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Prison Legal News: January, 1998

Issue PDF
Volume 9, Number 1

In this issue:

  1. Smoking, Lies and Hypocrisy (p 1)
  2. Education as Crime Prevention: Providing Education to Prisoners (p 4)
  3. From the Editor (p 5)
  4. Judge-Made Law (p 5)
  5. TCI Breaks 'Inmate Telephone System' Stranglehold (p 6)
  6. Utah Governor's 'Pal' Dupes Parole Officials (p 7)
  7. Motion for Seized Property Subject to PLRA Fee (p 8)
  8. Attn: Lawyers in Prison (p 8)
  9. Dismissal of Paid Suit Counts as a "Strike" (p 8)
  10. Fifth Circuit Upholds PLRA IFP Provisions (p 8)
  11. Mailbox Rule Applies to Trust Fund Statement (p 8)
  12. Mandamus Appeal Denied as Third Strike (p 8)
  13. PLRA Doesn't Apply to Habeas (p 8)
  14. Writs of Mandamus Not Subject to PLRA Fees (p 8)
  15. AL Jail Enjoined From Holding Prisoners Overnight (p 9)
  16. Former Warden Wins Suit Against TDCJ (p 9)
  17. Washington 35% Law Struck Down, in Part (p 10)
  18. $135,000 Award in Beating Affirmed, Municipal Liability Reversed (p 10)
  19. Torture Info Wanted (p 10)
  20. News in Brief (p 11)
  21. Legal Material Confiscation May Violate First Amendment (p 12)
  22. A Matter of Fact (p 12)
  23. Alabama Jail Held in Contempt for Crowding (p 12)
  24. Dismissal for Derelict Lawyer Reversed (p 13)
  25. New York Work Release Creates Liberty Interest (p 13)

Smoking, Lies and Hypocrisy

By Paul Wright

The recent settlement proposal between the tobacco industry and the attorney general's of 41 states has been in the news a lot lately. I share a home with 158 other men, 90% of whom smoke. The walls literally weep nicotine. A woefully inadequate ventilation system blows ...

Education as Crime Prevention: Providing Education to Prisoners

I lost count of the number of people who have written me to ask if I know where they can find statistics on the impact of prison-based education programs on recidivism. After congress eliminated Pell grants for prisoners in 1994, resulting in deep cuts in prison education programs, this question ...

From the Editor

Readers have recently asked if PLN still accepts subscription donations paid for with new, unused postage stamps. Yes, we do. Through an oversight that information wasn't included when we recently revamped our subscription flyer.

As the first PLN of 1998 we present our index for 1997. The index confirms ...

Judge-Made Law

The plaintiff was urging a legal rule which you thought was wrong. I thought it was legally right, but very unjust, and I didn't want to apply it. So, I made up my mind to lick the plaintiff on the facts. And by giving him every break on procedural ...

TCI Breaks 'Inmate Telephone System' Stranglehold

By now you've seen the Tele-Con, Inc. (TCI) ads in Prison Legal News . I first heard of TCI in June, 1997, when a PLN reader sent me one of their brochures. Collect calls from prisoners billed at 10¢ a minute? Yeah, right. This sounded WAY too good to be ...

Utah Governor's 'Pal' Dupes Parole Officials

Michael Blake Jensen, an admitted con artist and pathological liar was on parole for the fourth time in early 1995. He was facing possible parole violation and felony theft, and Utah parole officer David Olive and his partner, Swen Heimburg, were prepared to send Jensen back to the joint. But ...

Motion for Seized Property Subject to PLRA Fee

The court of appeals for the fifth circuit held that a federal prisoner's motion for the return of seized property period had run. The district court did not reconsider its ruling. The court of appeals vacated and remanded. The appeals court held that because James had submitted a sworn ...

Attn: Lawyers in Prison

Calfornia Lawyer , a legal trade magazine, is planning an article on incarcerated attorneys. We are looking for anyone who was a member of the California State Bar and who is serving time in a state or federal prison.

The article will address issues that touch directly on attorney inmates, as ...

Dismissal of Paid Suit Counts as a "Strike"

The court of appeals for the seventh circuit held that the dismissal of a lawsuit in which the filing fee had been paid counts as a "strike" under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Section (g) of the In Forma Pauperis statute requires full payment of all filing fees when ...

Fifth Circuit Upholds PLRA IFP Provisions

The court of appeals for the fifth circuit held that the PLRA's filing fee provisions, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which require that prisoners pay the filing fees of any civil suits or appeals they file in federal court, are constitutional. The court held that the PLRA fee provisions ...

