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Case Name McNamara v. Moody PC-FL-0008
Docket / Court Docket No. Not Available ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
The plaintiff, an individual prisoner at the Glades Correctional Institution in Florida, brought a Section 1983 suit against two prison officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, alleged First Amendment ... read more >
The plaintiff, an individual prisoner at the Glades Correctional Institution in Florida, brought a Section 1983 suit against two prison officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, alleged First Amendment violations by prison officials when they prevented him from mailing letters, including one to his girlfriend charging the mail censoring officer with having had intercourse with a cat.

The District Court granted the plaintiff injunctive relief, nominal damages against the mail censoring defendant individually, and attorney's fees. Defendant, represented by Assistant Attorney Generals Anthony J. Golden and Benedict P. Kuehne, appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

On November 15, 1979, the Court of Appeals (Judges John C. Godbold, Byron G. Skelton, and Alvin B. Rubin) affirmed. Writing for the court, Judge Godbold held that the prison official's censorship was unconstitutional because there was no substantial government interest, the letter's offensive language was not a breach of discipline, the letter was not obscene, and that libel would not be grounds for censorship. The court upheld the awards for nominal damages and attorney's fees against the mail censoring defendant. Judge Skelton dissented with respect to the award of attorney's fees against the defendant in his individual capacity in the absence of a showing of bad faith. McNamara v. Moody, 606 F.2d 621 (5th Cir. 1979).

Chris Sullivan - 08/08/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Glades Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description Prisoner brought action against prison officials alleging that defendants violated his constitutional rights by refusing to mail a letter to his girlfriend
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 not on record
Case Closing Year 1979
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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 11/15/1979 (606 F.2d 621)
PC-FL-0008-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 06/16/1980 (447 U.S. 929)
PC-FL-0008-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Godbold, John Cooper (Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
PC-FL-0008-0001
Skelton, Byron George (Fed. Circuit, )
PC-FL-0008-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lindsey, Hubert R. (Florida)
PC-FL-0008-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Golden, Anthony J. (Florida)
PC-FL-0008-0001
Kuehne, Benedict Paul (Florida)
PC-FL-0008-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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