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Case Name Frazier v. Donelon PC-LA-0009
Docket / Court 72-814 ( E.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
In 1972, inmates of the Jefferson Parish Prison in Louisiana filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by prison ... read more >
In 1972, inmates of the Jefferson Parish Prison in Louisiana filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by prison policies regarding censorship of their mail, visitation rights, access to religious services, access to the telephone, and access to sexually explicit reading materials.

The parties entered into mediation in an effort to reach a settlement agreement, but they could not reach an agreement on the issues pertaining to censorship of mail and access to sexually explicit reading materials. On August 23, 1974, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Judge Jack Gordon) held that the defendants had the right to ban sexually stimulating reading matter and to censor inmate mail if it were not legal mail, but that the defendants did not have the authority to open and read inmate legal mail. Frazier v. Donelon, 381 F.Supp. 911 (E.D.La. 1974). The plaintiffs appealed this decision.

On September 12, 1975, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision without a reported opinion. Frazier v. Donelon, 520 F.2d 941 (5th Cir. 1975). The plaintiffs appealed this decision.

On February 23, 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Frazier v. Donelon, 424 U.S. 923 (1976).

Kristen Sagar - 04/04/2006


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Mail
Phone
Religious programs / policies
Visiting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Councilmen of Jefferson Parish
President of Jefferson Parish
Sheriff of Jefferson Parish
Warden of Jefferson Parish Prison
Warden of Jefferson Parish Prison
Plaintiff Description Inmates of parish jail alleging that refusal and censorship of their mail and alleged curtailment of their right to read certain materials abridged their constitutional rights
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1974 - n/a
Case Ongoing Perhaps, but long-dormant
Additional Resources
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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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Reported Opinion (381 F.Supp. 911) (E.D. La.)
PC-LA-0009-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/23/1974
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (520 F.2d 941)
PC-LA-0009-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/12/1975
Memorandum Decision (424 U.S. 923)
PC-LA-0009-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/23/1976
Source: Westlaw
Judges Gordon, Jack Murphy Court not on record
PC-LA-0009-0001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fontham, Michael R. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0009-0001
Treeby, William D. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0009-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Broussard, Robert I. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0009-0001
Collins, Lionel R. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0009-0001
Eason, Alvin R. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0009-0001
Schonekas, Russell J. (Louisiana)
PC-LA-0009-0001

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