the court held that the following areas were constitutionally deficient: the contents of the law libraries; the access to the libraries; legal assistance for prisoners who were illiterate or non-English speaking; library staffing; the indigence standard in order to receive legal supplies; the photocopying policy that allowed the confidentiality of legal documents to be breached and limitations on prisoners' phone calls to their attorneys. After appointing a special master to assist in developing proper injunctive relief the court issued a permanent injunction requiring the ADOC to implement the legal access plan devised by the special master. The ADOC appealed, challenging the district court's findings of fact and conclusions of law, the scope of the injunctive relief ordered and the requirements that the ADOC pay the ...

No Immunity for Cold Filthy Cell

Melvin Wilson is an Illinois state prisoner. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming he was discharged from his prison job due to his race and when placed in segregation he was placed in a filthy, roach infested, leaking cell whose toilet was covered with feces. The defendants moved for summary judgment which the court granted in part and denied in part.

The court dismissed Wilsons claims concerning the loss of his prison job by noting that prisoners have no right to a prison job or other employment in prison. However racial discrimination in state prisons violates the fourteenth amendment and is actionable under §1983. The court held that there was no evidence to indicate that Wilson was reassigned due to his race. The job reassignment did not violate the due process clause because Illinois prisoners have no right to a prison job.

Turning to Wilsons eighth amendment claims the court dismissed the claims pertaining to the cell containing dirt, dust and roaches and that it leaked during rainstorms holding that such conditions do not violate the eighth amendment. [Editors Note: Past issues of PLN have reported that vermin infested cells do violate the eighth amendment see ...

MO Hair Cut Rule Violates RFRA

In the June, 1994 issue of PLN we reported passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb and predicted that many states "grooming rules" which ban beards long hair etc. would likely be found unlawful under it. While we have reported several RFRA cases since then, virtually all of them victories for the prisoner plaintiff, the first haircut ban has been struck down.

Mark Hamilton is a Native American prisoner held in the Missouri state prison system. He filed suit in order to practice his Native American religion, specifically he challenged the lack of sweat lodge ceremonies, being forced to cut his hair, being denied sweet grass, feathers, beads, necklaces and other items necessary for his religious practices. During the pendency of the litigation the RFRA was signed into law and the court ruled on this case on the merits under the RFRA.

The court discussed the RFRA and noted that it was specifically applicable to prison ligation. It also noted that the Missouri DOC practices challenged in this case had previously been upheld as constitutional in other pre-RFRA cases. Proceeding to the merits of the case the court held that Hamilton had stated a ...

Turner Applied to Rehabilitation Act Claims

Prisoners at the California Medical Facility (CMF) in Vacaville filed a class action suit challenging the adequacy of medical care and the overall treatment afforded to prisoners at the facility, especially those who were HIV positive or had AIDS. Before trial the parties entered into a consent decree in which the California DOC agreed to make numerous changes in how medical care and treatment were provided. A subclass of prisoners certified in the class action suit are those who are HIV+, confined to wheelchairs or mentally ill. The subclass claims were brought under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (RA) of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794.

The consent decree provided that the CDC would provide adequate staffing for the prison. The defendants claimed they had adequate staffing already. A prison staffing expert concluded that at least 36 new staffing positions needed to be added. The parties attempted to mediate the matter and the mediator concluded that at least 12 new positions were needed. The matter went to the district court which concurred with the mediators recommendation and ordered the additional staffing. The CDC appealed to the ninth circuit. The issue on appeal was whether the decree required staffing from a ...

Excessive Force Jury Instructions Affirmed

Robert Baker is a Missouri state prisoner. He filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that his eighth amendment rights were violated when prison guards swept garbage and water into his cell after which he fell and injured himself. While being taken to the prison hospital he was ...

Pen, Photocopies and Exercise Must Be Provided

Prisoners held in segregation and control units have a clearly defined right to court access, which includes proper writing materials and adequate writing materials. They also have a well defined right to outdoor exercise. John Allen and Terry Smith are Hawaii state prisoners held in a control unit. During a six week period they were only provided with 45 minutes of outdoor exercise per week. They filed suit claiming that this denial violated their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Smith also claimed he was denied his right of access to the courts because prison officials refused to provide him with access to a pen and to photocopies for his litigation. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment which the district court denied, they also claimed they were entitled to qualified immunity for their actions and the court disagreed with this contention as well. The court of appeals for the ninth circuit affirmed the lower court ruling.

