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Prison Legal News: September, 1995

Issue PDF
Volume 6, Number 9

In this issue:

  1. Civil Forfeiture and Criminal Prosecution as Double Jeopardy (p 1)
  2. Supreme Court Rejects Govt Inter-Locutory Appeals in Civil Rights Suits (p 4)
  3. Editorial (p 6)
  4. New Prisoners' Self Help Litigation Manual (p 7)
  5. Live From Death Row (p 8)
  6. How to Win Prison Disciplinary Hearings (p 8)
  7. Chain Gangs Challenged in Court (p 10)
  8. Some Evidence Must Support Guilty Finding (p 11)
  9. Injunction Saves CA Family Visits (p 12)
  10. CA Prisoners Assault Prison Office (p 13)
  11. Economic Reality Applied to FLSA Claims (p 14)
  12. IL Change in Good Time Statute Unlawful (p 14)
  13. No Immunity for Visitor Searches (p 15)
  14. NY Prisoners Awarded Damages in Beatings (p 16)
  15. Guard Gets 10 Years for Beating Prisoner to Death (p 17)
  16. INS Detainees Trash Private Prison (p 17)
  17. Spitting by HIV+ Prisoner Results in Attempted Murder Conviction (p 18)
  18. Detainee Entitled to Medical Care (p 18)
  19. WA DOC Computerizes Visitor Tracking (p 18)
  20. Court Formulates New "Use of Force" Standard (p 19)
  21. Law on Retaliation Well Established in 9th Cir. (p 20)
  22. Medical Care Ordered (p 21)
  23. Attorney Fees Awarded in MCC Suit (p 21)
  24. Diabetic Sues for Meals (p 21)
  25. Trial Required on Clothing Claim (p 22)
  26. Ohio Prison Activist Conference (p 22)
  27. BOP Prisoners Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies (p 23)
  28. News in Brief (p 23)

Civil Forfeiture and Criminal Prosecution as Double Jeopardy

They did it. That's right- your Government did it. Having been warned by their lawyers of the constitutional defects (and inherent unfairness) in their policy of impoverishing a drug defendant through civil forfeiture, then prosecuting him or her with a criminal indictment for the same conduct they went ahead ...

Supreme Court Rejects Govt Inter-Locutory Appeals in Civil Rights Suits

In a significant ruling the supreme court, in a unanimous opinion, has held that public officials who are sued cannot file inter-locutory appeals when a district court denies their motion for summary judgment based on the sufficiency of the evidence in the case. Instead, government officials can only appeal "neat ...

Editorial

Welcome to another issue of Prison Legal News. This issue marks another step in our evolution. For the past year Paul and I have struggled to edit the content of the newsletter, trying as much as possible to keep the fluff out in order to make room for more case ...

New Prisoners' Self Help Litigation Manual

Reviewed by Paul Wright

The Prisoners' Self Help Litigation Manual (PSHLM) by Dan Manville first appeared in 1983. It was designed to give prisoners an overview of the legal system, a basic overview of what their rights are and guidance on how to actually litigate a suit in federal court ...

Live From Death Row

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

(Review by David Gilbert)

"Perhaps we can shrug off and shred some of the dangerous myths laid on our minds like a second skin--such as ... the 'right[s]' to a fair trial even. They're not rights -- they're privileges of the powerful and rich .... Don't ...

How to Win Prison Disciplinary Hearings

Reviewed by Paul Wright

In the August, 1994, issue of PLN we reviewed the first edition of How to Win Prison Disciplinary Hearings by Allan Parmelee. Now we are excited to tell you about the completed State and Federal Edition. We gave the old HTW an excellent review and noted ...

Chain Gangs Challenged in Court

In the July, 1995, PLN, we reported that the state of Alabama had reintroduced chain gangs to its prison system on May 3, 1995. We did not give much attention to the issue because it has received enormous media coverage, most of it rather sensationalistic. What the mainstream media has ...

Some Evidence Must Support Guilty Finding

When prison officials violate clearly defined procedural due process standards in a prison disciplinary hearing, they are not immune from § 1983 liability. Frederick Gilbert is a New York state prisoner. After 25 tape decks and 37 AC adapters were stolen from the prison's school program two confidential informants claimed ...

Injunction Saves CA Family Visits

In a victory in the long simmering war over family visits Michael Satris, an attorney with the San Quentin based Prison Law Office, won an injunction from Marin County Superior Court Judge Peter Smith Wednesday May 24 1995, barring the California Department of Corrections from implementing administrative regulations designed to ...

CA Prisoners Assault Prison Office

On May 5, 1995, at 9:45 am, five prisoners at the Calipatria maximum security prison walked into an "A Facility" program office and stabbed a sergeant. Three other guards rushed to her aid and they too were stabbed in a brawl that rolled through the office. It was not ...

Economic Reality Applied to FLSA Claims

Prisoners' struggle to be paid the minimum wage for their labor has met yet another setback. Nevada statute § 209.461(1)(b) requires all state prisoners, not in segregation or with a medical excuse, to work or go to school forty hours a week. Walter Morgan is a Nevada state ...

