University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Washington v. Meachum PC-CT-0012
Docket / Court 534616 ( State Court )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1994, the Superior Court of Connecticut heard a class action lawsuit filed by inmates of the Connecticut correctional institutions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commissioner of Correction, challenging regulations that authorized surveillance of prisoners' telephone use and mail. The ... read more >
In 1994, the Superior Court of Connecticut heard a class action lawsuit filed by inmates of the Connecticut correctional institutions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Commissioner of Correction, challenging regulations that authorized surveillance of prisoners' telephone use and mail. The inmates were represented by Connecticut Civil Liberties Union Foundation. They challenged the regulations as violating Connecticut law and the United States Constitution.

The case was tried in state court over the course of eleven days in July 1994, and included extensive witnesses and exhibits. The Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Institute and other organizations filed briefs as amici curiae. Shortly after final arguments were heard, the Commissioner resigned and the subsequent Commissioner was substituted. On March 6, 1995, the court (Judge Jon C. Blue) issued its decision, concluding that corrections officials could lawfully listen and record non-privileged inmate telephone conversations and monitor outgoing mail. Specifically, in a memorandum opinion, the court held the following: 1) the State had not violated state law by its administration of surveillance over inmates' calls; 2) the listening programs did not violate the Connecticut Constitution; 3) the monitoring of outgoing mail did not violate the federal Constitution; 4) the AIDS testing and medical information privacy laws were not violated in the monitoring of phone and mail; and 5) the Commissioner was not liable for monetary damages. The court did find that listening programs with respect to inmates' conversations with their attorneys violated the Connecticut Constitution. Washington v. Meachum, No. 534616, 1995 WL 127823 (Conn.Super.Ct. March 6, 1995). The Court ordered modifications with respect to communications between inmates and attorneys. The parties appealed.

On August 6, 1996, the Supreme Court of Connecticut (Judge Robert J. Callahan) upheld the Court's finding that the programs did not violate state or federal law and reversed and remanded the modifications on attorney-inmate communication procedure. Washington v. Meachum, 680 A.2d 262 (Conn. 1996). On October 30, 1996, the Superior Court (Judge Blue) decided costs and attorneys' fees to be paid to plaintiffs. Washington v. Meachum, 1996 WL 649313 (Conn.Super.Ct. Oct. 30, 1996).



No further information is available.

Rebecca Bloch - 04/23/2006


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
General
Mail
Phone
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Connecticut Correctional Institutions
Plaintiff Description Sentenced prisoners and pre-trial detainees housed in the state correctional institutions in Connecticut
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1995 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum of Decision Re: Substitution of Defendant 03/06/1995 (1995 WL 127823 / 1995 Conn.App.LEXIS 794)
PC-CT-0012-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 08/06/1996 (680 A.2d 262)
PC-CT-0012-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum of Decision Re: Plaintiffs' Motion for Costs and Attorneys Fees 10/30/1996 (1996 WL 649313 / 1996 Conn.App.LEXIS 2838)
PC-CT-0012-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Blue, Jon C. (State Trial Court)
PC-CT-0012-0002 | PC-CT-0012-0003
Callahan, Consuelo Maria (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dignam, Brett (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Pottenger, John L. Jr. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Riehl, Carl (New York)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Stone, Martha (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Tegeler, Philip D. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Alexandre, Henri (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Blumenthal, Richard (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
O'Neill, Stephen J. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Rosenberg, Jane R. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Strom, Steven R. (Connecticut)
PC-CT-0012-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -