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Prison Legal News: June, 1995

Issue PDF
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. Retaliatory Infractions Illegal (p 6)
  8. WA Powell Update (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. AZ DOC Takes Weights (p 8)
  15. VA Jails Sue State Prisons (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. Grievance Policy Modified (p 13)
  23. Attention Prisoners Convicted of Drug Offenses! (p 13)
  24. News in Brief (p 15)
  25. Forfeiture and Double Jeopardy (p 16)
  26. New Habeas Book (p 16)
  27. From The Editor (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 ...

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 ...

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, ...

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 ...

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 injured ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...


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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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. ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...