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Prisoner Education Guide

Prison Legal News: September, 1995

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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 and did it anyway. The result of this unusually stubborn act of overreaching is a legacy of at least six years of convictions and forfeitures that may be subject to attack.

The troubles for the Government started with United States v. Halper, 490 U.S. 435 (1989), which ruled that: "[A] civil sanction that cannot fairly be said solely to serve a remedial purpose, but rather can be explained only as also serving either retributive or deterrent purposes is punishment, as we have come to understand the term...." Meaning: where the Government brings a civil forfeiture and a criminal prosecution based upon the same conduct in separate proceedings, the Government subjects the defendant to a violation of the prohibition against double jeopardy. In these few words the Supreme Court potentially put a choke chain on a runaway government practice described by one pundit as the conduct of "children without adult ...

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 abstract issues of law" before trial.

Qualified immunity is an affirmative defense to liability for money damages which can be, and usually is, raised by government officials sued for civil rights violations or constitutional torts. The qualified immunity defense requires a district court to determine whether or not the rights allegedly violated by the defendants in a civil action were "clearly established" at the time of the alleged violation. If they are, the defendants have no immunity and the case should proceed to trial. Past cases have allowed defendants denied qualified immunity to immediately appeal such orders. That right to appeal had been expanded by the courts to encompass denials of motions challenging the sufficiency of the evidence in the underlying case. The supreme court has halted that trend in what has turned out to be the only supreme court ruling beneficial to prisoners in the 1995 term. Any litigant ...


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 reporting. It has been a losing battle. The only way we can catch up (and keep up) with the backlog of cases we need to report is by expanding the format from 20 pages to a hefty 24.

This comes at a time, however, when prices for newsprint paper are skyrocketing. The price has more than doubled since the beginning of 1994. As such, we need to raise our subscription rates to keep from incurring a negative cash flow. The suggested donation for an individual/prisoner subscription will remain at $12 per year, more if you can afford it. However, the Institutional subscription rate (for law libraries, universities, attorneys and other professionals, etc.) will increase to $50 per year. This should offset the higher printing costs for the expanded format. That's all we're looking for. We need to recover our operating expenses. If we're not doing that ...

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. The book went on to become enormously popular with jailhouse lawyers and in many court access cases it became a required part of prison law library collections. The second edition came out in 1986. As the years passed the book became somewhat dated in that the law pertaining to prisoners' rights was rapidly changing. Now, the third edition is finally available.

The latest edition, written by Manville and John Boston, is substantially improved over previous editions, with much larger sections on prisoners' substantive rights. It discusses the relevant case law pertaining to all aspects of prison life: beatings, sanitation, food, clothing, medical care, censorship, disciplinary hearings, personal safety, use of force, segregation, access to the courts, religious freedom, visiting, searches, property and much more. If you are a prisoner, even if you don't plan to file a lawsuit yourself, reading this book will be a valuable experience. If you ...

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 expect the media networks to tell you, for they can't, because of the[ir] incestuousness ... with government and big business ... I can. Even if I must do so from the valley of the shadow of death, I will. From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal."

Setting the tone for the immediacy and hard-hitting reality of Live From Death Row. The author had been a member of the Black Panther Party as a youth, and later became a supporter of the radical M.O.V.E. organization. By 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was an award-winning journalist and an outspoken critic of police brutality in Philadelphia, when he was framed and railroaded to the death penalty for the murder of Police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Despite a plethora of injustices and legal irregularities in his case, Mumia is now stalked more closely than ever by execution. Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Ridge signed Mumia ...

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 that its main use would be to federal prisoners because it did not cover many constitutional issues that would be of use to state prisoners. In the meantime Allan became a valued PLN supporter and volunteer and in our correspondence we encouraged him to consider rewriting the manual to include more caselaw to help prisoners litigate disciplinary hearings and information useful for state prisoners also. Fortunately for prisoners Allan has done so.

HTW covers all aspects of prison disciplinary proceedings, from elements of administrative procedures, building your legal foundation for a later suit when you go to the hearing, how to win the hearing itself, sample appeals and elements of appeals and lots of case law concerning other aspects of prison disciplinary hearings. Most prisoners can expect to receive an infraction and appear before a disciplinary committee at least once during their term of imprisonment. The purpose of this manual ...

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 down played is that the chain gang practice is being challenged in court.