Analyzing the denial of exercise claims the court held that it is long established law that prisoners must be provided with an opportunity for at least one hour a day of outdoor exercise. The court discusses numerous cases from ...

WA Powell Update

This is to update you on recent developments in the Powell case on retroactive application of SHB 1457 to mandatory life term prisoners.

As you know, earlier this year the Ninth Circuit refused to rehear the case.  So, on April 10, 1995, we filed a petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court.  On April 25, the Supreme  Court decided California Department of Corrections v. Morales,  which involved a California statute that allowed the parole board to see prisoners for reconsideration of parole less frequently than the board had to see them under the law at the time of the crime.  The Court emphasized, however, that the California law had no effect on first opportunity for parole.  Since SHB 1457 did affect the first opportunity for parole,  we believe Morales should not be dispositive and so the Supreme Court could still take Powell.  We have sent a short supplemental brief to the Supreme Court making the point that our claim is an issue left open by Morales.

The process from here is as follows.  The State has until May 10 to respond to the Petition.  We then can reply if we choose, and will do so quickly ...

Retaliatory Infractions Illegal

Prison employees are forbidden from filing false disciplinary charges against prisoners in retaliation for prisoner complaints against other employees. Milton Payne, a New York state prisoner, witnessed a prison guard set a fire in a cell and reported this to prison authorities. Shortly thereafter prison guards searched Paynes cell and claimed to have found a single edge razor blade in his cell. They infracted Payne for weapons possession. He was found guilty at the hearing.

Payne filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that the retaliatory infraction violated his right to due process. He also alleged numerous due process violations arising from the disciplinary hearing itself.  The district court dismissed, on the defendants motion for summary judgment, all the claims arising from the hearing.

The court did not dismiss, and set for trial, the retaliation claims. "Plaintiffs claim that Officer White framed him in retaliation for reporting officer Telesky must survive. Under Freeman v. Rideout, 808 F.2d 949, 951 (2nd Cir. 1986), the filing of false charges is normally not actionable under Section 1983. Franco v. Kelly, 854 F.2d 584. 589 (2nd Cir. 1988), however, held that a prisoner stated a valid claim against prison ...

Delay in Hearing States Claim

The court of appeals for the second circuit has reaffirmed that New York State law creates a due process liberty interest in its administrative segregation rules. The court held that prisoners due process rights are violated when they are not afforded a timely hearing as mandated by state law. Anselmo Soto, a New York state prisoner, was placed in ad seg after being infracted for drug use and possession. The disciplinary hearing was not held until two weeks after the misconduct allegedly occurred. New York state law requires that disciplinary hearings be held no later than seven days after the misconduct occurs. Soto was found guilty at the hearing and the finding was upheld on administrative appeal. Soto filed a habeas petition in state court contending the delay violated his due process rights. The state court agreed and ordered the infraction expunged.

Soto then filed suit in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking money damages contending that the delay in his hearing violated his federal due process rights. The district court dismissed the complaint for failing to state a claim. The court held that New York code § 251-5. 1(a), mandating the commencement of disciplinary proceedings ...

Bye Bye Mike

Mike Padden, the dimwitted Republican state representative from Spokane, has long been a nemesis of Washington state prisoners. In 1995 Padden introduced legislation to ban family visiting, televisions, "erotic" and "violent" materials, etc. [See, March, 1995, PLN ] First elected to the state house in 1980, Padden headed the powerful Law and Justice committee which he used to launch numerous attacks on prisoners and criminal defendants as well as pushing his anti-abortion agenda.

Fortunately, Padden is out of the legislature. On March 28, 1995, Padden was sworn in as a judge on the Spokane County District Court. He replaced his law partner, Raymond Tanksley, who held the judgeship until he died in January. The county commission will choose a legislative replacement for Padden.

VA Guards Indicted in Beatings

In September of 1993 Charles Coates, a prisoner in the Greensville Correctional Center at Jarratt, VA, was handcuffed and shackled when a prison guard lifted him up and slammed him to the floor face first. Coastes says he blacked out and when he awoke another guard was kneeling on his back while the first guard kicked him in the face, neck and ribs.

