University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Human Rights Defense Center v. Ballard PC-KY-0009
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-00057-GFVT ( E.D. Ky. )
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Special Collection Prison Legal News
Case Summary
On July 17, 2017, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. HRDC sued both the former and current commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC), as well as many agents of the KDOC, all under 42 U.S.C. § ... read more >
On July 17, 2017, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. HRDC sued both the former and current commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC), as well as many agents of the KDOC, all under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. HRDC, a charitable organization and publisher of Prison Legal News, sought declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief as well as attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs claimed that KDOC's policy of banning books sent to prisoners violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. More specifically, HRDC alleged that KDOC prohibited prisoners from receiving books that were not directly purchased by prisoners and also prohibited them if the sender was not on a pre-approved vendors list. The complaint alleged that dozens of books sent to prisoners were censored, and that on several occasions, HRDC received notices indicating the books were rejected for a variety of reasons.

On March 6, HRDC filed an amended complaint, adding several defendants but making few substantive changes to the allegations or claims. The case is ongoing, and as of June 7, 2018, the parties are in discovery.

Jake Parker - 06/07/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Corrections
General
Mail
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Kentucky Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description The Human Rights Defense Center, a not-for-profit charitable organization whose purpose is to educate prisoners and the public about the constitutional rights of prisoners, conditions in American jails and prisons, and the economic and social costs of mass incarceration.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
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
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

  Prison Legal News Homepage
Prison Legal News
By: Prison Legal News
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:17-cv-00057 (E.D. Ky.)
PC-KY-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PC-KY-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF #27] [ECF# 27]
PC-KY-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Van Tatenhove, Gregory Frederick (E.D. Ky.)
PC-KY-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bathurst, Camille (Kentucky)
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0002 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Belzley, Gregory A. (Kentucky)
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0002 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Johnson, Bruce E.H. (Washington)
PC-KY-0009-0002 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Marshall, Daniel (Florida)
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0002 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Mutamba, Masimba (Florida)
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0002 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Neelakanta, Sabarish (Florida)
PC-KY-0009-0001 | PC-KY-0009-0002 | PC-KY-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Allison R. (Kentucky)
PC-KY-0009-9000

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