University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Prison Legal News (PLN) v. Lewis County JC-WA-0009
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-05304-JRC ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On April 11, 2014, Prison Legal News (PLN), a non-profit publication of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Lewis County. The complaint alleged that Lewis County's mail policy, which restricted incoming and outgoing correspondence at the county jail to ... read more >
On April 11, 2014, Prison Legal News (PLN), a non-profit publication of the Human Rights Defense Center, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Lewis County. The complaint alleged that Lewis County's mail policy, which restricted incoming and outgoing correspondence at the county jail to postcards only, violates PLN's First Amendment rights. Additionally, PLN alleges that the jail's failure to provide notice to the sender when mail was censored or rejected violated the Fourteenth Amendment due process rights of senders and prisoners. It asked the Court to order the county to cease practicing the postcard-only rule and to require that the jail provide prisoners notice of and opportunity to appeal decisions to reject personal mail.

On September 10, 2014, the District Court (Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura) issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the jail from restricting mail to postcards only. The court ordered the jail to provide notices of rejection to prisoners and non-prisoner correspondents. It also ordered that all appeals be directed at an official other than the official who originally ordered the rejection of mail.

Alison Rogers - 09/24/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Lewis County
Plaintiff Description Prison Legal News, a current events journal for prisoners.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
3:14-cv-05304-JRC (W.D. Wash.) 09/10/2014
JC-WA-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/11/2014
JC-WA-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/10/2014 (W.D. Wash.)
JC-WA-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Press Release: Federal Court Orders Lewis County Jail to Stop Widespread Censorship 09/11/2014
JC-WA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Judges Creatura, John Richard Court not on record
JC-WA-0009-0002 | JC-WA-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chamberlain, Katherine (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-0001 | JC-WA-0009-0003 | JC-WA-0009-9000
Weber, Lance (Florida)
JC-WA-0009-9000
Wing, Jesse (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-0003 | JC-WA-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Rowland, Milton George (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-9000
Other Lawyers Wright, Paul (Washington)
JC-WA-0009-0001

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