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Case Name Dee v. Brewer & Hazen v. Reagan PC-IA-0002
Docket / Court 77-CV-80102 ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On April 6, 1977, in Dee v. Brewer, a group inmates at Iowa State Prison (ISP) filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Iowa prison officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for ... read more >
On April 6, 1977, in Dee v. Brewer, a group inmates at Iowa State Prison (ISP) filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Iowa prison officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that mail policies at the prison were in violation of the Constitution.

Previously, in a related case, on August 19, 1975, in Hazen v. Reagan, another group of ISP inmates filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Iowa prison officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Those plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that policies and practices at ISP violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Dee and Hazen cases were later consolidated after consent decrees were separately approved in each case.

On July 25, 1980, the District Court (Judge Charles R. Wolle) approved a consent decree in the Dee case. Under the Dee consent decree, (a) an inmate's legal papers could not be taken or searched outside of the inmate's presence and observation without the inmate's prior knowledge and consent, (b) if an inmate requested that his legal papers be searched only in his presence, the person conducting the search had to take the papers from the inmate, search the papers while the inmate watched, and then return the legal papers to the inmate immediately, (c) any searches of inmates' legal papers had to be made only to detect the presence of contraband and inmates' legal papers could not be read, and (d) in the absence of exigent circumstances, inmates' legal papers could not be taken from or searched in his cell or room while the inmate was not present unless the inmate gave prior consent to such a taking or search. The information about this consent decree is referenced in an unrelated case, Welch v. Spangler, 939 F.2d 570 (8th Cir. 1991).

In 1981, the parties in Hazen entered into a settlement agreement, and in 1982, the District Court (Judge William C. Stuart) approved the consent decree. Among other things, the Hazen consent decree provided for the creation of a Prisoners' Advisory Committee (PAC). Further, the Court retained jurisdiction over the matter.

In 1993, in Hazen, the District Court (Judge Charles R. Wolle) denied the plaintiffs' motion to hold the defendants in contempt for violation of the consent decree with respect to a prison transfer allegedly intended to frustrate one inmates' nomination to the PAC. The plaintiffs appealed.

On February 16, 1994, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Levin H. Campbell) affirmed the District Court's decision, refusing to hold the defendants in contempt. Hazen v. Reagan, 16 F.3d 921 (8th Cir. 1994).

Sometime before 1996, Dee and Hazen were consolidated.

On November 29, 1996, the District Court (Judge Wolle) denied the defendants' motion to terminate the consent decrees pursuant the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Hazen v. Reagan, No. 4-75-CV090201, No. 4-77-CV-80102, 1996 WL 932550 (S.D. Iowa Nov. 29, 1996). The Court held the immediate termination provisions of the PLRA to be unconstitutional. The defendants appealed.

On appeal, on April 4, 1997, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held the cases in abeyance pending the outcome of an unrelated case, Gavin v. Brandstad, PC-IA-0003. The Court issued an opinion in Gavin v. Brandstad on August 5, 1997, and a mandate on November 24, 1997. Subsequently, on February 2, 1998, the Eighth Circuit (Judges Pasco M. Bowman, Morris S. Arnold, and Roger L. Wollman) reversed the District Court's November 29, 1997, decision and remanded.

After substantial litigation respecting the defendants' resistance to enforcement of the decrees, on August 7, 1998, the District Court (Judge Wolle) granted the defendants' motion to terminate relief and dismissed the cases. The plaintiffs appealed.

On March 31, 2000, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judge Pascal Middleton Bowman II) affirmed the District Court's August 7, 1998, ruling, which terminated the consent decrees. As the plaintiffs had apparently argued a novel contract theory, the Court held that the PLRA prohibited state-court enforcement of federal prison conditions consent decrees and so it was within the power of Congress to remove state-court jurisdiction to enforce federal consent decrees. Hazen v. Reagan, 208 F.3d 697 (8th Cir. 2000).

We have no more information on this case.

Josh Altman - 06/26/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Mail
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Iowa State Penitentiary
Plaintiff Description Inmate at Iowa State Penitentiary who was nominated to serve on elected inmate advisory council and whom prison officials subsequently transferred to Florida prison alleging that transfer was intended to frustrate his nomination to council
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1980 - 1998
Case Closing Year 2000
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-IA-0003 : Gavin v. Ray (S.D. Iowa)
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)
77-80102 (S.D. Iowa) 02/19/2002
PC-IA-0002-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
75-80201 (S.D. Iowa) 02/19/2002
PC-IA-0002-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Published Opinion 02/16/1994 (16 F.3d 921)
PC-IA-0002-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 12/02/1996 (1996 WL 932550) (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-0001 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Reported Opinion 03/31/2000 (208 F.3d 697)
PC-IA-0002-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Arnold, Morris Sheppard (Eighth Circuit, W.D. Ark.)
PC-IA-0002-0002
Bowman, Pasco Middleton II (Eighth Circuit)
PC-IA-0002-0002
Campbell, Levin Hicks (First Circuit, D. Mass.)
PC-IA-0002-0003
Hansen, David Rasmussen (Eighth Circuit, N.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-0003
Loken, James B. (Eighth Circuit)
PC-IA-0002-0003
Wolle, Charles Robert (S.D. Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-0001 | PC-IA-0002-9000 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit)
PC-IA-0002-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hulting, Patricia M (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-0003 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Lipman, Jeffrey M (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-0002 | PC-IA-0002-9000 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Mears, Philip B. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Garvey, Vincent M. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0002-9000 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Hagen, Christopher D. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Hill, William A. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Hoyle, John C. (District of Columbia)
PC-IA-0002-0002
Humphrey, R Andrew (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000
Lindebak, Layne M. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-0002 | PC-IA-0002-0003 | PC-IA-0002-9000 | PC-IA-0002-9001
Other Lawyers Allen, John Scott (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000
Eastman, F David (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000
Hansen, Peter W (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000
Whiston, John B. (Iowa)
PC-IA-0002-9000

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