University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Silvia v. Vose PC-RI-0003
Docket / Court 85-cv-00110-L ( D.R.I. )
State/Territory Rhode Island
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1985, James Silvia filed a pro se complaint in the U.S. District Court District of Rhode Island (Providence), alleging violation of various of his civil rights due to his confinement at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) in Cranston, Rhode Island. It was assigned case number 85-cv-00110-L. ... read more >
In 1985, James Silvia filed a pro se complaint in the U.S. District Court District of Rhode Island (Providence), alleging violation of various of his civil rights due to his confinement at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) in Cranston, Rhode Island. It was assigned case number 85-cv-00110-L. On May 21, 1991, Plaintiff Charles Hockenhull (who was also a plaintiff in the Silvia case) filed a similar pro se civil rights case in the U.S. District Court District of Rhode Island (Providence), challenging conditions at ACI. That case was assigned case number 91-cv-00267-L.

Our information on these two cases is limited. It appears from the PACER dockets that the District Court certified the Silvia as a class action and entered a Consent Decree in 1988. The terms of the Decree are unknown.

On May 7, 1992, Magistrate Judge Hagopian issued his Report & Recommendation in the Hockenhull case, which recommended that Plaintiff Hockenhull's motion for class certification pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23 be denied. Hockenhull v. Vose, 1992 WL 426451 (D.R.I. May 7, 1992.) The District Court (Judge Ronald R. Lagueux) adopted the Magistrate's R&R and denied class certification.

The Silvia (#85-cv-00110) and Hockenhull (#91-cv-00267-L) cases were consolidated on April 22, 1993. The District Court appointed Magistrate Judge Hagopian to serve as Special Master in the consolidated cases to analyze the current conditions at ACI inmate libraries and to determine defendant's compliance.

On February 1, 1994, the District Court approved a Dismissal Stipulation of the parties in the Hockenhull case, which provided for the creation of training program for inmate law clerks. The case was dismissed without prejudice and was ordered closed on April 22, 1994. The Silvia case remained active.

On May 21, 1991 the District Court (Judge Ronald R. Lagueux) approved a Settlement Agreement and Dismissal Stipulation, finding that the 1988 Consent Decree in Silvia was obsolete. The case was ordered dismissed and the Decree vacated. Two inmates appealed.

On September 17, 2003, the First Circuit Court of Appeals entered Judgment affirming the District Court's approval of the settlement. The case was remanded for the limited purpose of changing the disposition to termination of the Consent Decree as opposed to vacating it.

We have no further information on these consolidated cases.

Dan Dalton - 02/28/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Law library access
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI)
Plaintiff Description All inmates at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) in Cranston, Rhode Island.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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 Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1988 - 2001
Case Closing Year 2003
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)
1:91-cv-00267-L (D.R.I.) 02/08/1994
PC-RI-0003-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
85-110 (D.R.I.) 10/17/2003
PC-RI-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Report & Recommendation 05/07/1992 (1992 WL 426451 / 1992 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7593) (D.R.I.)
PC-RI-0003-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Hagopian, Jacob (D.R.I.) [Magistrate]
PC-RI-0003-0001
Lagueux, Ronald Rene (D.R.I.)
PC-RI-0003-9000 | PC-RI-0003-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)
PC-RI-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cappello, George M. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0003-9001
Cipriano, Anthony A. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0003-9000
Gentile, David J. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0003-9000 | PC-RI-0003-9001
Grant, Michael (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0003-9000 | PC-RI-0003-9001
Woolley, Richard B. (Rhode Island)
PC-RI-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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