Douglas Brown, another Greensville prisoner who was also handcuffed and shackled at the time, says that when he saw the guards beating Coates he cursed at them. He was then also beaten while handcuffed, knocked to the floor and sustained head injuries requiring five stitches. Brown suffered neck injuries and required eleven stitches to close a laceration above one eye. Brown says the beatings were racially motivated because he and Coates are white and the officers, who are black, used racial slurs while beating them. PLN readers at the Greensville prison have reported that incidents of black guards verbally abusing white prisoners with racial slurs are common events.

Coates and Brown said they have been beaten on numerous other occasions. Brown had one of his front teeth knocked out in October of 1993 when a guard, with ...

WA Prisoners Protest HB 2010

The May, 1995, issue of PLN detailed the March 20, 1995, protest by prisoner's family members and prisoner rights supporters in front of the King County jail in Seattle. It also mentioned that women prisoners at Purdy had staged a one day strike in support of the outside demonstration. The objective of the inside and out demonstrators was to protest the Washington state legislature's hateful anti-prisoner and anti-family legislation aimed at taking the Extended Family Visiting program, charging prisoners for medical care, taking prisoner's money, etc. Other protests, ignored by the corporate media, took place on that day as well.

The Walla Walla Union Bulletin reported on March 21, 1995, that the day before some 360 prisoners in two housing units in the main, close custody section of the Washington State Penitentiary had stayed in their cells and foregone meals and had not reported to their work assignments. [Close custody prisoners have already lost their EFVs due to a new Division of Prisons policy that in many respects is harsher than the proposed legislation.] Citing the fact that only some of the WSP prisoners had honored the strike WSP warden Tana Wood was quoted saying "The majority ...

DOJ Issues Guidelines for Seizing and Searching Computers

The Department of Justice has issued its guidelines concerning the search and seizure of computers and related equipment and information. The guidelines were compiled by attorneys, technical experts and agents from nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies and address a wide range of issues related to computers, from basic definitions of computer equipment to sample search warrant applications. The stated reason for producing the guidelines is to provide systematic guidance to federal law enforcement agencies and US attorneys.

The guidelines were issued in July, 1994, and have been circulated since then within the federal law enforcement community. They were obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Privacy Information Center of Washington DC. Anyone who owns a computer and is politically active should be aware of the guidelines because they give an insight into the investigative means used to seize computers. We aren't going to discuss the guidelines in detail because they affect such a limited number of our readers, but we think it important that people know the guidelines are available.

Recognizing the sophistication of some computer users, the guidelines suggest obtaining computer experts before computers or data are seized. It states that informants, mail covers ...

VA Jails Sue State Prisons

On 30 January 1995, the sheriffs of Arlington, Alexandria and Richmond filed a lawsuit to force the state to remove its prisoners from their jails. The suit was filed in circuit court in Richmond. It says the Virginia DOC is violating a state law that says people convicted of felonies and sentenced to at least three years not be kept in jails for longer than 60 days.

Spokespersons from the DOC and the attorney general's office declined to comment on the suit. Similar suits have also been filed in other counties, including Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Hampton.

Arlington sheriff Thomas Faust said the suit was not filed to make a political statement. But then went on to say, "The legislators need to be aware now, particularly with the abolition of parole, that they have to give us the means to handle it [jail overcrowding]."

The court action was filed as the VA General Assembly considered several new "get tough on crime" bills in their 1995 session. In 1994 the VA legislature passed a law that abolishes parole. [See: PLN, Vol. 5 No. 12]  The law, which took effect January 1, 1995, increases sentences by 100% for violent first-time offenders ...

AZ DOC Takes Weights

In December, 1994, the Arizona DOC completed its project of removing all weight lifting equipment from its prison system. The weight equipment was donated by the DOC to various schools and non profit organizations with athletic programs. This is part of the long running campaign by Arizona DOC Director Sam Lewis to strip Arizona prisoners of as many privileges and rights as possible. The "reason" cited by Lewis in the weights removal was claiming that $600,000 was spent in medical care treating weight lifting injuries among prisoners. Given the fact that Arizona spent $31 million on prison health care, which was recently found constitutionally inadequate with horrific conditions detailed by a federal judge [see PLN, Vol. 5, No. 8] this seems unlikely.

