University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Berkeley County Sheriff JC-SC-0003
Docket / Court 2:10-cv-02594-MBS ( D.S.C. )
State/Territory South Carolina
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Post-PLRA enforceable consent decrees
Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National Prison Project
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On October 6, 2010, the Prison Legal News filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Berkeley County. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, ... read more >
On October 6, 2010, the Prison Legal News filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Berkeley County. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, claiming that the defendants' unlawfully censored and excluded the plaintiff's books and magazines protected by the 1st and 14th Amendments, which are sent to individual subscribers in custody at the Berkeley County Detention Center (BCDC).

On May 3, 2011, the United States filed a Complaint in intervention pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized 42 Persons Act of 2000, U.S.C. § 2000cc. The U.S. sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Sherriff's Office and the Sheriff prohibit receipt and possession of virtually all mail and other expressive materials by persons incarcerated at BCDC. The U.S. specifically alleged that prisoners at BCDC may not receive books, magazines, newspaper or other expressive materials sent through the mail, regardless of whether the materials are routed directly from publishers or sent by friends, family members or community organizations. The U.S. also alleged that the defendants prohibit a wide range of religious materials to BCDC prisoners of various faiths, only allowing prisoners to possess the Bible.

On January 10, 2012, the parties agreed to a settlement agreement requiring the defendants to pay $100,000 in full and final settlement of all plaintiff's claims for damages and $499,900 in full and final settlement for attorney fees and costs through January 13, 2012.

On January 13, 2012, the Court issued the consent injunction requiring the defendants to implement an "incoming publications policy" (governing access to publications and publishers' right to send publications to detainees), a "staples policy" (governing access to publications containing staples), and a "religious materials policy" (governing access to religious materials). In addition, the defendants must train personnel on all of the new policies and allow the plaintiff and the U.S. to assess the defendants' compliance with the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Detainees shall be permitted to receive and retain any and all publications which do not threaten BCDC safety or security.

On April 18, 2014, the Court granted the defendants' motion to terminate the consent injunction because the defendants had achieved the minimum of one year of substantial compliance with the provisions of the consent injunction.

Litigation concerning attorneys' fees is ongoing. The plaintiffs filed for attorneys' fees on July 2, 2014.

Jessica Kincaid - 07/14/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Mail
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Religious Freedom Rest. Act/Religious Land Use and Inst. Persons Act (RFRA/RLUIPA)
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Berkeley County
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News, a monthly magazine that reports on court rulings and news related to prisoners’ rights and criminal justice issues.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National Prison Project
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies After Decision: Implementation of Judicial Decrees in Correctional Settings
Written: Oct. 01, 1977
By: M. Kay Harris & Dudley P. Spiller (Temple University)
Citation: (1977)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ]

Links Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:10-cv-2594 (D.S.C.) 02/28/2012
JC-SC-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint (Jury Trial Requested) 10/06/2010
JC-SC-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint in Intervention Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc. (Civil Rights) 05/03/2011
JC-SC-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion to Quash] 12/15/2011 (D.S.C.)
JC-SC-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement 01/10/2012
JC-SC-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Consent Injunction 01/13/2012
JC-SC-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Blatt, Solomon Jr. (D.S.C.)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Marchant, Bristow (D.S.C.) [Magistrate]
JC-SC-0003-0004 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aminfar, Amin (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002
Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0005
Bowens, Barbara Murcier (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Dunn, Susan K. (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0001 | JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0003 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0003 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Nettles, William N (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005
Shapiro, David M. (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0001 | JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0003 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005
Songer, Michael J. (District of Columbia)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0005 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Weber, Lance (Vermont)
JC-SC-0003-0001 | JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-0003 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ewing, Nicole S (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0002
Howe, Gedney M (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Jackson, Robin Lilley (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-9000
McDonald, Stephanie P (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-9000
Senn, Sandra Jane (South Carolina)
JC-SC-0003-0001 | JC-SC-0003-0002 | JC-SC-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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