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Case Name People v. Ross PC-IL-0019
Docket / Court 03-MR-27 ( State Court )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization Uptown People's Law Center
Case Summary
A case was filed in 2003 by the State of Illinois, represented by its Attorney General's Office, in the state's Circuit Court for the First Judicial Circuit, Alexander County, to obtain an injunction allowing prison officials to force-feed a Muslim prisoner at the Tamms Correctional Center who had ... read more >
A case was filed in 2003 by the State of Illinois, represented by its Attorney General's Office, in the state's Circuit Court for the First Judicial Circuit, Alexander County, to obtain an injunction allowing prison officials to force-feed a Muslim prisoner at the Tamms Correctional Center who had gone on a hunger strike when the state's Department of Corrections refused to allow him to resume a religious diet that he had, for a time, halted.

Answering the state's allegations, the prisoner cited that he had been told by a prison chaplain that a six month waiting period must pass before he could resume the religious diet. Represented by an attorney of the Uptown People's Law Center, the prisoner's April 13, 2003, answer admitted parts of the state's allegation and raised several affirmative defenses based upon state and federal statutes and the federal constitution's First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, citing his free speech, religious, privacy and liberty interests. He also asserted counterclaims against the state. These counterclaims sought damages, attorneys' fees, and injunctive relief requiring the state to provide the prisoner a diet comporting with his religious beliefs. The prisoner relied upon the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง2000cc, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments in making these counterclaims.

On April 17, 2003, state Circuit Judge Stephen L. Spomer issued an order in letter form to both parties' counsel, advising that the case should have been settled. He granted the state's request for an injunction, finding that the prisoner had been protesting to change a prison policy and that standards applicable from People v. Millard, 335 Ill.App.3d 1066 (4th D. 2003), warranted the relief requested by the state. As for the prisoner's counterclaim, the judge noted that sovereign immunity barred him from ordering the state to take any specific action; however, acting on his own, the judge amended the counterclaim to request relief he could direct. Accordingly, Judge Spomer found that the state's six-month waiting period (before a prisoner could resume a religious-based diet he had halted) bore no relation to any legitimate or compelling state interest. The court declared the waiting period void. In view of the impending emergency circumstance of the case, both parties were requested by the court to submit proposed orders as soon as possible.

We have no further information about this case.

Mike Fagan - 04/15/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Religious programs / policies
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) inmate in Illinois prison
Plaintiff Description State of Illinois (Attorney General)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Uptown People's Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2003 - 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 ]

  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
Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaim 04/13/2003
PC-IL-0019-0001 PDF | Detail
Letter Order 04/17/2003
PC-IL-0019-0002 PDF | Detail
Judges Spomer, Stephen L. (State Trial Court)
PC-IL-0019-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Daly, Reona (Illinois)
PC-IL-0019-0001 | PC-IL-0019-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Mills, Alan S. (Illinois)
PC-IL-0019-0001 | PC-IL-0019-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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