AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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No federal law provides
for a privilege of confidentiality of a "peer review" of the
medical facts concerning the death of a prisoner, so that a trial court
properly compelled the production of the mortality review conducted by
correctional health officials in a lawsuit over the death. Agster v. Maricopa
County, No. 04-15466, 406 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2005) [2005 JB Aug]
Prison guard did not violate a Pennsylvania prisoner's Eighth Amendment rights by allegedly "blowing kisses" at him. While the prisoner claimed that this made him "fearful" of a future potential sexual assault, such conduct, while "unprofessional" did not state a claim for violation of federal civil rights. Prison psychiatrist had a clear obligation to report the prisoner's alleged subsequent threats against the guard, and was not required to give him Miranda warnings before discussing the incidents with him. The prisoner's statements to the psychiatrist were therefore admissible in subsequent prison disciplinary proceedings against him. Burkholder v. Newton, 116 Fed. Appx. 358 (3rd Cir. 2004). [N/R]
Admission of hearsay evidence that psychiatrist diagnosed plaintiff prisoner as faking the mental trauma he claimed to have sustained as a result of his solitary confinement without clothing or sustained access to running water was improper. Prisoner was therefore entitled to a new trial in his civil rights lawsuit alleging a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Mahone v. Lehman, #02-35622, 347 F.3d 1170 (9th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity from liability on claim that they violated detainee's procedural due process rights by denying fingerprint analysis of a shank found in his cell, which he was disciplined for possessing. Prisoner claimed that shank was planted there, but there was no clearly established due process right to have the prison "prepare evidence" for the prisoner under such circumstances. Okocci v. Klein, 270 F. Supp. 2d 603 (E.D. Pa. 2003). [N/R]
Plaintiff prisoner who sued correctional employees for alleged failure to protect him from stabbing by another prisoner could not object on appeal to the admission of evidence that he was labeled a "homosexual predator" on correctional records when his own lawyer made a "strategic decision" to allow the jury to learn that in order to lessen any "negative impact the information may have had if left unexplained." Gibbs v. Bolden, No. 02-1560, 65 Fed. Appx. 519 (6th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Federal trial court would not take "judicial notice" of information contained on Internet websites offered by defendant correctional officials to demonstrate their claim that they had adopted appropriate treatment procedures for the plaintiff prisoner's hepatitis C condition. In addition to the accuracy of the website information being questionable, because the website could be modified at will by the webmaster, and perhaps other persons, the prisoner, acting as his own lawyer, did not have access to the sites, and no foundation was presented for the "expert" opinion the website information represented. Fenner v. Suthers, 194 F. Supp. 2d 1146 (D. Colo. 2002). [N/R]
Jury verdict in favor of officers upheld in prisoner's lawsuit claiming that they beat him while he was being moved during a transfer made necessary by a prison riot that occurred five days before; trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding from evidence in the case the officers' suspension following the riots. Okal v. Verfuth, #99-3277, 275 F.3d 606 (7th Cir. 2001). [2002 JB May]
277:8 Prisoner's claim that correctional officer used excessive force by shooting him in the leg during prison fight was not barred by disciplinary determination of prisoner's participation in incident, since excessive force could be found without implying invalidity of disciplinary conviction; evidence contradicting findings of disciplinary hearing could be presented. Marquez v. Guttierez, 51 F. Supp. 2d 1020 (E.D. Cal. 1999).
285:140 County jail officials were entitled to assert attorney-client and work-product privileges to withhold disclosure of documents prepared in anticipation of U.S. Justice Department lawsuit over jail conditions, even in a "closely related" separate lawsuit brought by former inmates seeking money damages; having asserted such privileges, however, they would not be allowed to make use of the documents at trial for any purpose, including using them to establish that their decisions about the jail were made based on legal advice. Winton v. Board of Com'rs of Tulsa County, Ok, 188 F.R.D. 398 (N.D. Ok. 1999).
239:170 Trial court rules that murder convictions and life sentences of plaintiff prisoner and his inmate witnesses should not be introduced into evidence in plaintiff's suit alleging that correctional employees overheard a third prisoner threaten him and failed to prevent the attack; court finds that prejudice to jury's fact finding would outweigh probative value of convictions on issue of inmate credibility as to whether defendants overheard threat. Tabron v. Grace, 898 F.Supp. 293 (M.D. Pa. 1995). [Crossreference: Prisoner Assault: By Inmate].
238:153 U.S. Supreme Court adopts therapist-patient privilege protecting disclosures during therapy sessions from compelled disclosure in court; affirms ordering of new trial in which jury awarded $545,000 in police shooting case where jury was told it could presume withheld therapy records would be unfavorable to officer. Jaffee v. Allen, 116 S.Ct. 1923 (1996).
226:152 Correctional officer liable for confiscating prisoner's epilepsy medicine and flushing it down the toilet; appeals court orders new trial on damages, however, after jury awards only $1 in nominal damages following erroneous admission of nurse's testimony that inmate sometimes did not pick up his medication; nurse's testimony was not based on personal knowledge. Kemp v. Balboa, 23 F.3d 211 (8th Cir. 1994).
226:157 Erroneous admission into evidence of hearsay contained in police reports in prisoner's lawsuit alleging that prison employees failed to protect him from known danger of sexual assault requires new trial after jury determined, based on reports, that rape of inmate did not take place. Miller v. Field, 35 F.3d 1088 (6th Cir. 1994).
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