University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Daniels v. Zant PC-GA-0002
Docket / Court 5:79-cv-00110-WDO ( M.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On May 14 1979, Georgia death row inmates brought a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, challenging their conditions of confinement at H-House in the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson, Georgia. An ... read more >
On May 14 1979, Georgia death row inmates brought a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, challenging their conditions of confinement at H-House in the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson, Georgia. An amended complaint was filed on July 20, 1979 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of the inmate class.

The case was certified as a class action on October 2, 1979. The class was defined as all present and future inmates under a death sentence and incarcerated at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center.

On June 25, 1980, Plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the execution of inmate Jack Potts, alleging that the conditions of confinement were so intolerable that Pott's lost his will to live and pursue his habeas remedies. The District Court (Judge Wilbur D. Owens, Jr.) denied plaintiffs' motion. Daniels v. Zant, 494 F.Supp. 720 (M.D.Ga. 1980).

The U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] was granted status as amicus curie on September 10, 1980.

A Consent Decree was entered on June 5, 1981. The Decree provided for changes in the following areas: classification, health services, exercise, inmate visitation, access to the courts, religious services and mail. The Decree contained an automatic sunset clause. The District Court (Judge Owens) denied plaintiffs' application for attorneys' fees and further relief and ordered the case closed on June 27, 1983.

We have no information as to case activity from 1984 to 1990.

On March 1, 1999, death row inmate William Mark Mize filed a Complaint and motion to modify and enforce the Consent Decree. On March 8, 2000, Judge Duross Fitzpatrick ordered that a new file be opened for William Mark Mize v. Walter Zant with a new civil action number. 5:00-cv-00080-WDO-CWH. Defendant moved for summary judgment.

The District Court (Judge Wilbur D. Owens, Jr.) subsequently adopted the report and recommendations of the Magistrate Judge Claude W. Hicks Jr. and granted defendant's motion for summary judgment on August 11, 2000. The case was ordered closed.

William Mark Mize filed another motion for contempt and modification of Consent Decree on November 14, 2006. (He also later filed numerous other motions including motions for joinder, a motion for charges of perjury, and motions for preliminary injunction.) Defendant filed a reply brief noting that the Court previously denied a similar motion in 2000 and that as the Consent Decree had been terminated for about 15 years, the Court was without jurisdiction to enter the relief sought. On August 11, 2007, the court (now, Judge Hugh Lawson) adopted Magistrate Hicks' report and recommendation, dismissed all of Mize's motions, and closed the case.

Dan Dalton - 03/02/2007
Alex Wharton - 12/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Classification / placement
Mail
Religious programs / policies
Visiting
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center
Plaintiff Description The class was defined as all present and future inmates under a death sentence and incarcerated at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1981 - 1983
Case Closing Year 2007
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)
79-110 (M.D. Ga.) 03/08/2000
PC-GA-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:00-cv-00080-WDO-CWH (M.D. Ga.) 08/15/2007
PC-GA-0002-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion 06/27/1980 (494 F.Supp. 720) (M.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0002-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Consent Decree 06/15/1981 (M.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0002-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion 07/26/1983 (712 F.2d 1417)
PC-GA-0002-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
REPLY IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR CONTEMPT 12/15/2006
PC-GA-0002-0002 PDF | Detail
Recommendation re: Motion for Contempt 07/10/2007
PC-GA-0002-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hicks, Claude W. Jr. (M.D. Ga.) [Magistrate]
PC-GA-0002-0005
Owens, Wilbur Dawson Jr. (M.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0002-0001 | PC-GA-0002-0003 | PC-GA-0002-9000 | PC-GA-0002-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goldberg, Ralph S. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0001 | PC-GA-0002-0003
Pearson, Albert M. III (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0003
West, Thomas McKee (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0001 | PC-GA-0002-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Baker, Thurbert E. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0002 | PC-GA-0002-9000
Bolton, Arthur K. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0003
Jones, John Custer (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-9000 | PC-GA-0002-9001
Kohler, Harrison (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0001 | PC-GA-0002-0003
Orland, Devon (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0002 | PC-GA-0002-9001
Pacious, Kathleen Mary (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0002
Walden, John C. (Georgia)
PC-GA-0002-0001
Other Lawyers McClymont, Mary E. (District of Columbia)
PC-GA-0002-0001
Whinston, Stephen A. (District of Columbia)
PC-GA-0002-0001

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