Mailbox Rule Applies to Trust Fund Statement

The court of appeals for the ninth circuit held that Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 108 S.Ct. 2379 (1988) applies to the filing of trust fund account statements as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2) of the PLRA's filing fee requirements. Curtis James ...

Mandamus Appeal Denied as Third Strike

The court of appeals for the tenth circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), which bans in forma pauperis civil actions for prisoners that have had three or more actions dismissed as frivolous, malicious or for failing to state a claim, prevents the IFP filing of a writ ...

PLRA Doesn't Apply to Habeas

The court of appeals for the first circuit held that the filing fee provisions of the PLRA do not apply to habeas corpus petitions. In doing so, the first circuit joined the other eleven circuits that have held likewise. At this point all circuit courts are unanimous that the PLRA ...

Writs of Mandamus Not Subject to PLRA Fees

Writs of Mandamus Not Subject to PLRA Fees: The court of appeals for the fifth circuit joined the second and seventh circuit in holding that petitions seeking writs of mandamus in the court of appeals are not subject to the PLRA's filing fee requirement as long as the underlying ...

AL Jail Enjoined From Holding Prisoners Overnight

Afederal district court in Alabama held that conditions in the Pickens county jail in Carrolton, Alabama, were so abysmal it was not fit for human or animal habitation. Prisoners in the jail filed a class action suit challenging the conditions of their confinement. The jail was designed to hold 54 ...

Former Warden Wins Suit Against TDCJ

An Anderson County, Texas, jury found that former Beto I Unit warden Terry Terrell was fired because he reported corruption and violations of the law by other employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

The jury deliberated for nearly four hours before awarding Terrell, $100,000 for mental ...

Washington 35% Law Struck Down, in Part

PLN has reported extensively on Wright v. Riveland , the class action lawsuit challenging Washington state statute RCW 72.09.480 [ PLN , Jun. Aug. Dec. 1996; May, 1997]. The law allows the DOC to seize 35% of all money sent to prisoners, regardless of the source. The district court had previously ...

$135,000 Award in Beating Affirmed, Municipal Liability Reversed

The court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit affirmed the award of $135,000 in damages to a prisoner beaten by prison guards, but it reversed an attorney fee award premised upon municipal liability. Robert Triplett, a D.C. prisoner, had his arm twisted and his neck broken ...

Torture Info Wanted

Bonnie Kerness, longtime prison rights activist; PLN supporter; and Associate Director of the American Friends Service Committee, Criminal Justice Program, is seeking information from U.S. prisoners who have been subjected to the use of restraint chairs (aka "the chair"), four-point restraints (aka "the motorcycle"), stun belts, stun grenades, gas ...

News in Brief

AL : On October 3, 1997, a fight between two unidentified prisoners at the Holman prison in Atmore escalated into a brawl involving 18 prisoners that left two seriously injured and five slightly injured. Prison spokesman Tom Gilkson said the fight began as a dispute over money paid to a lawyer ...

Legal Material Confiscation May Violate First Amendment

The court of appeals for the eighth circuit held that a factual dispute required a trial to determine if a prison package policy was arbitrarily applied in a manner that violated the first amendment. Clyde Weiler, a Missouri state prisoner, was sent a package of legal papers and transcripts by ...

A Matter of Fact

[Editor's Note: This will be the last "A Matter of Fact" column. Many of you have written to praise the column but others have complained that: 1) it's a waste of space, and 2) its hard to digest an entire page of facts and figures all at once ...

Alabama Jail Held in Contempt for Crowding

Afederal district court in Alabama held that a jail had willfully refused to comply with a consent decree limiting jail crowding and held the defendants in contempt and imposed sanctions of $100 per day for every prisoner held in the jail over its capacity of 30 prisoners. In 1992 Macon ...

Dismissal for Derelict Lawyer Reversed

The court of appeals for the fifth circuit held that a district court abused its discretion when it dismissed, with prejudice, a prisoner's lawsuit as a sanction for his appointed counsel's dereliction. Tyronne Clofer, a Louisiana state prisoner, filed suit claiming prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his ...

New York Work Release Creates Liberty Interest

Afederal district court in New York held that prisoners have a liberty interest in that state's Temporary Release Program (TRP) which requires due process before they can be removed from it. Franklin Greaves was a TRP participant, as such he lived and worked outside a prison facility five days ...