This is a Section 1983 case brought in federal district court for the District of Arizona (Judge Roger Strand) by prisoners. The plaintiffs, represented by the National Prison Project of the ACLU, filed the class action complaint on January 12, 1990. The complaint named as plaintiffs all current and future adults, male and female, in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections. The defendants were officials of the Arizona Department of Corrections. The primary allegations of the complaint were defendants' deliberate indifference to prisoners' serious medical needs, failure to provide prisoners meaningful access to the courts and counsel, and failure to provide prisoners due process in segregation assignments, in alleged violation of the First, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Based on these claims, plaintiffs requested equitable relief.
Plaintiffs soon after filed an amended class action complaint that included additional claims regarding defendants' failure to accommodate handicapped prisoners and denial of equal protection of the law to female prisoners. The District Court granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification on June 27, 1990.
According to the docket, the matter was consolidated with Arnold v. Lewis, Civil Action No. 91-CV-1808, MH-AZ-001, on September 3, 1992.
On September 6, 1991, the District Court held: blanket prohibition of attorney contact visits in certain prison units was invalid, and a policy prohibiting assignment of HIV positive prisoners to food service employment violated the Rehabilitation Act. Casey v. Lewis, 773 F. Supp. 1365 (D. Ariz. 1991). Defendants appealed this decision. The Ninth Circuit vacated in part and reversed in part, holding that the prohibition against certain inmates having visitation with attorneys was reasonably related to legitimate penological interests and that the HIV positive inmates lacked standing to challenge the food service policy. Casey v. Lewis, 4 F.3d 1516 (9th Cir. 1993).
In a separate decision, the District Court held that the law library facilities and inmate access violated the prisoners' right of access to courts. Casey v. Lewis, 834 F. Supp. 1553 (D. Ariz. 1992). Defendants appealed. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, vacated in part holding that defendants legal access program unconstitutionally denied inmates access to courts. Casey v. Lewis, 43 F.3d 1261 (9th Cir. 1994). Certiorari was granted and the Supreme Court reversed and remanded. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996). Speaking for the Court, Justice Scalia held that the inmates couldn't establish an actual injury based on an allegation that the law library was sub par in a theoretical sense. Justice Scalia also held that delays of up to 16 days for inmates to receive legal materials did not violate their constitutional right of access to the courts, provided that the delays were reasonably related to legitimate penological interests. The Court vacated the part of the district court's order regarding law libraries. The rest of the order remained in force.
While the appellate and Supreme Court litigation unfolded, in a series of decisions from 1991 to 1993, the District Court held: the treatment available to mentally ill inmates violated the Eighth Amendment; unequal treatment of male and female inmates violated the equal protection rights of female inmates; and the failure to provide handicap access to disabled inmates violated the Eighth Amendment rights of inmates. Casey v. Lewis, 834 F. Supp. 1477 (D. Ariz. 1993); 834 F. Supp. 1569 (D. Ariz. 1993). However, the District Court also held that inmate classification and administrative segregation policies did not create liberty interests for inmates in a particular classification. Casey v. Lewis, 837 F. Supp. 1009 (D. Ariz. 1993).
In February 1999 Magistrate Judge Virginia Mathis recommended the court find defendants to be in ""substantial compliance"" with the injunction regarding mental health and also requested that a special master be appointed for a 9-month period of observation to ensure that defendants are still found to be in substantial compliance. All parties filed a stipulation for entry of order adopting Judge Mathis' report and recommendation. Judge Strand granted the stipulation. In May 2000, all parties filed a stipulation for dismissal regarding termination of injunctive relief and dismissal of the matter. On May 22, 2000, Judge Strand granted the stipulation and dismissed the action.Eoghan Keenan - 04/17/2005