In 1971, an Illinois inmate filed suit in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against state prison officials. Plaintiff sued under section 1983 for violations of his First Amendment right to access various published materials. Following a denial of cross-motions for summary ...
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In 1971, an Illinois inmate filed suit in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against state prison officials. Plaintiff sued under section 1983 for violations of his First Amendment right to access various published materials. Following a denial of cross-motions for summary judgment, the parties adopted a consent decree. This agreement prohibited the defendants from restricting the inmates' access to certain non-legal publications. At a hearing in 1975, Judge Frank McGarr found the defendants to be in contempt of court for violating the 1973 decree. Judge McGarr issued a permanent injunction in 1976 ordering an even broader range of reading materials be accessible to the inmates. 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11671 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2002).
In 1987, prison officials adopted a new ""no catalogs rule,"" limiting the materials to which inmates had access. With the original plaintiff having died in the time between the 1976 decree and the new rule, another inmate stepped in as an intervening plaintiff. In 1992, the new intervenor-plaintiff sought and Judge Charles Kocoras granted an order declaring that the ""no catalogs rule"" violated the 1976 injunction. This gave the defendants 30 days to come into compliance with the injunction, 1992 WL 309566 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 22, 1992). In 1993, the intervenor-plaintiff continually sought to force the defendants into compliance. In April 1993, the court entered an implementation order with recommended language for the rules governing inmate reading material. When inmates continued to complain, the court issued a minute order in June 1993 personally ordering each warden to abide by the 1976 injunction. 1997 WL 769458 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 5, 1997).
In May 1997, defendants moved to terminate the orders in this case pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. section 3626(b)(2). This law requires that relief be narrowly drawn and the least intrusive means of solving the problem. Intervenor-plaintiff argued in turn that section 3626 was unconstitutional. In December 1997, the court found section 3626 to be constitutional and that the orders and decrees did not comply with its requirements. 2000 WL 1230246 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 24, 2000). In November 2001, the court held that intervenor-plaintiff's evidence of ongoing violations of rights was insufficient to save the orders under the PLRA and terminated them. Intervenor-plaintiff sought and was denied attorney's fees for his efforts regarding the whole section 3626 issue. 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11671 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2002). The docket ends there.John Maksymonko - 08/03/2005