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Case Name Bates v. Lynn PC-LA-0002
Docket / Court 89-065 ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On January 25, 1989, death row inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola (LSP) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC) and LSP in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, Baton Rouge Division. The ... read more >
On January 25, 1989, death row inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola (LSP) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC) and LSP in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, Baton Rouge Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, Loyola Law School and the ACLU National Prison Project, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging violations of their Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that they were granted only limited access to and were denied direct access to a law library, were provided with inadequate legal assistance, were denied appointment of counsel and that visitation was subject to severe restrictions.

On February 8, 1990, the District Court (Judge Frank J. Polozola) referred the case to Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Riedlinger. On August 23, 1990, the Magistrate Court (Judge Riedlinger) denied the plaintiffs' motion for class action status, but further ordered that it would treat the case as in the nature of a class action.

The parties subsequently entered into settlement negotiations and in a joint motion, submitted an agreement to the court. On April 22, 1991, the Magistrate Court (Judge Riedlinger) approved the agreement as a consent decree. The consent decree provided for private and confidential legal visits, a greatly expanded legal assistance program, and implementation and oversight mechanisms including routine written progress reports. The Court retained jurisdiction to monitor progress with the agreement.

On October 5, 1995, the District Court (Judge Polozola) ordered a hearing to determine the defendants' compliance with the consent decree.

On May 28, 1997, the defendants filed a motion, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), to terminate the prospective relief provided by the consent decree. The plaintiffs responded by challenging the constitutionality of the PLRA. On August 15, 1997, the United States intervened as a defendant to support the constitutionality of the PLRA. On August 18, 1997, the District Court (Judge Polozola) granted the government's motion to intervene.

After the Ninth Circuit decided Taylor v. United States, 143 F.3d 1178 (9th Cir. 1998), and each of the parties took notice, the government filed a supplemental memorandum supporting the constitutionality of the PLRA.

On August 31, 2000, the Magistrate Court (Judge Riedlinger) filed a report and recommendation with the District Court. The Magistrate Court recommended that the District Court terminate the consent decree, but limit the termination to the prospective relief.

On September 18, 2000, the District Court (Judge Polozola), having accepted the finding of the Magistrate, granted the defendants' motion to terminate the prospective relief provided by the consent decree.

We have no further information on this case.

Josh Altman - 09/23/2006


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Male
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Law library access
Visiting
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Louisiana Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description All persons currently or in the future confined under sentence of death in the State of Louisiana.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1991 - 2000
Case Closing Year 2000
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)
89-065 Sec.B (M.D. La.) 08/08/2002
PC-LA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 01/25/1989
PC-LA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Consent Decree and Order 01/01/1991 (M.D. La.)
PC-LA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Magistrate Judge's Report 09/01/2000 (M.D. La.)
PC-LA-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Opinion 09/20/2000 (M.D. La.)
PC-LA-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Judgment 09/20/2000 (M.D. La.)
PC-LA-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Judges Polozola, Frank Joseph (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
PC-LA-0002-0006 | PC-LA-0002-0007 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Riedlinger, Stephen C. (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
PC-LA-0002-0003 | PC-LA-0002-0005 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Adams, Stuart H. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0002-0003
Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0002-0003 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Dixon, Stephen Andrew (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-9000
Freeman, Alexa P. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0002-0003
Gaupp, John (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-9000
Quigley, William Patrick (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-0001 | PC-LA-0002-0003 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Wright, Claudia T. (District of Columbia)
PC-LA-0002-0001 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Courtney, Pamela LeBato (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-9000
Hrdlicka, James Carl (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-9000
Kopsa, Joseph Erwin (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-0003 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Mooney, Suzanne Quinlan (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-9000
Rutledge, Debra A. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-0003 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Sanders, David Glen (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-9000
Viator, Annette Marie (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0002-0003 | PC-LA-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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