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Prison Legal News: January, 1996

Issue PDF
Volume 7, Number 1

In this issue:

  1. Voting Rights Case Reinstated (p 1)
  2. From the Editor (p 3)
  3. NBC Slanders Freedom Fighter (p 4)
  4. Arizona Prisoners Charged for Electricity (p 4)
  5. Federal Prisons Erupt (p 5)
  6. WADA Squeezed Out of Existence (p 7)
  7. Maryland Medical Co-Pay Policy Upheld (p 8)
  8. Direct Action in Ohio (p 8)
  9. CBCC Prisoners Struggle (p 9)
  10. Women Prisoners Lose Discrimination Suit (p 10)
  11. Texas Anti-Litigation Law (p 10)
  12. 7th Circuit Clarifies "Frivolous" and Safety Standard (p 11)
  13. News in Brief (p 12)
  14. Back on the Chain Gang (p 12)
  15. Sexual Extortion Violates Eighth Amendment (p 13)
  16. Failure to Prosecute Dismissal Reversed (p 27)

Voting Rights Case Reinstated

In the July, 1994, issue of PLN we reported Baker v. Cuomo, 842 F. Supp. 718 (SD NY 1993), where a district court in New York sua sponte dismissed a lawsuit filed by black and Hispanic prisoners under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that state statutes disenfranchising felons from voting ...

From the Editor

Welcome to another issue of PLN . Readers who have been with us for awhile may recall that Ed Mead and I have a suit pending against the Washington State Indeterminate Sentence Review Board (ISRB), AKA the parole board. Ed was the co-editor of PLN from 1990, when we started, ...

NBC Slanders Freedom Fighter

On Oct. 1, NBC's Sunday Night Movie was titled, 'In The Line Of Duty: The Hunt For Justice." It was billed as the "true story" of the decade long government hunt for a group of anti-imperialist political fugitives who, when finally captured in 1984 and 85, were called the Ohio-7. ...

Arizona Prisoners Charged for Electricity

The 1995 Arizona legislature passed a law (AZ Rev. Statutes § 31-239) that requires the AZ DOC to establish a plan wherein prisoners will be charged a monthly "utility fee." The statute directs the DOC to collect a monthly fee, "not to exceed two dollars per month," from any "prisoner ...

Federal Prisons Erupt

At least five federal prisons erupted in violence within days after a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to overrule a recommendation by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to end the 100 to 1 sentencing disparity between crack and powdered cocaine offenses. Information on the uprisings was sketchy. There were ...

WADA Squeezed Out of Existence

The Washington Appellate Defenders Association (WADA) ceased operating on July 31, 1995, because the nonprofit firm and the state could not agree to terms for a new contract. Patricia Novotny, WADA's assistant director said, "Our decision wasn't, not to re-sign [the contract], but was a decision not to go bankrupt." ...

Maryland Medical Co-Pay Policy Upheld

In the November, 1995, issue of PLN we discussed case law and litigation strategy on challenging state laws requiring prisoners to pay for medical services. As more states pass such laws we foresee more litigation on the issue. A federal district court in Maryland has upheld a pro se prisoner's ...

Direct Action in Ohio

by an Ohio Prisoner

In January of 1992, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) announced plans to build a federal prison in Columbiana County, Ohio. They planned to take over land owned and farmed by local families for generations.

Local farmers and working folks pulled together to oppose the prison. ...

CBCC Prisoners Struggle

On September 26, 1995, some 25 prisoners in A unit of the Clallam Bay Corrections center (CBCC) attacked two guards and then attempted to barricade themselves and the guards within the 33 cell pod unit. The guards succeeded in escaping after being sprayed in the face with spray cleaner. The ...

Women Prisoners Lose Discrimination Suit

Women Prisoners Lose Discrimination Suit 

In the December '94 issue of PLN we reported Klinger v. Nebraska DOC , 31 F.3d 727 (8th Cir. 1994) which had reversed an earlier ruling, at 824 F. Supp. 1374 (D NE 1993), PLN . Vol. 4, No. 12, which had held that women ...

Texas Anti-Litigation Law

In its 1995 session, the Texas legislature passed a bill that amends and modifies Subchapter B, Chapter 15 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, purportedly to combat "frivolous or malicious litigation filed by inmates." By now PLN readers should be familiar with this type of legislation. Highlights of the ...

7th Circuit Clarifies "Frivolous" and Safety Standard

The court of appeals for the seventh circuit ruled that a district court must determine a suit is not only legally insufficient but that it cannot be saved by amendment before the court can dismiss the suit as frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. In its ruling the appeals court ...

News in Brief

IN: Al Parke, the new warden at the Indiana State Prison has solved his understaffing problems by cutting the number of required staff at the prison. He now has all slots filled simply by decreasing the number of slots.

VA: On June 30, 1995, Virginia's only prison program that treated ...

Back on the Chain Gang

John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 calls himself a libertarian. But rather than criticizing the reappearance of chain gangs as an assault on human liberty, Stossel promoted them on the June 9, 1995, broadcast as "reasonable punishment" and "only fair." When one Alabama prisoner pointed out that "you're not allowed to ...

Sexual Extortion Violates Eighth Amendment

Afederal court in the District of Columbia held that a prisoner who was extorted for sex by a prison guard and labeled a snitch as a result states a claim for an eighth amendment violation and qualified immunity is not appropriate. Gregory Thomas is a District of Columbia prisoner in ...

Failure to Prosecute Dismissal Reversed

The court of appeals for the second circuit has held that a district court abused its discretion in dismissing a prisoner's civil rights suit on a basis of failure to prosecute where the prisoner plaintiff allegedly refused to attend jury selection in his case. Jose Colon, a New York state ...