Arizona prisoners have filed suit in federal court claiming that the DOC lacked the legal authority to give away their weights because the weights were all bought with funds from the prisoners' welfare fund and not state funds. They also claim that the seizure violated their right to due process of law because no hearing or prior notification was given before the weights were taken. We will report any victory for prisoners on this issue.


On December 1, 1994, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the Montana Department of Corrections about overcrowding, safety and health problems in the Montana DOC. This lawsuit comes after an earlier suit against the Montana DOC filed by the ACLU was settled by the parties. Timothy Payne of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division stated that the federal government filed suit because it felt there were severe limitations on how the ACLU settlement could be enforced and it was not comprehensive.

The ACLU settlement requires the state to take numerous steps to improve medical, dental and mental health care for prisoners, guarantees prisoners certain amounts of time outside their cells and provide adequate security and training for staff. [See March, 1995 PLN] The state was given one year to comply with the agreement which was signed November 29, 1994. The ACLU suit arose from a 1992 riot that left five prisoners dead and the maximum security building of the prison severely damaged.

The federal suit, which names the state's governor, DOC Director and warden Mike Mahoney claims that Montana prisoners are being denied their federal constitutional rights. It alleges that the Montana State Prison is overcrowded, unsafe and ...

Winds of Unrest Blowing Over Arizona

In the August 1994 issue of PLN it was reported that many oppressive policies were being instituted in the Arizona prison system ("Oppression on the Rise in Arizona"). These changes, for the most part, are nothing more than a return to the tried and failed barbaric practices of the past in which prisoners were stripped of all personal possessions, treated harshly and unfairly, and were subjected to conditions that most courts found to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Arizona has forgotten the mass riots and destruction that erupted in prisons nationwide during the 1970's and 1910's. Instead they have taken our fans, taken away all of the weights, restricted commissary to mere candy items, now charge $3.00 for any medical visit, banned personal clothing, banned tape recorders and CD players, no longer allow representation in disciplinary cases, instituted the "no parole laws" and brought about dramatic changes as reported in the February 1995 issue of PLN ("AZ Passes Repressive Prison Laws"). We will also be charged $3.00 a month for electricity! Whether the money is earned or sent in, it will automatically be deducted from each prisoner's account. If the prisoner is indigent, their "electricity ...

Grand Jury Slams FL Prison, Again

By Paul Wright

Glades Correctional Institute (GCI) is a medium security prison located near West Palm Beach in Florida GCI is no stranger to controversy. In PLN, Vol. 5, No. 9, we reported audits showing that GCI officials were paying $5.42 a tube for Pepsodent toothpaste for Muslim prisoners. The toothpaste still had price tags showing it retailed for 97 cents a tube. In a fourteen month period GCI officials claim to have spent $8,453 on toothpaste for roughly 100 Muslim prisoners at GCI.  The March 15, 1994 report by the state inspector general concluded that the high cost was due to the fact that GCI's purchasing manager was a personal friend of the president of C&C Industrial Supply, the Belle Glade company that sold the toothpaste. Even after this finding, the manager was never disciplined.

In Turner v. LaMarca, 995 F.2d l526 (11th Cir.1993) a federal court found that prisoners were routinely raped and brutalized with the full knowledge and acquiescence of prison staff during the 1970's and 1980's. More recently GCI made headlines when six Cuban prisoners convicted of murder escaped from the prison on January 2, 1995, by tunneling ...

Prison TV: Aid and Comfort to the Enemy

I've been serving time in Wisconsin prisons since 1980. A lot of changes in the way these joints are run have come down the pike in that time, almost all of them for the worse: less recreation, less visiting, less educational and counselling opportunities, more overcrowding, more lock down time in the cells, and lower wages for prison jobs.  Last October the Wisconsin DOC removed all weight lifting equipment from state prisons.  In 1992, prison officials here imposed a draconian new scheme of property rules that drastically reduced what prisoners could have.  Everything that inmates own, aside from their televisions, must now fit inside a footlocker measuring 16" x 16" x 32".

