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Free speech, expression, and association.

U.S. District Court

OBSCENITY

PUBLICATIONS

Brouletta v. Stains. 161 F.Supp.2d 1021 (D.Ariz. 2001). A state inmate brought a ?? 1983 action alleging that prison officials wrongfully withheld copies of an adult magazine to which he subscribed. The district court held that the magazines were not obscene, the prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity from liability, and that punitive damages were not warranted. The court found the magazines, Hustler, were not obscene, even though the court noted that taken as a whole, the magazines clearly appealed to prurient interest and depicted or described sexual activity in a patently offensive way. But the magazines could not be withheld from the inmate as obscene because they appeared to "deliberately include content" that required anyone applying constitutional standard to conclude that it had some serious, literary, artistic, political or scientific value. The court denied qualified immunity to the prison officials because it concluded that no state prison official who objectively applied the obsce nity standard could have believed that the adult magazines did not comply with the standard. But the court held that an official's refusal to deliver copies of the magazines to the inmate was not in reckless or callous disregard of the inmate's First Amendment rights, but rather that the official suffered from a lack of training and understanding of the fact that pornography and obscenity were not the same thing. The court declined to subject the official to punitive damages. (Arizona Department of Corrections)

U.S. District Court

MEDIA ACCESS

Entertainment Network. Inc. v. Lappin, 134 F.Supp.2d 1002 (S.D.Ind. 2001). An Internet content provider sued a penitentiary warden and other government officials seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiff wanted to broadcast the execution of the defendant who had been convicted of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, live over the Internet. The district court entered judgment for the defendants. The court found that the challenged prison regulation was not subject to strict scrutiny and was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests. The challenged regulation prohibited photographic, audio and visual recording devices at federal executions. The court noted that the First Amendment right of the press to gather news and information is not without limits, and that the press has no constitutional right of access to prisons or their inmates beyond that afforded to the general public. According to the court, the plaintiff was not being discriminated against because of the medium or means by which it sought to broadcast the execution, although the regulation allowed written or verbal accounts of executions. (United States Penitentiary, Terre Haute, Indiana)

U.S District Court

HUNGER STRIKE

In Re Soliman, 134 F.Supp.2d 1288 (N.D. An alien filed a petition for habeas corpus challenging his indefinite detention and force-feeding during his hunger strike. The district court denied the petition, finding that the U.S. Attorney General did not abuse her discretion when determining that the alien, who had admitted to associating with dangerous terrorists and extremists and had been convicted in Egypt of various crimes, was dangerous and a flight risk. The court found that force-feeding the alien was reasonable and did not offend the alien's First Amendment right of privacy, so long as a nasogastric tube or intravenous feeding procedures were employed. (U.S. Bureau of Prisons)

U.S. District Court

PUBLICATIONS

Spellman v. Hopper. 142 F.Supp.2d 1323 (M.D.Ala. 2000). A prison inmate brought a suit challenging a corrections department regulation which limited access to subscription publications for prisoners in administrative segregation, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court held that the subsequent amendment of the regulation, and the inmate's release from administrative segregation, did not render the case moot. The court entered declaratory judgment that the former absolute prohibition of receipt of subscription publications by inmates in segregation violated the First Amendment, and that the policy should not be implemented further. The court noted that the corrections department possessed the power to return the regulation to its original form. (Alabama Department of Corrections)
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Title Annotation:prisoner litigation
Publication:Corrections Caselaw Quarterly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:680
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