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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Prison Legal News v. Babeu PC-AZ-0019
Docket / Court 11-cv-1761 ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Case Summary
On September 7, 2011, Prison Legal News (PLN), a publisher that publishes magazines and other material concerning criminal justice issues, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District of Arizona against Pinal County, the Sheriff of Pinal County in his official capacity, and twenty unknown county agents in ... read more >
On September 7, 2011, Prison Legal News (PLN), a publisher that publishes magazines and other material concerning criminal justice issues, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District of Arizona against Pinal County, the Sheriff of Pinal County in his official capacity, and twenty unknown county agents in their individual capacity under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Arizona Constitution. Plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, claimed that defendants had adopted and implemented mail policies and practices that restricted the right to free expression held by PLN and its subscribers as protected by the United States and Arizona Constitutions. Plaintiffs sought declaratory relief, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and damages.

Specifically, PLN argued that, on dozens of occasions, defendants had prohibited subscribers and correspondents from receiving mail sent by PLN. PLN argued that defendants had undertaken this suppression of speech without any reference to, or justification in, safety concerns or other correctional necessities. These actions violated PLN's freedom of speech, press, and association under the First Amendment and its right to due process of law and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article II, Sections 4 and 6 of the Arizona Constitution.

On March 11, 2012, PLN filed an amended complaint naming as defendants numerous county agents who had engaged in handling and processing inmate mail. These agents were variably named in their individual or individual and official capacities as Pinal County sergeants.

On July 6, 2012, PLN filed a motion for partial summary judgment, permanent injunction, and declaratory judgment. On August 15, 2012, defendants filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment. On March 20, 2013, District Court Judge G. Murray Snow granted in part, denied in part, and deferred in part all pending motions. Prison Legal News v. Babeu, 933 F. Supp. 2d 1188 (D. Ariz. 2013). The court denied PLN's request for a permanent injunction that it may send materials into jail and have it received by addressees because of the deference to which prison officials are entitled. The court noted that PLN could easily change their materials in a way that they might come to pose security or management concerns. The court also ruled that the defendants' following policies violated the due process clause: (1) banning newspapers or magazines, (2) allowing publications only from four specific retailers, and (3) failing to provide notice of rejection and an opportunity to appeal. It did not address defendants' publisher-only rule at this time.

On May 1, 2013, District Court Judge Snow addressed the remaining portion of PLN's motion for permanent injunction on the issue of the jail's publisher-only rule. Under this rule, the jail would only admit materials that came directly from a recognized publisher, distributor, or authorized retailers that could be independently verified. The court ruled that because the jail was no longer applying this rule on an ad hoc basis but rather had established a written policy, as well as a training and review process for mailroom staff, PLN had failed to show that its materials were likely to be denied.

On September 19, 2014, the parties filed a stipulation for entry of judgment for nominal damages. The parties further stipulated that they would attempt to resolve PLN's claims for attorney's fees and costs under 42 USC §1988, and Defendants' claims for taxable costs pursuant to Rule 68 Fed.R.Civ.P. by stipulation. On September 23, 2014, District Court Judge Snow granted the parties' stipulation and awarded PLN nominal damages in the amount of $243.

Richard Jolly - 10/28/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
TTY/Close Captioning/etc.
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) County of Pinal
Sheriff of Pinal County
Plaintiff Description A publisher that publishes magazines and material concerning criminal justice issues
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2012 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
2:11−cv−01761 (D. Ariz.) 10/01/2014
PC-AZ-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint For Damages And Declaratory And Injunctive Relief For Violations Of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 – First Amendment Freedom Of Speech And Freedom Of The Press And Due Process Of Law – And Violations Of The Arizona Constitution 03/11/2012
PC-AZ-0019-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/19/2013 (933 F.Supp.2d 1188) (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0019-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/01/2013 (2013 WL 1832080) (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0019-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [Affirming District Court's Order] 01/22/2014 (552 Fed.Appx. 747)
PC-AZ-0019-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Amended Stipulation for Entry of Judgment for Nominal Damages 09/19/2014
PC-AZ-0019-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 09/23/2014 (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0019-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/23/2014 (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0019-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Alarcon, Arthur Lawrence (Ninth Circuit)
PC-AZ-0019-0008
Humetewa, Diane Joyce (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0019-0005 | PC-AZ-0019-0006
Ikuta, Sandra Segal (Ninth Circuit)
PC-AZ-0019-0008
Snow, G. Murray (State Appellate Court, D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0019-0002 | PC-AZ-0019-0003 | PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Tallman, Richard C. (FISCR, Ninth Circuit)
PC-AZ-0019-0008
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Galvan, Ernest (California)
PC-AZ-0019-0007 | PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Mehta, Leslie Chambers (California)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Pochoda, Daniel Joseph (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Thompson, Blake (California)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Walczak, Kenneth M. (California)
PC-AZ-0019-0004 | PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Weber, Lance (Vermont)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers GilBride, Eileen Dennis (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Iafrate, Michele Marie (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Molinario, Michele (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Staton, Georgia (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0019-0007 | PC-AZ-0019-9000 | PC-AZ-0019-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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