TVs are not only excepted from the 1992 property rules, they are excepted from the entire trend toward less and less. Wisconsin prison officials have steadily expanded opportunities for television viewing.  The Waupun prison now shows five uncut movies daily on its closed-circuit institution channel, and the Portage prison offers prisoners basic cable service, ESPN and all.  The Green Bay prison, where I'm now confined, provides state-owned TVs, at no charge, for prisoners who can't afford to buy their own sets.

It's no coincidence ...

Just Say "No?"

by Philip McLaughlin  

We are reprinting the following article because we think our readers will be interested in knowing about the forced drugging of prisoners. The legal background for this is that in 1989 the Washington state supreme court decided Washington v. Harper which held that before prisoners could be drugged they had to be found incompetent by a court and the drugging had to be necessary for medical reasons. The state appealed and in 1990 the U.S. Supreme Court held that it does not violate due process to forcibly drug prisoners, even those who have never been found incompetent and are not mentally ill, as long as prison doctors claim it is necessary. They did this while acknowledging the severe and permanent damage that powerful psychotropic drugs inflict. Since then, PLN has reported numerous cases which have upheld prison officials, ability to forcibly and indefinitely drug prisoners.]

Here we live in the time of the mighty War on Drugs, with D.A.R.E. programs and "Just Say No" slogans everywhere we look. Drug use has probably never been frowned upon more by the mass media and the Establishment and, consequently the public. But how many people are ...

The New Politics of Crime

Those who command state power have honed their craft over the ages. The smart ones learn the tricks of their trade by studying the "science" of politics whereby they can benefit from the accumulated knowledge of centuries. One of the tricks that rulers employ is that of creating the bogeyman. The masses need someone or something other than the state at which to vent their anger and frustration when they get restless.  Those leaders who fail to employ the technique of creating a bogeyman for the masses often find themselves at the short end of a revolution!

It's important as an aside to understand that those who command state power are not one and the same as those who wield it. The form of Democracy practiced in this country (and in all of the "free" world for that matter) is one in which elected officials wield state power but the wealthy and corporate class commands it.

America became the rich and powerful country it is through a unique set circumstances. In the beginning we existed only on the margins of a "new" continent (not "new" to the millions of humans who lived here when Columbus pulled up!).  As America ...

Attention Prisoners Convicted of Drug Offenses!

The PLN has often stated that in terms of political power prisoners don't have a voice that anyone in power has to listen to. A PLN reader in USP Lewisburg disagrees and submitted the following.

Inform everyone you know (your spouse, children, family members, friends) to telephone both of their Senators and members of the House of Representatives once per month and deliver the message: "Decriminalize drugs and stop wasting my taxes incarcerating drug offenders."

Inform everyone you know that they dial (202) 224-3121 in order to speak with both their Senators and member of the House of Representatives. If anyone does not know the names of their two Senators and House member, they need only telephone their nearest Post Office and ask for that information.

Remind everyone to telephone once per month until the repressive drug laws are changed. Talk to other prisoners and get them involved, too. The more people that are phoning in the message to their two Senators and Congressional Representative every month the sooner the laws will get changed and the sooner you may get out of prison.

In 1992 there were one million people arrested for drug offenses, at a cost of $40 ...

Grievance Policy Modified

In response to recent legislation the Justice Department has issued an interim rule that modifies regulations relating to state prisoner grievance procedures, encoded in Part 40 of 28 CFR. Under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S. C. § 1997(e), a prisoner who has filed a civil rights action in federal court may be forced to exhaust local administrative grievance procedures if those procedures have been certified by the U.S. attorney general as being in substantial compliance with minimum standards or found by a court to be so. The interim rule makes two kinds of amendments to existing regulations to reflect changes made by the 1994 federal crime bill. [PLN, Dec.1994]. First, it increases the time period for which the federal court may continue the § 1983 case from 90 to 180 days. Second, it now provides that exhaustion may be required if the attorney general certifies, or the court determines, that the administrative grievance procedure is "otherwise fair and effective" even though it does not comply with the minimum standards promulgated by the attorney general. The interim rule, upon which the Dept. Of Justice requests comments, was published at 60 Fed. Reg. 13902 (3/15 ...

