University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Spruytte v. Walters PC-MI-0013
Docket / Court 82-142 ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
Floyd Spruytte, an inmate at the Michigan Intensive Program Center in Marquette, Michigan, filed a pro se complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief as well as money damages against two prison hearing officers under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of ... read more >
Floyd Spruytte, an inmate at the Michigan Intensive Program Center in Marquette, Michigan, filed a pro se complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief as well as money damages against two prison hearing officers under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The complaint alleged that Spruytte's due process rights were violated because of the hearing officers' decision to prohibit him from receiving a paperback dictionary from his mother. Spruytte was represented by court-appointed private counsel. The District Court (Judge Douglas W. Hillman) sua sponte dismissed Spruytte's complaint as frivolous.

Spruytte appealed, and on January 28, 1985 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr.) reversed Judge Hillman's dismissal. Spruytte v. Walters, 753 F.2d 498 (6th Cir. 1985). The Court of Appeals held that under Michigan law a policy directive adopted by the Michigan Department of Corrections which only allowed inmates to receive books from publishers was invalid because it conflicted with a state regulation which allowed inmates to receive books that did not threaten security. The Court further found that this state regulation created an interest protected under due process, and because the prison officials applied the invalid policy directive only permitting inmates to receive books from publishers, they had violated the inmate's due process rights. The Court also held that the prison officials were not entitled to qualified immunity because they had violated a clearly established state regulation. Senior Circuit Judge Paul Charles Weick filed an opinion concurring in part. The case was remanded for further proceedings, and motions for a rehearing and a rehearing en banc were denied on March 27, 1985. The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on January 13, 1986. Walters v. Spruytte, 474 U.S. 1054 (1986).

The docket for this case was not available on PACER, and accordingly, we have no further information on the case.

Tom Madison - 11/10/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Disciplinary procedures
Library (non-law) access
Loss or damage to property
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Michigan Intensive Program Center
Plaintiff Description Prison inmate alleging violation of due process by prison officials prohibiting him from receiving paperback dictionary from his mother
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 Litigation
Form of Settlement Confession of Judgment
Order Duration not on record
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
Reported Opinion 01/28/1985 (753 F.2d 498)
PC-MI-0013-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 01/13/1986 (474 U.S. 1054)
PC-MI-0013-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Jones, Nathaniel Raphael (Sixth Circuit)
PC-MI-0013-0001
Martin, Boyce Ficklen Jr. (Sixth Circuit)
PC-MI-0013-0001
Weick, Paul Charles (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit)
PC-MI-0013-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Stowe, Meri Anne (Michigan)
PC-MI-0013-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Kelley, Frank J. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0013-0001
Nelson, Thomas C. (Michigan)
PC-MI-0013-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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