University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Givhan v. Puckett PC-MS-0004
Docket / Court 4:82-cv-00064-JAD ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On March 15, 1982, Muslim prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman filed a class action lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Greenville Division. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On March 15, 1982, Muslim prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman filed a class action lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Greenville Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that conditions of confinement in DOC violated their constitutional rights to religious freedom.

On August 17, 1982, the Magistrate Judge (Judge unknown), having previously consolidated the case with others, certified the consolidated causes as a class action.

On March 8, 1983, the Magistrate Judge issued a report and recommendation and, on April 4, 1983, the District Court (Judge W.C. Keady) adopted the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation. Apparently, the Magistrate Judge's report found that the plaintiffs' allegations were sufficiently credible and the District Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss.

On September 26, 1985, the District Court (Judge Keady) dismissed the cause of action because the parties had settled, and closed the case. On November 18, 1985, the Court entered an agreed order of settlement and dismissal, subject to certain provisions.

On April 17, 1991, the District Court (Judge Keady) modified the agreed order with respect to place of worship, presence of a fulltime Imam, prison diet, provisions respecting hair and beards and the availability of religious materials to the inmates.

On October 28, 1991, the Magistrate Court (Judge Jerry A. Davis) ordered that the plaintiffs be allowed to solicit voluntary donations but could not sell donated items at Parchman.

After the plaintiffs' counsel withdrew in August 1995, and other inmates entered motions to intervene and to hold the defendants in contempt, as well as to certify the class, on April 3, 1996, the case was reopened and reassigned to Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander. The plaintiffs were appointed new counsel.

On September 25, 1996, the Magistrate Court (Judge Alexander) denied all of these motions and ordered the appointed counsel to submit a final report of his investigation and settlement negotiations.

On November 18, 1997, the case was reassigned to District Judge L. T. Senter, Jr., and Magistrate Judge Jerry A. Davis. The District Court (Judge Senter) approved another agreed order, consolidating the claims, certifying the class as "all adherents of the Muslim [sic] religion sentenced to the custody of MDOC," awarding attorneys' fees and requiring, pursuant to Moore v. Fordice, PC-MS-0002, that the parties seek in good faith an informal resolution to any dispute in this case prior to instituting legal action.

On March 31, 1998, the case was referred back to Magistrate Judge Alexander. On April 3, 1998, the Magistrate Court (Judge Alexander) recommended that the District Court deny the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. And, on April 30, 1998, the District Court (Judge Senter) adopted the recommendation and denied the temporary restraining order.

On August 6, 1998, the case was reassigned to District Court Judge Neal B. Biggers, Jr., and, on August 17, 1998, the case was again reassigned to District Court Judge Glen H. Davidson. After Judge Davidson recognized the parties' stipulation to the content of a post-judgment trial, on August 24, 1998, the case was referred again to Magistrate Judge Davis.

The Magistrate Court (Judge Davis) subsequently denied a number of the plaintiffs' motions to proceed without the class counsel and a number of intervenors' motions to find the defendants in contempt. The plaintiffs appealed and, on April 27, 2001, the Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit vacated in part and reversed in part, though the order is not available.

On October 4, 2002, the Magistrate Court (Judge Davis) denied a number of motions to intervene. Subsequently, in September, October and November 2005, Judge Davis dismissed a number of plaintiffs for failure to prosecute.

On October 2, 2006, a preliminary injunction hearing was scheduled for November 15, 2006. Following the hearing, the motion was denied as moot because the parties were working on a joint modification of the consent decree. Several months later, the consent decree was amended to improve medical care for inmates. On July 28, 2008, the court approved a supplemental consent decree allowing more religious freedom to inmates. Following this consent decree, another inmate filed a separate complaint regarding religious freedom--the court consolidated his complaint with this case, and denied his motion for preliminary relief after deciding that sufficient relief was granted by the July 28, 2008, consent decree. On March 10, 2011, this case was dismissed.

Josh Altman - 10/30/2006
Maurice Youkanna - 07/26/2014

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Preliminary relief denied
Religion discrimination
Conditions of confinement
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Religious programs / policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) State of Mississippi
Plaintiff Description All adherents of the Muslim religion sentenced to the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1985 - 2011
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PC-MS-0001 : Gates v. Collier (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0002 : Moore v. Fordice (N.D. Miss.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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 ]

Links Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Written: Jun. 04, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

4:82-cv-00064-JAD (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [Denying Motion and Denying Motion as Moot] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Agreed Order to Amend (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Consent Decree (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Consolidating Action Nunc Pro Tunc] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Finally Dismissing Consolidated Cases] (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Davis, Jerry A. (N.D. Miss.)
PC-MS-0004-0001 | PC-MS-0004-0002 | PC-MS-0004-0003 | PC-MS-0004-0004 | PC-MS-0004-0005 | PC-MS-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Welch, Ronald R. (Mississippi)
PC-MS-0004-0003 | PC-MS-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Clay, John L. (Mississippi)
Hall, Pelicia Everett (Mississippi)
Irvin, Charles Baron (Mississippi)
Steel, James F. (Mississippi)
Vincent, Leonard Charlton (Mississippi)
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -