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Case Name Crain v. Bordenkircher PC-WV-0002
Docket / Court 81-C-320R ( State Court )
State/Territory West Virginia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1981, a prisoner at the West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville (WVP) filed a habeas corpus petition against the Warden and Commissioner of the Department of Corrections (DOC) in the Circuit Court of Marshall County. Similar petitions by other WVP inmates were consolidated and the action ... read more >
In 1981, a prisoner at the West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville (WVP) filed a habeas corpus petition against the Warden and Commissioner of the Department of Corrections (DOC) in the Circuit Court of Marshall County. Similar petitions by other WVP inmates were consolidated and the action proceeded as a class action. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund, asked the court for habeas, declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that conditions of confinement violated state law and were unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment.

After a trial in February 1982, the parties apparently negotiated a consent decree. On June 21, 1983, the Circuit Court (Judge Recht) issued an order detailing numerous deficiencies rendering conditions of confinement in DOC facilities unconstitutional, ordered DOC to submit a plan to remedy those various deficiencies and incorporated the consent decree as part of its order. Judge Recht subsequently resigned from the bench and was replaced by Special Judge John F. Bronson. On September 1, 1984, Judge Bronson approved DOC's compliance plan and the plaintiffs appealed.

On March 27, 1986, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (Justice Thomas Miller) remanded the case. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 342 S.E.2d 422 (W. Va. 1986). The Court held that, while the compliance plan was adequate with regard to food service and facilities, DOC had to change provisions respecting medical services, access to the prison library, administrative segregation, and cell space.

The Circuit Court (Judge Bronson) subsequently appointed a nationally recognized penologist as a Special Master, leading to a dispute about whether the Supreme Court of Appeals or DOC would pay for the monitor. On May 29, 1987, the Supreme Court of Appeals (Justice Warren McGraw) decided that the DOC would pay. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 357 S.E.2d 778 (W. Va. 1987).

DOC further balked at a provision in the compliance plan that required construction of a new prison at Mount Olive. In a series of decisions, the Supreme Court of Appeals (Justice William T. Brotherton, Jr.) threatened the DOC with a receivership funded under a writ of mandamus, ordered DOC to submit architectural and financing plans for the new facility, and having received a positive status report, found the state was progressing as it should to complete construction by July 1, 1992. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 376 S.E.2d 140 (W. Va. 1988); Crain v. Bordenkircher, 382 S.E.2d 68 (W. Va. 1989); Crain v. Bordenkircher, 392 S.E.2d 227 (W. Va. 1990); Crain v. Bordenkircher, 408 S.E.2d 255 (W. Va. 1991).

On June 25, 1992, the Supreme Court of Appeals (Justice Richard Neely), acknowledging delays in construction and a need for the orderly transfer of inmates to the new facility, granted a writ modifying its closure order to allow DOC more time. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 420 S.E.2d 732 (W. Va. 1992); Crain v. Bordenkircher, 424 S.E.2d 751 (W. Va. 1992).

With respect to remaining disputes concerning various prison policies, on July 16, 1993, the Supreme Court of Appeals (per curiam) granted the defendants' motion to submit their remaining differences to the Special Master for arbitration; the Court further directed DOC to inform the Special Master as to its transition plan. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 433 S.E.2d 526 (W. Va. 1993). On May 20, 1994, the Supreme Court of Appeals (per curiam) adopted the Special Master's recommendations respecting inmate telephone and mail access. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 445 S.E.2d 730 (W. Va. 1994).

On July 14, 1994, the Supreme Court of Appeals (per curiam) again granted DOC more time to close WVP and transfer inmates to the new prison. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 447 S.E.2d 275 (W. Va. 1994).

After the Circuit Court (Judge John Madden) granted the plaintiffs' request for time cuts in the form of "credit on sentences[s]," the defendants appealed. On December 15, 1994, the Supreme Court of Appeals (Justice Margaret Workman) reversed and remanded. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 454 S.E.2d 108 (W. Va. 1994). The Court held that, since the Supreme Court of Appeals retained ultimate authority to effectuate a remedy for prison conditions that it had created, the trial court had no authority to grant "credit on sentence[s].

