On March 22, 2000, publishing companies and inmates in the Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the DOC. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the ACLU, asked the court for relief, claiming that the DOC violated the plaintiffs' rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the DOC arbitrarily and unjustifiably censored incoming magazines, newsletters, books, and other reading material directed to the inmate plaintiffs based upon content.
On August 10, 2004, the parties reached a settlement agreement in which the DOC agreed to stop improperly censoring reading materials and to train staff on the proper review policies. On August 18, 2004, Judge Phillip S. Figa approved settlement agreement and retained jurisdiction to enforce it. Judge Figa also awarded the plaintiffs reasonable attorney's fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
On May 13, 2005, the parties entered a stipulation for order amending the settlement agreement extending the monitoring period to November 10, 2006, and reporting through March 31, 2007. On May 17, 2005, Judge Figa accepted the amendments to the settlement agreement.
The DOC continued to make changes to its policies regarding access to reading material and submitted those changes to the court. Specifically, on August 20, 2007, the DOC implemented an administrative regulation adjustment to library services and access to those services. In addition, on February 19, 2008, the DOC implemented an administrative regulation adjustment to the policy on the number of books allowed per inmate.
On April 24, 2008, defendant responded to nonparty Jacob Ind's motion for enforcement of the settlement agreement. The defendants argued that Ind lacked standing to bring his claims in this action, failed to allege any facts on which a finding of contempt could be based, and the express terms of the settlement agreement expired on November 10, 2006.
On October 16, 2009, Judge Richard P. Matsch denied the motion to enforce the decree and granted the defendant's motion for termination of jurisdiction relating to the enforcement of the settlement agreement. The plaintiffs appealed. On June 24, 2010, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's decision. Jessica Kincaid - 07/07/2014