In 1973, Roosevelt Cole, on his own behalf and on behalf of all present and future black inmates in the Panola County jail, sued the individual members of the Board of Supervisors of Panola County, Mississippi and the Sheriff for neglecting to look into the state of the prisons as required by ...
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In 1973, Roosevelt Cole, on his own behalf and on behalf of all present and future black inmates in the Panola County jail, sued the individual members of the Board of Supervisors of Panola County, Mississippi and the Sheriff for neglecting to look into the state of the prisons as required by Mississippi statute. The plaintiff complained of the unsanitary and unsafe conditions, the absence of fair procedures, physical abuse, denial of religious and political freedoms, inadequate medical attention, denial of a right to fair trial, lack of educational, recreational, and rehabilitation facilities, denial of essential communication due to poverty, inadequate diet, and racial discrimination against black inmates.
In 1973, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi (Judge Orma Smith) dismissed individual board members as defendants. Cole v. Tuttle, 366 F. Supp. 1252 (N.D. Miss. 1973). The cause of action continued against the Sheriff, and in 1975, after the trial, the District Court granted plaintiff some injunctive relief and denied an award of attorney's fees to plaintiff's counsel, who was from North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and the Mississippi Prisoner's Defense Committee. The court also required the Sheriff to submit a detailed report announcing how he would comply with the judgment.
Over the next several years, litigation continued: the District Court denied plaintiff's objections to the Sheriff's report, and the court found that there was evidence that it was necessary for the Sheriff to segregate the races in the ""bull pens"" of the jail in order to protect the prisoners. Plaintiff appealed, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as untimely.
During an appeal in 1976, the parties apparently settled the case, which was therefore remanded to the District Court for entry of an injunction reflecting the settlement and award of attorney's fees. The court entered the stipulated injunction and prohibited the Sheriff and his successors from engaging in racially discriminatory practices, including the assignment of inmates to cells, cell-blocks, or ""bullpens,"" except where the assignment is necessary for the security of the prison. Cole v. Tuttle, 540 F.2d 206 (5th Cir. 1976).
In 1978 the court approved and entered the resulting consent order submitted by the parties. Cole v. Tuttle, 462 F. Supp. 1016 (N.D. Miss. 1978). There is no docket available for this case on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the last reported decision in 1978.Lauren Cutson - 05/17/2005