IL Change in Good Time Statute Unlawful

On December 22, 1994, the Illinois state supreme court held that an Illinois statute eliminating certain categories of prisoners from those eligible to early good conduct credit at an accelerated rate violates the state and federal constitutions when applied retroactively. The primary issue identified by the court was "whether elimination ...

No Immunity for Visitor Searches

On March 3, 1989, a Kings County Assistant DA contacted the New York DOC's Inspector General (IG) and told him that he had received information that Joseph Varrone, a New York state prisoner, was involved in drug smuggling. More specifically, the DA claimed that an informant had told him ...

NY Prisoners Awarded Damages in Beatings

A June 4, 1992 incident at the Clinton Correctional Facility started when a prisoner standing in "rec line" waiting to be escorted to the keeplock recreation yard dropped a piece of candy on the floor. Several of his buddies started laughing and jostling with each other to get at the ...

Guard Gets 10 Years for Beating Prisoner to Death

On May 23, 1995, Joel Lambright was sentenced to a 2 to 10 year sentence after being convicted of manslaughter for beating and kicking to death Michael McCoy, a prisoner. [See PLN Jan., 1995] Initially charged with murder, Lambright was convicted of manslaughter after the jury heard testimony that he ...

INS Detainees Trash Private Prison

On June 18, 1995, some 300 im migrants being held at the privately-run Esmor Immigration Detention Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey, chased out the guards, trashed the facility and held off federal, state and local law enforcement agents for nearly six hours. Police finally threw a flash grenade into a ...

Spitting by HIV+ Prisoner Results in Attempted Murder Conviction

By Paul Wright

Curtis Weeks, an HIV+ Texas prisoner, spit on a guard and was convicted of attempted murder. PLN rarely reports on criminal law cases and even more rarely do we do so under a by line. We report this case not for its legal value but its news ...

Detainee Entitled to Medical Care

The mere fact that a prisoner is "seen" by a doctor does not, by itself, constitute "medical care." Terry Guidry was a pretrial detainee in the Jefferson County Detention Center in Texas when he got into a fight with another prisoner. Instead of trying to stop the fight a jail ...

WA DOC Computerizes Visitor Tracking

Since 1993 the Washington state DOC has been working on a computer based program designed to track and manage people who visit prisoners. The program is called Public Access System (PAS). The hardware used includes an IBM compatible personal computer, video camera, bar code reader and laser printer. The software ...

Court Formulates New "Use of Force" Standard

While pretrial detainees are imprisoned against their will and in many cases are similar in circumstance to convicted detainees they are legally innocent of any crime. This is an important distinction when it comes to detainees litigating jail conditions. PLN regularly reports on court decisions affecting jail detainees because such ...

Law on Retaliation Well Established in 9th Cir.

In the October, 1993, issue of PLN we reported Schroeder v. McDonald, 823 F. Supp. 750 (D HI 1993) in which a Hawaii prisoner filed suit over a retaliatory transfer from a minimum to a medium security prison. The district court held that the defendants were not entitled to qualified ...

Medical Care Ordered

If a prisoner sustains a serious injury they are entitled to competent medical attention. Richard Sappington is a Texas state prisoner. He injured his foot playing basketball and x-rays revealed multiple fractures in the foot. The prison hospital lacked resources to treat the injuries and his foot was wrapped in ...

Attorney Fees Awarded in MCC Suit

Past issues of PLN have reported on repression and conditions at the Maximum Control Center (MCC) in Westville, IN and the legal challenges to those conditions as well as political struggle around it. The lawsuit was settled which resulted in numerous changes being made in the conditions of MCC prisoners ...

Diabetic Sues for Meals

Prisoners with medical conditions are entitled to special diets if needed to avoid illness. Robert Taylor is a diabetic and an Illinois state prisoner. His medical condition requires that he receive a special diet to insure that he receives the proper amount of sugars and carbohydrates. He was receiving the ...

Trial Required on Clothing Claim

When prison guards apply force maliciously and sadistically, they are violating the eighth amendment and can be held liable for their actions. Courtney Wilkens is a Missouri state prisoner. Prison guards claimed Wilkens was wearing gang colors in the prison dining hall and attempted to reprimand him. Wilkens and two ...

Ohio Prison Activist Conference

On April 29th and 30th, 1995, prison activists from around the state attended the Ohio Prison Activist Conference. The theme was "Struggling on the Outside for Those Struggling on the Inside." This conference was organized by Oberlin Action Against Prisons (OAAP) working in conjunction with the Ohio Criminal Justice Program ...

BOP Prisoners Must Exhaust Administrative Remedies

PLN recently reported the U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCarthy v. Madigan , 503 US ___, 112 S.Ct. 1081 (1992), which held that federal prisoners did not have to exhaust administrative remedies (the grievance system) prior to filing suit in federal court. In McCarthy a Bureau of Prisons (BOP ...

News in Brief

Ohio: On July 10, 1995, Lonnie Stuckey, 35, a former prison guard at the Ohio Reformatory for Women was convicted on six counts of sexual battery for having sex with female prisoners in his care. At his trial Stuckey claimed he had a consensual sexual relationship with a prisoner for ...