News in Brief

WA: Bob Conklin, the former chief of Corrections for Chelan county was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of four counts of third degree child molestation and one count of indecent liberties. The former FBI agent, King County prosecutor and special forces soldier was convicted of performing "medical examinations" of the genitals and rectums of young boys. Conklin has no medical training and admitted to performing some 70 such "examinations" over the past 20 years.

MA: Several years ago DOC dog handlers requested, and received, permission to keep their DOC trained dogs at home. Three years later they sought that the DOC pay them for "overtime" for having fed, groomed and cared for the dogs.  Already paid $17 an hour the guards seek an average three to four hours overtime a day for the past three years. They also want to be paid for the time they spent driving the dogs to work. The DOC refused to pay them overtime and they filed suit in federal court. If they win the guards will soak tax payers for some $1.4 million dollars, plus attorney fees.

CA: Pelican Bay State prison, the notorious maximum security prison, was built ...

New Habeas Book

Book Review

Habeas Corpus Checklist is the 1995 book by Ira Robbins which gives an exhaustive overview of the law of federal habeas corpus petitions. The book is current through the Supreme Courts 1993-94 term. Useful for both attorneys and pro se litigants the book is divided into sixteen chapters that highlight the relevant case law on each aspect of habeas litigation. This includes chapters explaining the three competing models of federal habeas review, general habeas notes (i.e. no right to counsel), a history of the writ; an overview of its scope; non-retroactivity of habeas petitions; jurisdiction and venue; exhaustion of state judicial remedies, mixed petitions; state procedural defaults, evidentiary hearings, appeals; successive petitions and additional references along with sample forms and motions.

The book discusses controlling supreme court doctrine on these issues as well as the law in each circuit. This book will be especially useful for those preparing a habeas petition for the first time. For the experienced habeas litigator it provides a useful checklist, as the title implies, of things to go over before the petition is filed with the court. This is crucial considering the supreme court has limited prisoners to only one writ of ...

From The Editor

From the Editor

by Paul Wright

Welcome to the 61st issue of PLN. As Dan said in last month's editorials we want to expand PLN to 24 monthly pages in order to deal with a backlog of material. We have expanded from 10 typed to 20 typeset pages without including any fluff or filler in our content. As the number of prisoners grow along with worsening conditions and attendant struggle there is more news to report on all fronts. Since we started I have always done the blurbs of  federal case law. Back in 1990 it was not unusual for some issues of PLN not to report any case law at all simply because there was none to report from the advance sheets. Nowadays we try to ensure that about half of each issue of PLN  is composed of case law (in addition to articles about legal research, suits filed, litigation updates, etc.) and we have a backlog of cases. Likewise, we have a backlog of articles, book reviews, etc.

As soon as we reach 2,000 subscribers we will expand to 24 pages. We have been hit with almost back to back postage and printing cost increases. Earlier ...

Forfeiture and Double Jeopardy

This new book, of the same title, by attorneys Brenda Grantland, Jeffrey Steinborn and Reba Weiss is subtitled "How to turn prosecutorial overreaching into release of prisoners or return of seized property." The Attorneys are experts in the field of forfeiture law and have argued several prominent cases on this issue. This 103 page book will be invaluable to anyone litigating forfeiture cases, whether pro se or Attorneys.

The book clearly and concisely explains the double jeopardy principles that require prosecutors to either press criminal charges or forfeit property and holds that doing both in separate proceedings is unconstitutional. A history of forfeiture and the legal principles underlying it are clearly and carefully explained. While designed for litigants it is well written and easily understood by non-lawyers. Extensive case law is cited and a handy checklist is included so readers can determine if these principles apply to their case. Copies of key cases are part of the book as well.

Most question likely to arise are covered and answered by the authors. Copies are available for $40 each. Prisoners and forfeiture victims can purchase copies for only $20 post paid. The book is published and made available by Forfeiture Endangers ...

Two Strikes and You're Out - of Prison Space

In past issues of PLN we have reported on Georgia's "two-strike" law. Before the November, 1994, elections both Governor Zell "Zig Zag" Miller and Corrections Commissioner Allen Ault assured the GA legislature and voters that the state had enough prison capacity to absorb the increased prisoners that would result from passage of the two-strike law, well into the next century.

A little over three months later (and after "Zig Zag" was reelected) Ault told this year's legislature that the state's prisons will be full in just five months. He said that Georgia would have to build five  7,000 bed prisons per year at a cost of $26 million each just to keep pace with prison population growth projections. The state is just finishing a $100 million building program that added 7,000 new beds.

