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Case Name Welsh v. Dept. of Correction PC-MA-0019
Docket / Court 00-4998 ( State Court )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Plaintiff and "intervenors," inmates at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center, were subject to G.L.c. 22E Sec. 3 which required persons convicted of certain crimes to submit samples of their deoxyribonucleic acid ("DNA"). Plaintiff and the intervenors sued in state court seeking, inter alia, a ... read more >
Plaintiff and "intervenors," inmates at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center, were subject to G.L.c. 22E Sec. 3 which required persons convicted of certain crimes to submit samples of their deoxyribonucleic acid ("DNA"). Plaintiff and the intervenors sued in state court seeking, inter alia, a declaration that 103 C.M.R. Sec. 405.18 and the DNA Assessment Procedures promulgated by the defendant Department of Correction relating to the determination of indigence and assessment of costs of collecting and processing DNA samples were invalid. The plaintiff and the intervenors claimed that they were indigent and that the Department of Correction froze their personal accounts and confiscated funds to pay DNA costs.

The issue had been previously litigated; in two prior decisions, Massachusetts Superior Court judges had held that the Department of Correction's reliance on 405.18(2) and its DNA Assessment Procedures in determining indigence for purposes of assessing DNA costs violates G.L.c. 22E, Sec. 4(b). Therefore, the court ordered immediate trial on the merits.

After trial, the Superior Court of Massachusetts (Judge Kottmyer) entered an Order for Judgment on April 9, 2001. The court held that to the extent that it purports to authorize the Commissioner to define indigence for purposes of assessment of DNA costs and to deduct DNA costs from inmate accounts without consent, 103 C.M.R. Sec. 405.18 was beyond the authority of the Department of Correction. The court also held that the Department of Correction's DNA Assessment Procedures were similarly flawed. The Department of Correction was enjoined, as of April 6, 2001, from deducting DNA costs from wages earned by inmates or from any inmate account without consent. The Department of Correction was thus ordered to reimburse each of the intervenors $110, the amount which had been confiscated from their funds to pay DNA costs. Welsh v. Department of Correction et al., 2001 WL 717094 (Mass. Super. April 9, 2001)

There is no docket available for this case, and there are no available documents other than the April 9, 2001 Order for Judgment discussed above, which also contained Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Thus, there is no indication of any subsequent activity in the case.

Theresa Spaulding - 07/19/2005


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Inmates at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center subject to a law which requires persons convicted of certain crimes to submit samples of their DNA
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2001 - 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
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Judgment 04/09/2001 (13 Mass. L. Rptr. 138)
PC-MA-0019-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Kottmyer, Diane M. (State Trial Court)
PC-MA-0019-0001
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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