On April 16, 1979, an inmate at Gaston County Jail filed a pro se lawsuit in the United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the sheriff of Gaston County, North Carolina, and the jail sergeant at Gaston County Jail. The complaint alleged that ...
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On April 16, 1979, an inmate at Gaston County Jail filed a pro se lawsuit in the United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the sheriff of Gaston County, North Carolina, and the jail sergeant at Gaston County Jail. The complaint alleged that while the plaintiff was incarcerated at the Gaston County Jail, the jail sergeant had refused to allow him to receive paperback books and magazines.
On August 22, 1979, North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services took over the case and filed an amended complaint as a class action. The amended complaint alleged that inmates were prohibited from receiving reading materials in violation of the First Amendment; that inmates were denied access to legal materials and thus access to the courts; and that inmates were denied recreational opportunities in violation of due process requirements and the Eighth Amendment.
On December 3, 1979, the certified class of plaintiffs, also represented by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, filed their own action against the Sheriff alleging some of the same constitutional violations made in the original inmate's complaint.
In an order filed on March 12, 1980, the United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina (Judge James Bryan McMillan) consolidated the cases.
On April 21, 1981, the Court granted the initial plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on all three constitutional issues, and awarded summary judgment on the issues of access of inmates to reading materials and meaningful access to courts in the class action.
Additionally, the Court issued the following declaratory judgments: that the jail's policy of prohibiting receipt of certain reading materials is unconstitutional and that defendants are permanently enjoined from barring inmates from receiving reading materials; that the jail's failure to provide meaningful access to courts for its inmates, either by access to a library or to adequate legal services, is unconstitutional; and that the jail's failure to provide opportunity for meaningful physical exercise is unconstitutional.
The Court further ordered that defendants submit two plans, one that provided for constitutionally adequate access to courts by inmates for post-conviction and civil rights claims, and one that provided for exercise opportunities sought in the complaint. These plans had to be submitted by July 1, 1981, and, subject to the Court's approval, implemented by August 1, 1981. Plaintiffs had thirty days after the filing date of the order to submit claims for monetary damages and requests for costs and attorneys' fees. Parnell v. Waldrep, 511 F.Supp. 764 (W.D. NC 1981).
No information is available on PACER or Westlaw.Rebecca Bloch - 02/24/2006