Part one: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

PositionCase overview
  1. ACCESS TO COURTS: Access to Counsel, Due Process

  2. CIVIL RIGHTS: Sex Offenders

  3. PROGRAMS-PRISONER: Due Process, Liberty Interest, Removal from Program, Sex Offender

  4. SENTENCE: Liberty Interest, Sex Offenders

    Allen v. Clements, 930 F.Supp.2d 1252 (D.Colo. 2013). Inmates in the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) who had been sentenced to indeterminate terms of imprisonment under the Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act (SOLSA) brought a class action against CDOC officials, alleging under [section] 1983 that the officials were arbitrarily denying them sex offender treatment and interfering with their access to counsel and courts. The officials moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion. The court held that: (1) the inmates failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim; (2) terminating one inmate's treatment because of polygraphs did not violate due process; (3) denial of re-enrollment requests did not implicate the inmates' liberty interests; (4) termination procedures comported with procedural due process; and (5) the inmates failed to state a substantive due process claim. The court found that terminating two inmates' treatment because one had a rash and the other reported a telephone call in which his cousin mentioned seeing his children implicated the inmates' liberty interests protected by due process because the reasons for termination were not reasonably related to the goals of their treatment. But the court noted that there was no indication that the alleged deprivation extended the inmates' sentences, and that procedures providing for a treatment waitlist and for state judicial review of CDOC termination decisions existed, and the two inmates had already been able to re-enroll in treatment multiple times. (Colorado Department of Corrections)

  5. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Lighting, Sanitation, Ventilation

  6. FACILITIES: Lights, Maintenance, Sanitation, Ventilation

  7. HYGIENE-PRISONER PERSONAL: Housekeeping, Rodents/Pests

  8. IMMUNITY: Eleventh Amendment

  9. LIABILITY: Failure to Protect, Official Capacity, Deliberate

  10. SANITATION: Housekeeping, Rodents/Pests, Sanitation

    Ames v. Randle, 933 F.Supp.2d 1028 (N.D.Ill. 2013). An inmate brought [section] 1983 Eighth Amendment claims against various employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) who allegedly were responsible for the conditions of the inmate's confinement. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. The court denied the motion, finding that the inmate adequately pled that Illinois prison officials were deliberately indifferent, as required to state a [section] 1983 Eighth Amendment claim. According to the court, the inmate alleged that he repeatedly advised the official about the prison's detrimental living conditions and that the official did not make an effort to remedy the conditions, that he informed another official about the intolerable living conditions and that this official did not make an effort to remedy the conditions, and that he discussed the intolerable living conditions with other officials, each of whom also failed to make any efforts to remedy the living conditions. The inmate claimed that he was subjected to unsanitary conditions, a lack of ventilation, and continuous lighting that interfered with his sleep. He also alleged that his housing area had dried bodily fluids on the wall of his cell and a strong odor of ammonia from his uncleaned toilet, that there was pest infestation accompanied by filth and feces, and that there was a complete lack of basic cleaning supplies or even garbage bags. He also cited filthy soiled bedding, missing or dilapidated, and sometimes dangerously damaged cell furniture and fixtures, and badly peeling toxic paint. The inmate suffered from endocarditis, an infection of the lining of the heart, which he claimed was due to the conditions of his confinement, and from which his "numerous, almost constant, fungal infections" stemmed.

    The court held that the inmate's official-capacity suit against Illinois prison officials seeking prospective relief was not barred by the Eleventh Amendment, as it fell within the Ex parte Young exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity. The court noted that the inmate named individual state officials as defendants in this action, and he alleged that those state officials failed to provide him with the minimal civilized measures of life's necessities, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and the inmate sought a permanent injunction enjoining the officials from continuing to engage in the allegedly unlawful conduct. (Stateville Correctional Center, Illinois Department of Corrections)

