University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lewis v. Evans PC-GA-0009
Docket / Court 84-251 ( S.D. Ga. )
State/Territory Georgia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
We have not been able to obtain any of the filings or opinions issued in this case. However, another case, Garvey v. Allen, No. CV486-230, 1987 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1148 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 14, 1987) (Judge Berry Edenfield), alleging non-compliance with a court order in Lewis, has revealed some details. ... read more >
We have not been able to obtain any of the filings or opinions issued in this case. However, another case, Garvey v. Allen, No. CV486-230, 1987 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1148 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 14, 1987) (Judge Berry Edenfield), alleging non-compliance with a court order in Lewis, has revealed some details. In Garvey, the plaintiff, a prisoner at the Coastal Correction Institution, filed a law suit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia alleging that he had been unconstitutionally deprived of his property rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when prison officials seized a chessboard from his cell during a search. Specifically, he claimed that his constitutional rights had been violated by the defendants' non-compliance with the contraband seizure policy provided in the Lewis v. Evans consent order.

Based on this claim, it can be understood that Lewis brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia against prison officials alleging, at a minimum, deficiencies in policies and procedures regarding searches of cells and seizure of contraband. That suit resulted in the district court entering a consent decree in October 1985. Lewis v. Evans, CV484-251 (S.D. Ga. Oct. 22, 1985). That consent decree provided that when property is deemed "nuisance contraband," inmates are allowed to present evidence of ownership and misclassification as contraband within seven days of its confiscation. If the inmate could establish both, the item must be returned.

In the subsequent Garvey litigation interpreting this decree, the district court rejected plaintiff Garvey's argument and granted defendants' motion for summary judgment. Garvey v. Allen, No. CV486-230, 1987 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1148 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 14, 1987) (Judge Berry Edenfield). First, the court held that the consent order in Lewis v. Evans provided adequate post-deprivation remedies to prevent an unconstitutional deprivation of property without due process. Moreover, under that consent order, the plaintiff was free to bring evidence during the first seven days after confiscation, but deliberately refused to avail himself of that option. The consent order, the court said, did not guarantee a specific forum nor did it place an affirmative duty on the prison to schedule a hearing. Finally, the court held that violations of consent decrees should be redressed through contempt proceedings, and not section 1983 actions, as such violations are often not violations of constitutional rights.

Neither the Lewis nor the Garvey dockets are available on PACER, and therefore our information ends with the January 14, 1987 court opinion.

Sherrie Waldrup - 03/06/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
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Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Coastal Correctional Institution
Plaintiff Description Prisoner alleging confiscation of his chessboard by a prison guard
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1985 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
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 01/14/1987 (1987 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 1148) (S.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0009-0002 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Judges Edenfield, Berry Avant (S.D. Ga.)
PC-GA-0009-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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