In 1972, a class of incarcerated and former inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Stillwater filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The complaint alleged that disciplinary rules and regulations at the prison violated their rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, ...
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In 1972, a class of incarcerated and former inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Stillwater filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The complaint alleged that disciplinary rules and regulations at the prison violated their rights under the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments and federal and state statutes. The plaintiffs were represented by private counsel. The parties entered into an agreement regarding disciplinary policies. Judge Phillip Neville approved the agreement in an order filed on September 10, 1973. Inmate 24394 v. Schoen, 363 F.Supp. 683 (D.Minn.1973).
The Schoen decree outlined the procedures for disciplinary hearings against prisoners at Minnesota Correctional Faculties in Stillwater and St. Cloud. It included procedures for providing prisoners with adequate notice of charges against them, scheduling hearings, continuances, and appeals. There were no successful claims of violations of the Schoen decree.
On August 18, 1998, the defendants moved to terminate the decree pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Ronald W. Harvey and other plaintiffs, represented by Leslie J. Rosenberg, Minnesota State Public Defender, objected to the motion and a hearing was held on May 21, 1998. On January 28, 1999, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Magistrate Judge Raymond L. Erickson) granted the motion to terminate the decree. Plaintiffs appealed the Magistrate's decision and it was upheld by Judge James Rosenbaum on April 7, 1999. Harvey v. Schoen, 51 F.Supp.2d 1001 (D.Minn.1999).
The plaintiffs appealed, claiming that the district court erred in denying their request to conduct discovery to show that there was a current violation of the decree. They also argued that the provisions of the PLRA that allowed termination of decrees were a violation of the separation of powers. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judge John R. Gibson) affirmed the judgment of the district court and found that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the discovery request. Harvey v. Schoen, 245 F.3d 718 (8th Cir. 2001).Angela Heverling - 12/01/2005