Source: News clipping from a PLN reader, without the name of the paper or the date. Please keep those clippings coming, but remember to include the name and date of the publication.

True Lies in Philly

Five current or former police officers from the 39th District of North Philadelphia were indicted by a federal grand jury this past February, accused of framing dozens of Philadelphians. The indictment accuses the officers of warrant less searches both inside and outside their district, during which they stole money, drugs and guns, beating handcuffed suspects, falsifying reports and records to hide evidence of their illegal searches and seizures, and maintaining a secret stash of drugs and narcotics paraphernalia which they used to "flake" (falsely accuse) individuals of drug dealing or possession. The attorney for one of the officers, Steven Brown, says his client would quickly sign a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. He says that Brown had acknowledged the wrongdoing and was willing to admit to all of the charges.

One case is illustrative of how Brown and his fellow officers operated. In 1988 Brown went to a judge to obtain a warrant to search Joe's Steak and Hoagie for suspected drugs. In order to establish probable cause he told the judge that while working undercover he observed a teenager sell drugs at a school, and then go to the steak house and hand the money over to the ...

The Last Mile

Sunday, March 13th, 1994, at 12:35 pm., exactly 35 hours and 26 minutes before my scheduled, state-sanctioned murder, the "Death Row Escort Squad" arrived at cell, saying "It's time Byrd Dog,"  "strip" said one. A number of men stood in front of my cell, nervously watching as I shed my clothing, perhaps for the last "strip-search" of my life.  After going through the usual routine of "lift-em" and "spread-em."  I got dressed, backed up to the cell door, and was handcuffed.

While this was going on, an eerie silence had settled over the entire cellblock.  There was none of the usual boisterous yelling, laughter, loud radios or TV's playing, Nothing, complete silence.  Then, as I backed out of my cell and started that long walk, the cellblock erupted into a cacophonous uproar, "Stay Strong" and  "Good Luck" the voices yelled out to me.  As I bid them farewell, I vowed, "I'll represent us ALL well, no matter what happens, Stay Strong!!" meaning that I would not grovel and whine, as some involved in the process would like to see.

Along the way, as I walked down the long main corridor, loud voices rained in solidarity and ...

Gangs in OH

Earlier this year I found myself locked down in a series of segregation units, ultimately being placed in administrative control. I was charged (and found guilty) of an all encompassing violation that reads: "Participating in or organizing, whether individually or in concert with others, any gang or disruptive group activity including but not limited to, possessing, displaying, wearing or using the materials, passwords, insignia or signs of such gang or group." The gang activity in question was the gathering of prisoners needed to litigate a class action lawsuit. The materials in question were pieces of the lawsuit which outlined the egregious conditions under which we were all being housed.

More and more, this comprehensive, all-inclusive charge [of gang activity] is being used to squash prisoner demands before these demands are given even a modicum of thought. By silencing the outspoken prisoner, prisoncrats are crippling the grievance process. Prisoners are becoming more weary of pointing out errors and discrepancies in procedure because the end result is harsh retaliation that leads to placement in segregated control units at best, and administrative control units in maximum security penitentiaries at worst.

The staff in the prison where I was incarcerated affirmed that I could ...

Trailer Visits Curtailed at CBCC

Editor's Note; In the March, 95 issue of PLN we wrote about the Clallam Bay, WA (CBCC) prisoner who stabbed his wife during a trailer visit We got this update from a CBCC reader.

Now that the trailers have been reinstated with revised rules, anyone with a violent offense is excluded. If you have any violent or Class A infractions in the past five years or any drug related infractions in the last two years you are excluded. There are other stipulations in the new rules that I am not aware of due to my present situation in the IMU, but I can tell you that the changes made in a program that was once very beneficial to prisoners and their famines, and had more than 110 CBCC prisoners participating now has only 27 who are still eligible.

Days before we went to press with this issue there was an uprising at CBCC on April 16, 1995.  We have no first-hand accounts of the uprising, but according to the Seattle Times the disturbance was limited to one living unit which was extensively damaged. The uprising was reportedly quelled after three hours by guards using stun grenades

S.H. Clallam ...


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