University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Mason v. Peyton PC-VA-0010
Docket / Court 5611 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
This class action civil rights pro se lawsuit was filed on February 2, 1968 against the Virginia prison system, alleging unlawful racial segregation of inmates and general unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

Our information in this case is limited to the typed docket for the U.S. ... read more >
This class action civil rights pro se lawsuit was filed on February 2, 1968 against the Virginia prison system, alleging unlawful racial segregation of inmates and general unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

Our information in this case is limited to the typed docket for the U.S. District Court in Virginia, which is somewhat difficult to read.

According to the docket, the District Court initially entered a TRO, prohibiting the defendants from the following: denying inmate access to attorneys; using instruments against inmates to cause physical pain, except in situations of self defense; using tear gas except in extreme circumstances; denying mattresses and bedding to inmates; denying access to the courts and using solitary confinement in a manner that would cause inmates mental or physical harm.

A trial on the matter commenced in December of 1968 and continued into 1969. The District Court separated the claims of general prisoner mistreatment from the segregation claims. On October 16, 1969, the District Court entered an order and injunction calling for defendants to desegregate the Virginia prison system and to report to the Court as to their efforts to do so. It appears that following that order, memorandums were filed with the Court detailing the status of compliance with the desegregation order.

On July 19, 1974, the District Court ordered that the case be dismissed.

We have no further information on this matter.

Dan Dalton - 02/17/2007


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Administrative segregation
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Racial segregation
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia State Penitentiary
Plaintiff Description All inmates in the Virginia prison system.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1968 - 1974
Case Closing Year 1974
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Cruel Confinement: Abuse, Discrimination and Death Within Alabama's Prisons
Date: Jun 4, 2014
(Southern Poverty Law Center )
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
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
Date: Jan 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
53-69-R (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/1974
5611-R (E.D. Va.)
PC-VA-0010-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/1974
General Documents
No documents currently in the collection
Judges Bryan, Albert Vickers (FISC)
PC-VA-0010-9001
Butzner, John Decker Jr. Court not on record
PC-VA-0010-9001
Merhige, Robert Reynold Jr. Court not on record
PC-VA-0010-9000 | PC-VA-0010-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Freedman, Lawrence E. (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9001
Hirschkop, Phillip J. (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9000 | PC-VA-0010-9001
Rosenfeld, David (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Button, Robert Y. (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9001
Harp, Reno S. III (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9001
Lefcoe, Vann H. (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9000
Wayte, Edward J (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9001
Witt, W. Luke (Virginia)
PC-VA-0010-9001

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