On May 17, 1995, Morris Dees, renowned civil rights attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, filed the plaintiff's amended complaint in federal court. In the class action suit, Austin v. James, Case No. 95-T-637-N, the prisoner plaintiffs seek a court injunction barring the use of the chain gang as being barbaric, inhumane and exposing the prisoners to substantial risk of injury and death.

The 320 prisoners currently being forced to labor on the chain gang in Alabama were transferred to the Limestone Correctional Facility in Capshaw from other prisons in Alabama. Upon laboring on chain gangs for a given period of time they will be transferred back to their prison of origin. The idea for the chain gangs was first broached on, where else, a radio talk show by Fob James during ...

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 that Gilbert had stolen the items. Based on this information Gilbert was infracted and charged with the thefts. At his disciplinary hearing Marilyn Demorest, the school official who discovered the theft, Joseph Beatty, the prison guard who took the informant statements and Gilbert testified. Beatty stated that one of the snitches was caught with a stolen tape deck and implicated a staff member in the theft, neither the snitch nor the staff member were charged with any misconduct and the matter was not pursued. The second snitch claimed that Gilbert had said he stole the items. Neither snitch claimed any personal knowledge about the thefts nor did they witness the thefts. Gilbert was found guilty, sentenced to 90 days in segregation, 90 days loss of good time and privileges and ordered to pay $800.00 in restitution.

Gilbert filed a state habeas petition which the state settled. As part of ...

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 prohibit several classes of prisoners from participating in the family visiting program. The effort to end family visiting in California prisons, long part of the politics of revenge practiced by Governor Pete Wilson the prison guards' union and their puppet victims' rights groups is unlikely to halt with this court action.

"Once again a liberal judge has ignored the feelings and wishes of the victims and their families siding with rapists, child molesters and murderers," Wilson proclaimed a day after learning of Judge Smith's decision in Pro-Family Advocates et al v. James Gomez (Marin County Superior Court No. 162051). The governor. continuing to exploit the public's fear of crime and hatred of criminals in his doomed attempt to win the Republican nomination for president, predictably blamed former Governor Edmund "Pat" Brown a Democrat who appointed Smith in 1965 for the ruling. Conveniently Wilson failed to mention that the ...

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 until four other guards arrived on the scene that they were finally able to disarm the prisoners. In all, five guards were stabbed and three others suffered various other minor injuries. We have no information on what, if any, injuries were suffered by the five prisoners. The prison was put on indefinite lockdown status.

Calipatria State Prison spokesman Lt. Tom Deschler said to the press that prison officials are "not really sure" why the prisoners launched the assault. "I don't think they were trying to take over anything, but it's a scary thought," Deschler said. He said the attack "seemed planned," but that "we have no motive or anything like that."

The above comments, reported in the Sacramento Bee were made weeks after the incident, so Lt. "Spin Doctor" had plenty of time to gather information upon which to base his comments about the apparently senseless attack. As ...

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 prisoner employed in the prison's education center as a computer trouble shooter. The prison contracts with the White Pine County School Board to operate the prison's education center. The two entities then allow prisoners to perform various jobs there in exchange for a nominal salary well below minimum wage.

Morgan filed suit under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq. seeking to be paid minimum wage for his school labor. The district court dismissed his suit for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court of appeals for the ninth circuit affirmed.

The court began its analysis by noting that Hale v. Arizona, 993 F 2d 1387 (9th Cir. 1993) (en banc) [See PLN, Vol. 4, No. 10] did not categorically exclude prisoners from its coverage but it did significantly narrow the class of prisoners even potentially ...

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 of an opportunity to increase good conduct credit is a change in the punishment associated with a crime or results in the infliction of greater punishment." This answer turns on the meaning of "punishment."

The court stated that for ex post facto purposes "punishment" does not simply mean the sentence imposed by the judge but "the actual time that such a person spends in prison." Therefore, as a general rule "any legislation curtailing the possibility of reducing actual prison time makes more onerous the consequences associated with a crime." The court held that under this doctrine the statute violated the ex post facto clause as applied to prisoners whose crimes and convictions came at a time when the prior version of the law allowed them to receive accelerated credit. See: Barger v. Peters, ILL S.Ct. No. 76945, 56 CrL 1337, 1/11/ 95.