Having reviewed another status report on the delayed construction of the new prison, on December 21, 1994, the Supreme Court of Appeals (per curiam) held that the case would remain on the Court's docket until the old prison was closed. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 452 S.E.2d 732 (W. Va. 1994).

On March 24, 1995, the Supreme Court of Appeals (per curiam) recognized that WVP was being closed, the Mount Olive Correctional Complex was completed and that all inmates were being transferred; however, the Court held that the case would continue to remain on the Court's docket until completion and ordered all habeas petitions to be transferred to the county where the new facility was located. Crain v. Bordenkircher, 456 S.E.2d 206 (W. Va. 1995).

We have no more information on this file.

Josh Altman - 06/20/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. ยงยง 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) W. Va. Penitentiary, Mount-Olive Correctional Complex
Plaintiff Description inmates at the West Virginia Penitentiary at Moundsville (WVP)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1983 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Crain: Nonreformist Prison Reform
By: Bert Useem (Purdue)
Citation: in Courts, Corrections, and the Constitution: The Impact of Judicial Intervention on Prisons and Jails (John J. DiIulio, Jr. ed. 1990)
[ Detail ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Reported Opinion 03/27/1986 (342 S.E.2d 422)
PC-WV-0002-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/29/1987 (357 S.E.2d 778)
PC-WV-0002-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 11/30/1988 (376 S.E.2d 140)
PC-WV-0002-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 06/16/1989 (382 S.E.2d 68)
PC-WV-0002-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 04/13/1990 (392 S.E.2d 227)
PC-WV-0002-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 07/25/1991 (408 S.E.2d 355)
PC-WV-0002-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 06/25/1992 (420 S.E.2d 732)
PC-WV-0002-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 12/11/1992 (424 S.E.2d 751)
PC-WV-0002-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 07/16/1993 (433 S.E.2d 526)
PC-WV-0002-0010 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 05/20/1994 (445 S.E.2d 730)
PC-WV-0002-0011 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 07/14/1994 (447 S.E.2d 275)
PC-WV-0002-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 12/15/1994 (454 S.E.2d 108)
PC-WV-0002-0012 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 12/21/1994 (452 S.E.2d 732)
PC-WV-0002-0013 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 03/24/1995 (456 S.E.2d 206)
PC-WV-0002-0014 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Brotherton, William T. Jr. (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0002-0003
McGraw, Warren (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0002-0002
Miller, Thomas B. (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0002-0001
Neely, Richard Forlani (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0002-0004
Workman, Margaret L. (State Supreme Court)
PC-WV-0002-0012
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baxter, Barbara L. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0001 | PC-WV-0002-0003 | PC-WV-0002-0004 | PC-WV-0002-0005 | PC-WV-0002-0006 | PC-WV-0002-0007 | PC-WV-0002-0008 | PC-WV-0002-0009 | PC-WV-0002-0010 | PC-WV-0002-0011 | PC-WV-0002-0012 | PC-WV-0002-0013 | PC-WV-0002-0014
Companion, James F. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0001 | PC-WV-0002-0003 | PC-WV-0002-0004 | PC-WV-0002-0005 | PC-WV-0002-0006 | PC-WV-0002-0007 | PC-WV-0002-0008 | PC-WV-0002-0009 | PC-WV-0002-0010 | PC-WV-0002-0011 | PC-WV-0002-0012 | PC-WV-0002-0013 | PC-WV-0002-0014
Harless, Larry (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0002
Wilmoth, William D. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0001 | PC-WV-0002-0003 | PC-WV-0002-0004 | PC-WV-0002-0006 | PC-WV-0002-0007 | PC-WV-0002-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Charlie (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0001 | PC-WV-0002-0002
David, Dana (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0007
Davis, Dana (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0002
Gillooly, Thomas J. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0007
Hedges, Daniel F. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0001
Palumbo, Mario J. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0004
Stuart, Rita (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0004 | PC-WV-0002-0005 | PC-WV-0002-0008 | PC-WV-0002-0009 | PC-WV-0002-0010 | PC-WV-0002-0011 | PC-WV-0002-0012 | PC-WV-0002-0013 | PC-WV-0002-0014
Taylor, Silas (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0003 | PC-WV-0002-0006
Tompkins, Roger W. (West Virginia)
PC-WV-0002-0007
Other Lawyers None on record

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