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Case Name Hook v. Arizona PC-AZ-0006
Docket / Court 73-97 ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On February 14, 1973, eleven inmates in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ADOC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Phoenix Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for ... read more >
On February 14, 1973, eleven inmates in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ADOC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Phoenix Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights in conjunction with ADOC's mail policies. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that they had constitutional rights to subscribe to Playboy, to send outgoing letters to public judicial officers, to send letters to persons not on approved mailing lists, and to receive letters from more than ten persons.

Before the class was certified, on October 19, 1973, the District Court (Judge Carl A. Muecke) approved a consent decree respecting proposed mail regulations for the Arizona Department of Corrections, and dismissed the action with prejudice. The consent decree allowed mail to be inspected for contraband only and prohibited the reading and censure of all incoming mail and 90% of outgoing mail, specifically allowing inmates to receive Christmas food packages; the consent decree established standards for censorship and procedures for dealing with contraband.

On May 10, 1974, the District Court (Judge Muecke), notwithstanding his previous dismissal with prejudice, approved an amendment to the consent decree citing intervening occurrences and experience. The amendment respected problems peculiar to money orders and mail pick-up in restrictive security zones.

The case remained closed from 1974 until 1991. However, between 1982 and 1987 ADOC made several changes in the mail regulations and, in 1990, passed new regulations governing Christmas packages. In 1990, 265 inmates, none of whom were a party to the original suit, brought an action against the ADOC to enforce the 1973 consent decree, alleging that new prison regulations conflicted with the decree.

On December 6, 1990, the District Court (Judge Muecke) granted an injunction prohibiting the implementation of the new regulations. The defendants appealed.

On July 23, 1992, as amended on September 1, 1992, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Charles E. Wiggins) affirmed the District Court's December 6, 1990, ruling. Hook v. State of Arizona, Dept. of Corrections, 972 F.2d 1012 (9th Cir. 1992). The Court held that, since the inmates had standing to enforce the earlier consent decree and even if the consent decree was overly broad, the ADOC had to honor the decree and could only seek relief by motion to modify or vacate the decree.

ADOC subsequently attempted to modify the consent decree and implement new policies. In October 1992, ADOC filed a motion to modify the consent decree by removing the provision allowing the inmates to receive Christmas food packages, and shortly thereafter issued memorandums changing the prison policy. On January 13, 1993, the District Court (Judge Muecke) enjoined ADOC from implementing the new policy. On January 31, 1994, the Governor banned certain magazines and the Director of ADOC issued a memorandum implementing the ban. At a hearing in February 1994, ADOC reported that the Director had withdrawn the order.

On June 3, 1994, the District Court (Judge Muecke) found the Director of ADOC in civil contempt for issuing the January 31, 1993, memorandum. And on June 8, 1994, the Court appointed a special master to investigate ongoing allegations of noncompliance and to monitor the implementation of the Christmas package provision. On August 4, 1994, the Court granted in part the plaintiffs' motion for class certification.

In October 1994, the District Court (Judge Muecke) adopted most of the special master's recommendations with respect to Christmas packages and issued an order that purported to clarify the provision. When subsequent settlement negotiations failed, the Court denied ADOC's motion to modify the decree and granted the plaintiffs' motion. The defendants appealed.

On October 25, 1996, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge David R. Thompson) reversed the District Court's October 1994 ruling, which granted the plaintiffs' motion to allow hot pots in cells and denied the defendants' motion to modify the consent decree, and remanded. Hook v. Arizona, 98 F.3d 1177 (9th Cir. 1996). The Court held that ADOC did show a change in circumstances evidenced by a great increase in prison population, and that there was no evidence that the parties intended to include hot pots as a right in the consent decree.

Upon a rehearing of the case and a withdrawal of the October 25, 1996, opinion, on July 17, 1997, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Thompson) affirmed in part and reversed in part the District Court's October 1994 ruling. Hook v. Arizona, 120 F.3d 921 (9th Cir. 1997). While the Court held again held that ADOC did show a change in circumstances and that a modification that allowed inmates to use hot pots was erroneous, it reversed in part, holding that the appointment of a special master to monitor compliance with the consent decree was not an abuse of discretion by the District Court. On October 6, 1997, the Supreme Court denied certiorari. Arizona v. Hook, 522 U.S. 865 (1997).

On November 6, 1997, in line with the Ninth Circuit's decision, the District Court (Judge Stephen M. McNamee) granted the defendants' motion to modify the consent decree to eliminate the inmates' ability to receive holiday food packages and ordered that inmates could no longer possess and use hot pots.

Earlier, with respect to ADOC's failure to pay special masters' fees, Hook v. Arizona was consolidated with three other cases, namely Gluth v. Kangas, PC-AZ-011, Casey v. Lewis, PC-AZ-004, and Arnold v. Lewis, MH-AZ-001.

