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39. Safety and security.

U.S. District Court FIRE SAFETY

Derby Industries, Inc. v. Chestnut Ridge Foam, 202 F.Supp.2d 818 (N.D.Ind. 2002). A manufacturer of a mattress intended for use in prisons sued a competitor for false advertising. The district court denied the plaintiffs request for a preliminary injunction, finding that a video tape was neither false nor misleading, and that the plaintiff manufacturer was not being irreparably harmed. The court found that the video advertisement, which depicted a flammability test for its and a competitor's products, was not literally false, noting that the test was a general procedure which could be performed in several ways. The plaintiff identified only one customer who was confused, and their confusion was not substantial enough for the manufacturer to lose their business. (Derby Industries, Indiana)


Peate v. McCann, 294 F.3d 879 (7th Cir. 2002). A state prisoner brought a civil rights against a corrections officer, alleging Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment violations in connection with a prison fight. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the prisoner. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment as to whether the officer acted with deliberate indifference toward the safety and health of the inmate. The appeals court also held that the prisoner was not entitled to information contained in a prison investigation file. The prisoner had been attacked twice by a fellow prisoner, and blamed the officer for failing to break up the second fight. (Miami Correctional Facility, Indiana)

U.S. Appeals Court GANGS

Rogers v. Morris, 34 Fed.Appx. 481 (7th Cir. 2002). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action alleging that prison regulations violated his First Amendment rights. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that prison regulations banning pornography and material that teaches or advocates behavior consistent with a gang did not violate the prisoner's First Amendment rights. Under the regulation, prison officials had withheld various magazines devoted to hip-hop music and culture, and certain "internet materials" sent to him by mail. (Wisconsin)


Sorrels v. McKee. 287 F.3d 1213 (9th Cir. 2002). A state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action challenging a prison policy that prohibited prisoners from receiving publications as gifts. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and the appeals court affirmed The appeals court held that the prison's no-gift publications policy violated the prisoner's First Amendment rights but that prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity. According to the court, the policy of rejecting gift publications was not rationally related to a legitimate penological interest. The appeals court found no procedural due procession violation in the officials' failure to notify the prisoner that his gift subscription to a law journal was being withheld. (Airway Heights Corrections Center, Washington)


U.S. v. Durham, 287 F.3d 1297 (11th Cir. 2002). A defendant challenged the use of an electric "stun belt" on him during his trial; his motion was denied by the district court. The defendant was subsequently convicted and appealed. The appeals court vacated and remanded, finding that the district court had abused its discretion by failing to make findings sufficient to justify the use of the stun belt during the trial. According to the court, physical restraints upon a criminal defendant at trial should be used as rarely as possible because their use tends to erode the presumption of innocence that is an integral part of a fair trial. The court held that use of the belt may have had an adverse impact on the defendant's ability to follow the proceedings and to take an active interest in the presentation of his case. The appeals court held that the novelty of the technology employed in the stun belt will likely cause the need for factual findings about the operation of the device, addressing issues such as the criteria for triggering the belt and potential for accidental discharge, to assess the need for its use as compared to less restrictive methods of restraint. The appeals court noted that the district court did not, on the record, consider any less restrictive alternatives to prevent escape and to ensure courtroom safety. The defendant had attempted to escape from a jail and had managed to slip out of a set of leg irons using a key he had concealed on his person. The defendant's attorney argued that the defendant would be "more concerned about receiving such a jolt than he is about thinking about the testimony and giving me aid and assistance in the defense of this case." The court suggested that a stun belt poses "a far more substantial risk of interfering with a defendant's Sixth amendment right to confer with counsel than do leg shackles. The fear of receiving a painful and humiliating shock for any gesture that could be perceived as threatening likely chills a defendant's inclination to make any movements during the trial--including those movements necessary for effective communication with counsel." The appeals court also found that "stun belts have the potential to be highly detrimental to the dignified administration of criminal justice ... If activated, the device poses a serious threat to the dignity and decorum of the courtroom." (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida)

U.S. Appeals Court RESTRAINTS

Williams v. City of Las Vegas, 34 Fed.Appx. 297 (9th Cir. 2002). An arrestee brought a suit against a city and correctional officer alleging the use of excessive force. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants and the appeals court affirmed. The appeals court held that the officer's use of force and restraints when the arrestee refused to cooperate during the booking process was not excessive under either the Eighth Amendment standard for prisoners, nor the Fourteenth Amendment standard for pretrial detainees. The court noted that all of the officer's conduct associated with this claim had been videotaped from three different positions by surveillance cameras. According to the court, the use of waist and leg restraints on the inmate in his jail cell did not violate the Eighth Amendment, where the inmate had refused to stand still during a frisk search and displayed erratic and seemingly uncooperative behavior. (Las Vegas Department of Detention, Nevada)
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Publication:Corrections Caselaw Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2002
Previous Article:38. Rules & regulations-prisoner.
Next Article:40. Sanitation.

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