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 and guard Alex Torres had entered McCoy's cell after a prison disturbance in October, 1994, and beat and kicked him into semi-consciousness. McCoy died of brain injuries the next day in a hospital. The prosecution argued that McCoy probably would have survived had he received prompt medical attention. Torres faces trial later this year on the charge of murdering McCoy. Lambright has made state history: he is the first guard ever convicted of murdering a prisoner in Texas history. His law enforcement career has come full circle: from prison guard to prisoner.

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 barricade the detainees had set up and stormed the facility. Twenty detainees were injured in the melee.

The Esmor facility was hastily set up in a converted warehouse just over a year ago when the U.S. government decided to "crack down" on immigrants who land at Kennedy and Newark airports with no papers.

The 240 men and 60 women detainees at the 300-bed center included Romanians, Cubans, Chinese, Russians and Sikhs, most of them seeking political asylum in the U.S. None of the detainees had been convicted of a crime. They had not even been accused of a crime. Many of them had been forced to flee their homelands due to poverty or persecution. They came to this country seeking the "American Dream" of freedom and democracy. What awaited them, however, was a nightmare of concentration camp imprisonment and brutal mistreatment. One young Somali woman told of being ...

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 value for our readers. Weeks spit on a guard and was charged with attempted murder. He was found guilty and the conviction was affirmed on appeal in the state court system.

This case involves his federal habeas corpus petition. He claimed he should not have been found guilty of attempted murder because merely spitting was not a means by which he could have, but failed, to kill the guard. The court noted that there are no recorded cases of HIV transmission by saliva and that even bites which break the skin have not been shown to transmit the virus where the biter was infected.

Weeks' "guilt" of attempted murder was affirmed because expert testimony showed that the virus "could" be transmitted by spitting if it contacted a mucus membrane. The spit had hit the guard in the face and went up his nose which is lined by mucous membranes. The ...

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 guard struck Guidry, who in turn defended himself. The guard beat Guidry, put him in a choke hold and injured his jaw. Guidry requested medical attention but did not see a doctor for a week after the incident. The doctor promised to schedule an x-ray but never did. Guidry filed suit claiming that he was denied his right to medical care and that the beating constituted an excessive use of force.

The defendants moved for summary judgment which the district court denied. The court held that Guidry had not pleaded sufficient facts to support his excessive force claim. Noting that a complaint must state facts, not legal theories, the court gave Guidry an opportunity to amend his complaint to include the allegation that some injury resulted from the incident and that force was applied maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.

The court rejected the defendants' documents submitted in support of ...

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 used includes DOS, Windows, Extra and the PAS program. The latter is custom software written and designed for the DOC by state Information Services Programmers.

The program was operational at seven of thirteen Washington prisons in early 1995 and was scheduled to be operational at all 13 by May, 1995. The current version of PAS performs the following functions: registers visitors, records personal visits, takes and retrieves digital visitor photos, identifies visitors by their bar codes, prints prisoner visiting lists, prints prisoner call lists, records comments by prisoncrats, enforces visiting schedules, retrieves prisoner data and information from the OBTS (Offender Based Tracking System) and transfers PAS data and information between prisons. Future versions of PAS will perform the following additional functions: schedule trailer visits, record attorney visits, track volunteer visitors, print detail and summary reports and detect visitors who visit at multiple prisons.

Other plans for further computerization of the ...

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 cases can often be used in prison litigation and vice versa. Many times the courts simply look at the law relevant to convicted prisoners, apply it to the detainee's case and if the defendant's conduct violates that standard the court goes no further in its analysis because detainees are entitled to more legal protection than convicts are. This case is different. Faced with a detainee's excessive use of force claim Judge Edenfield analyzed existing case law, found it wanting and set forth a new standard on this type of claim, which is of significant importance and may well be emulated by other courts. This well reasoned ruling should definitely be raised by anyone litigating this issue.

Harry Telfair was arrested and placed in the Chatham County jail in Georgia. He was denied a meal on one occasion and refused to return to his dorm until he was ...

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 immunity and denied their motion for summary judgment. The defendants appealed and the ninth circuit court of appeals reversed in part, affirmed in part and remanded the case.

Shortly after arrival at the minimum security prison Schroeder began to complain about the lack of law library access. He sent complaints to Hawaii DOC officials and to all federal judges in the state. Prison staff told him they did not appreciate his sending complaints outside of the DOC or to DOC officials. The court held this indicated that a retaliatory intent was present on the part of the defendants.

Turning to the question of qualified immunity, the court noted that "The qualified immunity test requires a two part analysis: (1) Was the law governing the official's conduct clearly established? (2) Under that law, could a reasonable officer have believed the conduct was lawful? Act-Up/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d ...