  11. FALSE IMPRISONMENT/ARREST: False Imprisonment

  12. RELEASE: Release Date, Sex Offenders, Delay, Timely Release

  13. SENTENCE: Sex Offenders, Sentence

    Armato v. Grounds, 944 F.Supp.2d 627 (C.D.Ill. 2013). A former inmate, a sex offender, brought an action against Illinois Department of Corrections (EDOC) employees, alleging under [section] 1983 that the employees violated his rights under Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment by allowing him to be held beyond the term of his incarceration, and asserting a claim for false imprisonment under state law. The employees moved for summary judgment. The district court allowed the motion. The court held that the employees complied with the terms of a state court judge's handwritten sentencing order and the employees were not deliberately indifferent in allegedly allowing the inmate to be held beyond his release date. (Lake County Jail, Robinson Correctional Center, Illinois Department of Corrections)


  15. FACILITIES: Court Order, Handicapped

  16. MEDICAL CARE: Hearing Impaired, Policies, Translator

  17. PROGRAMS-PRISONER: Handicapped

    Armstrong v. Brown, 939 F.Supp.2d 1012 (N.D.Cal. 2013). Prisoners brought a class action against the Governor of California, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and a number of related directors and executive officers, seeking to enforce prior orders requiring the defendants to provide sign language interpreters (SLI), and to hold the defendants in contempt for violations. The district court granted the motion to enforce the prior orders. The court held that setting a policy which failed to provide SLIs for hearing-impaired inmates during rounds by psychiatric technicians warranted enforcement of the order against the defendants, and the defendants' failure to provide SLIs for hearing-impaired inmates at classes attended by deaf inmates also warranted an enforcement order. But the court decided that civil contempt sanctions were not appropriate because officials were making substantial efforts to reach compliance with the orders by voluntarily increasing both contract and civil services positions for qualified SLIs. (Substance Abuse Treatment Facility, California Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections)

  18. CIVIL RIGHTS: Civil Commitment, Privacy, Search, Sex Offender

  19. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Civil Commitment, Toilets

  20. FACILITIES: Privacy

  21. PRIVACY: Right of Privacy, Observation by Staff

  22. SAFETY AND SECURITY: Searches, Sex Offender, Video Surveillance

  23. SUPERVISION: Video Surveillance, Electronic Surveillance

    Arnzen v. Palmer, 713 F.3d 369 (8th Cir 2013). Patients at a state Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO) brought a [section] 1983 complaint against CCUSO administrators, challenging placement of video cameras in CCUSO restrooms, and moved for a preliminary injunction to stop their use. The district court denied the motion as to cameras in "dormitory style restrooms" but granted an injunction ordering that cameras in "traditional style bathrooms" be pointed at a ceiling or covered with lens cap. The appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that CCUSO conducted a "search" by capturing images of patients while occupying single-user bathrooms, and that CCUSO did not conduct a reasonable search by capturing patients' images, thereby constituting a Fourth Amendment violation. The appeals court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing preliminary injunctive relief. The court noted that the patients had a reasonable expectation of privacy in a single-person bathroom when there was no immediate indication it was being used for purposes other than those ordinarily associated with bathroom facilities, and that involuntarily civilly committed persons retain the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches that is analogous to the right retained by pretrial detainees.

    According to the court, the facility did not conduct a reasonable search of its involuntarily committed patients by capturing images of patients while they occupied single-user bathrooms in a secure facility, thereby constituting a violation of Fourth Amendment, where the cameras did not provide administrators with immediate alerts concerning patient safety or prevent assaults or dangerous acts, and less intrusive methods were available for administrators to use to prevent illicit activities by patients. (Iowa Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders)

  24. ADMINISTRATION: Contract Services

  25. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Emotional Distress, Medical Care, Transfers

  26. FAILURE TO PROTECT: Transportation, Officer o Prisoner Assault

  27. FREE SPEECH, EXPRESSION, ASSOC.: Criticism, Retaliation

  28. LIABILITY: Compensatory Damages, Punitive Damages

  29. MEDICAL CARE: Pretrial Detainee, Transfer, Transportation

  30. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Transport, Failure to Protect, Transfer

  31. TRANSFERS: Failure to Protect, Retaliation, Transfer, Transportation

    Benton v. Rousseau, 940 F.Supp.2d 1370 (M.D.Fla. 2013). A pretrial detainee, who alleged that he was beaten by drivers while being transported to prison, brought a [section] 1983 action against drivers of a private company which was in the business of transporting prisoners throughout the State of Florida. The district court held that the inmate established a...

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