On October 17, 1995, the District Court (Judge David Alan Ezra), ruling on the consolidated cases, granted the plaintiffs' motions to hold the Director of ADOC in contempt, found unconstitutional an Arizona law excepting the State from paying Special Masters, and denied the defendants' motions to modify. Hook v. Arizona, 907 F. Supp. 1326 (D. Ariz. 1995). The defendants appealed.

On February 27, 1997, as amended on April 22, 1997, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Thompson) affirmed the District Court's October 17, 1995, ruling. Hook v. Arizona, 107 F.3d 1397 (9th Cir. 1997). The Court found that the supremacy clause precluded application of the state statute, the Eleventh Amendment did not prohibit the court from ordering state to pay the special masters, the state statute did not make it impossible for the Director of ADOC to comply with the decree and the District Court's imposition of a fine was not an abuse of discretion.

From 1998 to 2000, litigation continued in which the District Court (Judge McNamee) entertained numerous plaintiff motions to enforce the consent decree and numerous defendant motions to modify or vacate the consent decree.

On September 20, 2000, the District Court (Judge McNamee) granted the defendants' motion to amend the consent decree and incorporated the defendants' proposed policy revisions.

On September 12, 2003, the District Court (Judge McNamee) granted the defendants' motions to vacate the consent decree and dismiss the case. Judge McNamee denied subsequent motions for vacation of the September 12, 2003 judgment. The plaintiffs appealed.

On December 15, 2005, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted one plaintiff's motion for voluntary dismissal of the appeal. The appeal was dismissed.

We have no more information on this file.

Josh Altman - 06/12/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Mail
Search policies
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Arizona Department of Corrections
Arizona State Prison
Plaintiff Description Inmates in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1973 - 2003
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing MH-AZ-0001 : Arnold v. Lewis (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0010 : Krug v. Lutz (D. Ariz.)
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 ]

  Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment
By: Mona Lynch (UC Irvine)
Citation: (2010)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
73-97 (D. Ariz.) 02/22/2007
PC-AZ-0006-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Stipulation for Entry of Consent Decree 10/16/1973 (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0006-0001 PDF | Detail
Judgment 10/19/1973 (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0006-0002 PDF | Detail
Stipulation for Amendments to Consent Decree and Proposed order 05/10/1974 (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0006-0003 PDF | Detail
Opinion 09/01/1992 (972 F.2d 1012)
PC-AZ-0006-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motions for Contempt and Denying Defendants' Motions to Modify 10/17/1995 (907 F.Supp. 1326) (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 10/25/1996 (98 F.3d 1177)
PC-AZ-0006-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 04/22/1997 (107 F.3d 1397)
PC-AZ-0006-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order and Opinion 07/17/1997 (120 F.3d 921)
PC-AZ-0006-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 10/06/1997 (522 U.S. 865)
PC-AZ-0006-0009 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Ezra, David Alan (D. Haw.)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
McNamee, Stephen M. (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Muecke, Charles Andrew (D. Ariz.)
PC-AZ-0006-0002 | PC-AZ-0006-0003
Thompson, David R. (Ninth Circuit)
PC-AZ-0006-0004 | PC-AZ-0006-0005 | PC-AZ-0006-0008
Wiggins, Charles Edward (Ninth Circuit)
PC-AZ-0006-0006
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adams, Stuart H. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Aiyetoro, Adjoa A. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0006-0008
Barnett, George Salazar (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Bendheim, Alice L. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Coppersmith, Samuel George (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Dann, B. Michael (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0001 | PC-AZ-0006-0003
Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Frank, John P. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Frerichs, Scott F. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0006 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Gordon, Andrew S. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-0008 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Hartland, Christine Ann (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Jarvi, Theodore C. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Labensky, Steven J. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Nomkin, Joel W. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-0008
Papetti, Randall S. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0004 | PC-AZ-0006-0005
Rosati, Kristen Brink (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Stephan, Craig Allen (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Treon, Richard T. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Weeks, Lawrence B. (California)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Weiss, Rachel Rife (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Defendant's Lawyers Abney, Lynne W. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Adler, Vicki Gotkin (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Albrecht, Richard (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Berch, Rebecca (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0006
Bueler, Gordon Samuel (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0004 | PC-AZ-0006-0005 | PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Cooper, Charles Justin (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Corbin, Robert K. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Crimson, Ronald L. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0001
Dennis, Thomas John (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-0008 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Duke, Cleon M. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0003
Gaylord, John M. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Hochuli, Edward G. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Kirk, Michael W. (District of Columbia)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Lopez, Bernard Phillip (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Lugosi, Karen L. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-9000
Morrow, James Russel (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Nelson, Gary K. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0001 | PC-AZ-0006-0003
Schaack, Daniel Patrick (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Shely, Robert W (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Teply, R. Elizabeth (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Trask, Timothy B. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Wake, Neil Vincent (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-9000
Weineke, Kathleen L. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007
Other Lawyers Gan, Scott H. (Arizona)
PC-AZ-0006-0007 | PC-AZ-0006-9000

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