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Case Name Rhodes v. Stewart PC-OH-0025
Docket / Court Docket No. Not Available ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On January 17, 1978, two inmates incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Institute (CCI) in Chillicothe, Ohio filed a lawsuit under 42 USC 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, alleging violations of their ... read more >
On January 17, 1978, two inmates incarcerated at Chillicothe Correctional Institute (CCI) in Chillicothe, Ohio filed a lawsuit under 42 USC 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, alleging violations of their First Amendment rights following denial of their request to receive "Hustler" magazine. Plaintiffs sought declaratory relief alleging that the application of prison's publications policy violated their First Amendment rights, and injunctive relief to allow them to receive the publication.

After prison officials denied the inmates' initial requests to receive "Hustler" magazine, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction adopted an administrative regulation establishing criteria for determining whether to ban printed material from Ohio's prisons and also set forth procedures for prisoners to follow to appeal such a ban. Following the adoption of this regulation, the plaintiffs again requested and were denied permission to receive "Hustler" magazine. Prison authorities apparently failed to apply the criteria and procedures set forth in the regulation.

The District Court (Judge unknown) ruled on April 2, 1981, that plaintiffs' rights had been violated but it did not grant the injunction requested by plaintiffs. The Court determined that the prison did not provide notice, an opportunity to be heard and an ultimate determination by a disinterested decision-maker. The District Court ordered the prison to implement the procedural and substantive safeguards that had established by the courts and by the state's administrative regulation. It turns out that neither of the inmate plaintiffs was still incarcerated at the time of the decision. One had died and the other had been released.

The remainder of the litigation challenged the award of attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs on grounds that because they were not incarcerated at the time of the order, they were not "prevailing parties" entitled to fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.

On June 3, 1981, the District Court awarded attorneys' fees and expenses to plaintiffs, which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in an unwritten opinion. Stewart v. Rhodes, 703 F.2d 566 (6th Cir. 1982). On May 31, 1983, however, the United States Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded the case to us for further consideration in light of Hensley v. Eckerhart, 461 U.S. 424 (1983), which established criteria for determining a prevailing party. Stewart v. Rhodes, 461 U.S. 952 (1983). On remand, the District Court, on July 25, 1986, again determined that the plaintiff was a prevailing party and entitled to attorneys' fees. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Stewart v. Rhodes, 845 F.2d 327, 1988 WL 38966 (6th Cir.(Ohio) April 27, 1988). On Oct. 17, 1988, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed, holding that as the case was not brought as a class action and since one of the two inmates had died and the other had been released from prison prior to the issuance of the District Court order, neither was a prevailing party entitled to an award of attorney fees. Rhodes v. Stewart, 488 U.S. 1 (1988) Justices Marshall and Blackmun filed dissenting opinions

Denise Lieberman - 11/18/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Plaintiff Description Ohio prisoners who were denied access to the magazine "Hustler" by prison officials
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 1981 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
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 ]

Links The Oyez Project, Rhodes v. Stewart, 488 U.S. 1 (1988).
www.oyez.org
Posted: Oct. 17, 1988
By: Oyez Project (IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum Decision 05/25/1982 (703 F.2d 566)
PC-OH-0025-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Memorandum Decision 05/31/1983 (461 U.S. 952)
PC-OH-0025-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Unpublished Opinion 04/27/1988 (845 F.2d 327)
PC-OH-0025-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Reported Opinion 10/17/1988 (488 U.S. 1)
PC-OH-0025-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Blackmun, Harry Andrew (SCOTUS, Eighth Circuit)
PC-OH-0025-0004
Brennan, William Joseph Jr. (SCOTUS)
PC-OH-0025-0004
Contie, Leroy John Jr. (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit)
PC-OH-0025-0002
Guy, Ralph B. Jr. (Sixth Circuit, E.D. Mich., FISCR)
PC-OH-0025-0002
Jones, Nathaniel Raphael (Sixth Circuit)
PC-OH-0025-0002
Marshall, Thurgood (SCOTUS, Second Circuit)
PC-OH-0025-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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