Part two: case summaries by major topic.

Position:P. 33-66 - Case overview

1. access to court.

U.S. Appeals Court Al-Amin v. Smith, 637 F.3d 1192 (11th Cir. PRIVILEGED 2011). A state prison inmate brought a CORRESPONDENCE/ MAIL [section] 1983 action against state corrections officials, alleging that the officials had repeatedly opened his privileged attorney mail outside of his presence, in violation of his rights of access to the courts and free speech. The district court denied the officials' motion for summary judgment. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part, and denied rehearing en banc. The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari. On remand, the district court granted the officials' motion, precluding the inmate from offering evidence of either compensatory or punitive damages. The inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that the prisoner could not seek punitive damages relief absent a physical injury, under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. (Georgia State Prison) U.S. Appeals Court Alspaugh v. McConnell, 643 F.3d 162 (6th Cir. RECORDS EVIDENCE 2011). A state prisoner filed a civil rights action alleging excessive force and deliberate indifference against numerous state and private defendants. The district court granted summary judgment against the prisoner. The prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The appeal court held that the prisoner's request for a videotape of a fight was of the nature that it would have changed legal and factual deficiencies of his civil rights action alleging excessive force, and thus the prisoner was entitled to production of it, since the videotape would have shown how much force had been used in subduing the prisoner. But the court held that the prisoner who was alleging excessive force and deliberate indifference was not entitled to the production of his medical records before considering the state's motion for summary judgment, where the state and private defendants produced enough evidence to demonstrate that medical personnel were not deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. (Ionia Maximum Security Correctional Facility, Michigan) U.S. District Court Doe v. Heil, 781 F.Supp.2d 1134 (D.Colo. SELF INCRIMINATION 2011.) A state prisoner convicted of a sex offense filed a [section] 1983 action, alleging that Department of Corrections (DOC) regulations requiring him to provide a full sexual history and to pass a polygraph examination in order to participate in a sex offender treatment program violated his constitutional rights. The defendants moved to dismiss. The district court granted the motion. The court held that the regulations did not violate the prisoner's Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. According to the court, the DOC had a legitimate penological interest in having convicted sex offenders complete a treatment program before being released on parole. The court found that the prisoner lacked a due process liberty interest in participating in a sex offender treatment program. (Colorado Department of Corrections Sex Offender Treatment and Monitoring Program) U.S. District Court Guarneri v. West, 782 F.Supp.2d 51 (W.D.N.Y. LAW LIBRARY WRITING 2011.) A former prisoner brought a pro se MATERIAL action against numerous correctional facilities' employees for constitutional claims arising during his incarceration. The defendants moved for summary judgment The district court granted the motion. The court held that the fact that the prisoner was not permitted to go to a law library as frequently as he wanted, or was not issued a sufficient supply of writing paper, did not constitute denial of access to courts. The court noted that there was no evidence of harm in his ability to contest his underlying criminal conviction or to fully litigate other grievances and proceedings. According to the court, the prisoner failed to explain how his more than 50 documented visits to prison law libraries were insufficient to permit him to fully litigate his convictions and grievances, identify any papers he was unable to file due to the lack of paper, or specify an actual injury that resulted from the correctional facility's failure to provide him with unlimited access to the libraries. (Elmira Correctional Facility, New York) U.S. Appeals Court Haury v. Lemmon, 656 F.3d 521 (7th Cir. 2011). FRIVOLOUS SUITS IN A prisoner, proceeding pro se, brought a FORMA PAUPERIS LAW [section] 1983 action against prison LIBRARY LEGAL MAIL personnel, alleging they interfered with PLRA-Prison delivery of his legal mail and failed to Litigation Reform provide a sufficient law library. The district Act court denied the prisoner's motion to proceed in forma pauperis and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court reversed in remanded. The appeals court held that dismissal of the prisoner's prior lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction did not warrant imposing a strike for filing frivolous actions in determining whether the prisoner could proceed in forma pauperis under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) in his current [section] 1983 action. (Indiana) U.S. Appeals Court IN Hoskins v. Dart, 633 F.3d 541 (7th Cir. 2011). FORMA PAUPERIS PRO SE A state prisoner filed a civil rights action LITIGATION against a county sheriff and corrections officers. The district court dismissed the action and the prisoner appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that the prisoner, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (IFP), who had been actively litigating three other cases, was not entitled to omit his litigation history in subsequent case on the basis that another prisoner had told him that he could ignore that portion of the complaint form. According to the court, the prisoner was subject to sanctions for fraudulent litigation conduct because the omission could be considered both material and intentional, since the prisoner had signed the form, his signature certified the truth of the entire complaint, and the complaint had contained highlighted instructions ordering him to list those lawsuits. The court held that dismissal with prejudice of all of the prisoner's cases was an appropriate sanction. (Cook County Sheriff, Illinois) U.S. District Court Johnson v. Government of Dist. of Columbia, SEARCHES 780 F.Supp.2d 62 (D.D.C. 2011). Female arrestees, who were arrested for non-drug and non-violent offenses, brought an action against the District of Columbia and a former United States Marshal for the Superior Court, among others, alleging that the defendants' blanket policy of subjecting them to "drop, squat, and cough" strip searches before presentment to a judicial official violated their rights to be free from unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment, and their rights to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. The marshal moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion in part and denied in part. The court held that the Marshal was entitled to qualified immunity from the Fourth Amendment claim and that there was no evidence that the Marshal implemented a policy that directed the blanket practice of strip searching female arrestees, as would support a Fifth Amendment claim, nor that the Marshal knew of a blanket practice of strip searching female arrestees. The court noted that the law at the time of the searches did not clearly establish that strip searching female arrestees prior to presentment to a judicial official violated the Fourth Amendment. (United States Marshal for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia) U.S. Appeals Court Khatib v. County of Orange, 639 F.3d 898 (9th PLRA-Prison Cir. 2011). A former detainee sued a county Litigation Reform for allegedly violating the Religious Land Use Act and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by requiring her to remove her headscarf, in public, against her Muslim religious beliefs and practice, while she was held on two occasions in a county courthouse holding facility pending disposition of her probation violation. The district court granted the county's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and the detainee appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the holding facility was an "institution" under RLUIPA. According to the court, the county courthouse holding facility was a "pretrial detention facility," and thus was an "institution" under RLUIPA, where the facility's main purpose was to temporarily hold individuals who were awaiting court proceedings, including individuals awaiting trial. The court noted that although the facility housed inmates for relatively short periods, it held up to 600 inmates a day, and was described by the county as a secure detention facility for the confinement of persons making a court appearance. According to the court, the short-term detainee was not required to satisfy PLRA's exhaustion requirements before suing for the county's alleged violation of RLUIPA in failing to accommodate her religious beliefs. (Orange County Santa Ana Courthouse, California) U.S. Appeals Court Knox v. Bland, 632 F.3d 1290 (10th Cir. 2011). FRIVOLOUS SUITS PLRA- A state inmate who had unsuccessfully sought Prison Litigation in state court to have his name changed for Reform Act religious reasons brought a pro se action under [section] 1983 against eight state-court judges, seeking mandamus and injunctive relief, and contending that the defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process, his First Amendment rights to freedom of religion and to petition the government for redress of injustice, the Seventh, Ninth, and Thirteenth Amendments, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The district court dismissed the complaint as frivolous and malicious under a prisoner complaint screening statute. The inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed, finding that federal courts lacked the authority to issue a writ of mandamus ordering state-court judges to take action in their capacities as...

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