On May 23, 2000, an inmate at the Pelican Bay State Prison filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the California Department of Corrections. The plaintiff, who was represented by the ACLU and private counsel, sought ...
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On May 23, 2000, an inmate at the Pelican Bay State Prison filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the California Department of Corrections. The plaintiff, who was represented by the ACLU and private counsel, sought injunctive relief and damages, alleging (1) that the delay in his diagnosis of and treatment for colon cancer amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, (2) that the prison's refusal to provide him with medically necessary tennis shoes also amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, and (3) that the prison mail policy, which prohibited the receipt of mail containing Internet-generated materials, violated the his First Amendment rights.
The defendants moved for summary judgment. On September 9, 2002, the District Court (Judge Claudia Wilken) granted in part and denied in part the defendant's motion. Clement v. California Department of Corrections, 220 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (N.D. Cal. 2002). The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment regarding the plaintiff's cruel and unusual punishment claims. The motion regarding the plaintiff's First Amendment claims, however, was denied. The court reasoned that "a prisoner's right to receive information by incoming mail [was] undisputed" and that the mail policy did not serve a legitimate penological interest. On its own motion, the court granted the plaintiff summary judgment on the issue of the mail policy. By separate order, the court permanently enjoined the defendants from enforcing any policy prohibiting California inmates from receiving mail simply because it contained Internet-generated information.
The defendants appealed. On April 20, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (per curiam) affirmed the District Court's grant of summary judgment for the plaintiff and the permanent state-wide injunction against the enforcement of the internet mail policy. Clement v. California Department of Corrections, 364 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir. 2004). The court agreed with the District Court's reasoning. The court further reasoned that the injunction entered by the District Court was not too broad, because the injunction was no broader than the constitutional violation.
The case appears to be closed.Kaitlin Corkran - 08/20/2005