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