On February 24, 2009, the plaintiff, a prisoner at the Wyoming State Penitentiary (WSP) filed a class action lawsuit in the United States Court for the District of Wyoming under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the WSP, alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights. Specifically, the ...
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On February 24, 2009, the plaintiff, a prisoner at the Wyoming State Penitentiary (WSP) filed a class action lawsuit in the United States Court for the District of Wyoming under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the WSP, alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that he was singled out for filing a complaint against a corrections officer, and denied due process by the WSP warden, who did not allow him to present evidence in his favor during his disciplinary hearing. The plaintiff was represented by the Wyoming ALCU, and sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
On October 28, 2008, approximately 25 prisoners at WSP witnessed an altercation between a guard and a prisoner. The plaintiff claimed to see one of the guards intentionally and unnecessarily kick the prisoner in the head while he was shackled and held beneath several additional guards. When the plaintiff indicated to the officers that he intended to file a complaint against their conduct, he was threatened with a disciplinary action. When the officer did file a grievance against the officer, he was sanctioned. Thereafter, he was not allowed by the officer reviewing his disciplinary sanction to call witnesses who had overheard the threatened action, or others who had witnessed the guards kick the prisoner in the head.
The plaintiff alleged that the Warden summarily denied his appeal of the disciplinary sanction because he did not present any evidence (which he was not allowed to do by the reviewing officer). The plaintiff was put into solitary confinement for two months as a result.
The plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiff challenged the disciplinary procedures and the specific policy of overly redacting documents provided to prisoners that were non-confidential.
On July 30, 2009, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit. He was no longer a prisoner at WSP, and was living at home with his ailing mother as her full-time caregiver in a bordering state. According to the stipulation of dismissal, he could not attend the depositions and maintain the action along with his caregiving responsibilities. The Court (Judge Alan B. Johnson) dismissed the case without ruling on class certification on the same day.
The case was not closed, and it was not dismissed with prejudice. However, because the plaintiff may have lost standing to restart the action, this case is likely over.Blase Kearney - 07/03/2012