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 a bandage and he was given crutches. He was scheduled for transfer to a hospital sometime within the next six months. Grievances and administrative complaints seeking medical attention were unsuccessful. Sappington filed suit in federal court claiming that the lack of medical care violated his eighth amendment rights. The court held an evidentiary hearing at which Sappington was produced and issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) ordering his transfer to a hospital for treatment. Sappington received medical treatment almost five months after the injury occurred. The defendants moved for summary judgment claiming that because Sappington was given a bandage and crutches he could not show deliberate indifference to his serious medical need. The court disagreed.

The court denied the defendants' motion for qualified immunity holding that the case law is well established that prisoners must receive adequate medical care. Because there were factual issues in dispute, the court held that ...

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 proper diet at the Joliet Correctional Center until the prison's food service contract was given to Service America Corporation (SAC), after which he never received the special diet. Taylor filed administrative grievances to receive the special medical diet and prison officials claimed they were working with SAC to ensure that he received a proper diet, however, nothing was done to ensure that he actually received the diet. Taylor filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by not providing him with a special diet. He claimed this failure violated the eighth amendment. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, which the district court denied.

In a brief ruling the court held that Taylor had adequately set forth a claim because he had informed prison officials of his need for special ...

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 other prisoners asserted his right to wear a bandanna which resulted in an altercation that Wilkens did not participate in. A half hour later Wilkens was taken to an office where guards demanded that he give a statement exonerating the guards in the dining room incident. Wilkens refused and the guards slapped him, jerked on his handcuffs and hit him in the back of the head. A prison supervisor ordered guards to "place Wilkens' 'stinking black ass' in detention." Wilkens spent the next 22 hours naked in a segregation cell with unclean bedding, poor lighting and no blankets. While in the segregation cell for the 22 hour period various prison guards came in to hit, slap and slam him, jerk his handcuffs, and one guard inserted his gloved fingers into Wilkens' rectum. Wilkens filed suit claiming that this conduct by prison guards violated his eighth amendment rights.

The district court ...

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 of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) in Dayton.

The purpose of the conference was to determine who all are presently fighting for reform and abolition of prisons and in the criminal injustice system, and to determine how all could network resources and energies for common goals.

Attending the conference were multi-diversified representatives ranging from the AFSC Criminal Justice Program to the Revolutionary Communist Party. Speakers included: Civil rights attorney Nicky Schwartz, who negotiated the surrender of the Lucasville brothers after the 11-day siege at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in April, 1993; Hal Pepinsky, board member of the Center for Advocacy of Human Rights and professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Indiana University; Alan Prendergast, journalist and Kiplinger Fellow. These three discussed the conditions leading up to the Easter '93 uprising at Lucasville (SOCF), the economics of prisons as industries, the present public hysteria toward crime, the ...

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) prisoner sought only money damages for violation of his constitutional rights.

William Irwin is a federal prisoner who filed suit claiming violation of his constitutional rights and the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by BOP officials. Irwin claims BOP officials conspired to cause him to fail in legal proceedings, denied him access to witnesses and legal materials for those proceedings and were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Irwin seeks money damages and injunctive relief from the court. The BOP moved to dismiss the case on the grounds that Irwin had not exhausted his administrative remedies.

District Judge Alaimo granted the governments motion by interpreting McCarthy to require exhaustion of administrative remedies where a prisoner seeks injunctive relief. The court holds that the institutional interest in giving the BOP an opportunity to correct its own errors outweighs a prisoners individual interest in a prompt judicial hearing of his ...

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 four months. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Russia: On July 7, 1995, two prisoners in the Altai territory of Siberia were charged with cooking and eating a fellow prisoner. The defendants, identified only as Gluzov and Maslich, are accused of strangling a 28 year old prisoner, cutting up his body, cooking parts of it over a fire made from a prison blanket and eating it. If convicted of the cannibalism charges the defendants face the death penalty.

GA: Charles Harrelson, 56, convicted hitman father of actor Woody Harrelson, and Gary Settle and Michael Rivers surrendered to guards at the US Penitentiary in Atlanta after a failed escape attempt. The prisoners tried to escape from the prison by climbing over a wall, they surrendered after guards fired a warning shot at them.

CA: On April 30, 1995, fourteen prisoners at the Los Angeles jail in Castaic escaped through ...


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