On March 14, 1978, an inmate at Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP) filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials at ISP in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, Central Division. The plaintiff, represented by the University of Iowa Legal Clinic, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging various practices and policies of disciplinary segregation in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Apparently, in 1981, there was large riot at ISP during which the administration building was burned down, hostages were taken, an inmate was killed and millions of dollars of damage were done; the riot was followed by a prolonged lockdown situation.
On May 3, 1984, after extensive pre-trial processes, the parties entered a settlement agreement respecting disciplinary segregation as well as related issues, including exercise, restraints, use of tear gas, strip cells, and access to the courts. The court approved the agreement on June 13, 1984. The Gavin decree was subsequently modified and supplemented on numerous occasions.
On March 30, 1993, the District Court (Judge Harold D. Vietor) consolidated the case with several others. The United States subsequently intervened as plaintiff.
On August 9, 1996, the District Court (Judge Vietor) denied the defendants' motion to stay the Gavin decree pursuant to the automatic stay requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), holding that a lack of an active and ongoing Gavin decree represented irreparable and irremediable harm to the plaintiff class.
On September 18, 1996, the District Court (Judge Vietor) denied the defendants' motion to terminate the consent decree pursuant to PLRA. Gavin v. Ray, No. 4-78-CV-70062, 1996 WL 622556 (S.D. Iowa, Sept. 18, 1996). The Court held that the termination provisions of the PLRA violated the separation of powers principles and should not be enforced.
On September 19, 1997, the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judge Pasco M. Bowman, II) reversed the District Court's September 18, 1996, decision and remanded. Gavin v. Branstad, 122 F.3d 1081 (8th Cir. 1997). The Court held that the immediate termination provisions did not violate separation of powers, equal protection, or due process. A rehearing was denied on October 7, 1997. The Supreme Court denied certiorari on June 26, 1998. Gavin v. Branstad, 524 U.S. 955 (1998). And the Supreme Court denied a rehearing on October 5, 1998. Gavin v. Branstad, 525 U.S. 923 (1998).
On January 21, 1999, the District Court (Judge Vietor) granted the defendants' motion to terminate the consent decree. The plaintiffs appealed.
On December 22, 1999, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (per curiam) affirmed the District Court's January 21, 1999, termination of the consent decree.
We have no further information on this case.Josh Altman - 06/27/2006