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Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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Drugs and Drug Screening
Monthly Law Journal Article: Disciplining
Prisoners for Drug Use or Possession--Part 1,
2010 (10) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Disciplining Prisoners for Drug Use or Possession--Part 2, 2010 (11) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Disciplining Prisoners for Drug Use or Possession--Part 3, 2010 (12) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.
Upholding a judgment
for prison medical staff in a lawsuit the plaintiff brought concerning
their cutting off of his methadone treatment while incarcerated, a federal
appeals court held that it wss an error to instruct the jurors in a prison
medical care case to defer to the adoption and implementation of security-based
prison policies absent a plausible connection between the prison's narcotics
policy and the challenged decision to cut off the treatment. The error
was harmless, however, as the policy did not categorically prevent the
plaintiff from receiving methadone. Chess v. Dovey, #12-16516, 2015 U.S.
App. Lexis 10753 (9th Cir.).
An inmate at a county detention facility was found dead in his cell from a methadone overdose. A lawsuit by his estate claimed that his serious medical needs had been deliberately disregarded in violation of the Eighth Amendment. A federal appeals court affirmed a grant of summary judgment to the defendants, finding that there was no evidence that the defendants knew that the decedent was suffering serious side effects from methadone but deliberately ignored the problem. There was also no evidence that a supervisor had failed to train a detention deputy. Laganiere v. The County of Olmsted, #14-1088, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 22136 (8th Cir.).
A prisoner who was a practicing Muslim claimed that officials unconstitutionally burdened his religious exercise when they ordered him to produce a urine sample within a three hour time frame when he was fasting to observe Ramadan. The appeals court found that this gave him a choice of either providing the urine sample by drinking water, thus breaking his fast, or facing disciplinary sanctions, and that this substantially burdened his First Amendment exercise of religion. His claim for damages was allowed to proceed, but his claim for injunctive relief was moot because the relevant directive had been changed. Holland v. Goord, #13-2694, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 13142 (2nd Cir.).
After a prisoner was visited by his fiancée, his undergarments tested positive for cocaine and bottles were found in his cell that tested positive for methamphetamine. Prison authorities placed him on contraband watch for six days until he had three bowel movements. These bowel movements did not reveal drugs. Rejecting the argument that placing him on contraband watch had been cruel and unusual punishment, a federal appeals court ruled that the law at the time (April-May 2002) did not clearly establish that the types of measures prison officials took were unconstitutional, especially given the important purpose of discovering contraband. The defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. Chappell v. Mandeville, #09-16251, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 2192 (9th Cir.).
A prisoner was removed from a prison's substance abuse program after he took a towel from the prison property room. This failure to complete the program meant that he had to finish serving his 15-year sentence, rather than being eligible for earlier release on probation. The court ruled that this did not violate his rights, since he had no constitutionally protected liberty interest in sentence reduction. Persechini v. Callaway, #10-1867, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 16417 (8th Cir.).
A Massachusetts pre-trial detainee was addicted to heroin when first confined, and was forced to abstain from its use. Under the direction of medical personnel, he was given medication to ease the "agony of withdrawal." A federal appeals court held that no reasonable fact finder could find that a doctor had acted with deliberate indifference to the prisoner's serious medical needs, as the treatment protocol followed had been applied to thousands of prisoners undergoing drug withdrawal, and the prisoner's condition was carefully and frequently monitored. Ramos v. Patnaude, #09-2179, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 10356 (1st Cir.).
A Wisconsin inmate claimed that his due process rights were violated by compelling him to undergo unnecessary substance abuse treatment. After he was sentenced to 20 years for a burglary crime, a screening found him not to be in need of substance abuse treatment, but he was ordered to undergo it anyway, since he had not completed a mandatory substance-abuse program while serving a prior sentence for a drug offense. A federal appeals court ruled that the plaintiff failed to show that he faced consequences sufficient to deprive him of a constitutionally protected liberty interest. By refusing treatment, he did face significant consequences, including a diminished chance of discretionary parole, work release, better custody classification, and transfer to institutions that he apparently regarded as better facilities. "Such privileges, however, are not protected under the Constitution." Additionally, as for his argument that he "faced stigma" from being labeled substance-dependent, "that label alone is insufficient to affect a liberty interest." Knowlin v. Heise, #10-3288, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 8792 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
Requiring a pretrial detainee to produce a urine sample for drug testing under a "direct observation" procedure was reasonable and did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The government had a compelling interest in preventing him from submitting a false sample, and he had a reduced expectation of privacy while incarcerated. Norris v. Premier Integrity Solutions, Inc., #09-6252, 2011 U.S. App Lexis 6881 (6th Cir.).
A corrections officer was not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit over the death of a pretrial detainee from a drug overdose. Evidence that showed that the detainee was intoxicated and that the officer subsequently altered jail medical records concerning the detainee indicated that the officer may have acted with deliberate indifference to the detainee's risk of death. Border v. Trumbull County Bd. of Comm'rs, #10-3167, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 5649 (Unpub. 6th Cir.).
A guard found marijuana and barbiturates in a cell that the plaintiff prisoner shared with four other inmates, and he was found guilty of possession of contraband, losing 40 days of good time credit, based on a prison rule making all prisoners responsible for all contraband found in their cells. Rejecting a civil rights lawsuit by the prisoner, a federal appeals court ruled that "it has not been established to this day that collective responsibility among prisoners is unconstitutional." The fact that a trial judge in Colorado, after the prisoner was transferred there from Illinois, had a different view, restoring the prisoner's good time credits because another prisoner had confessed that the drugs were his, did not alter the result, as none of the defendants in the civil rights lawsuit were parties to the Colorado habeas proceeding. Shelby v. Whitehouse, #10-1419, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 23100 (Unpub. 7th Cir.).
A prisoner found guilty on disciplinary charges of failing to provide a urine sample for drug testing within a two hour deadline was given all the process he was due, since he received 24 hours notice of the charges against him, the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses, and was given a written decision stating the evidence relied on and the reasons for the decision. There was some evidence to support a finding of willfulness in the failure to provide a urine sample within the time deadline, and no documented medical condition in the prisoner's records that would justify an extension of that deadline. Void v. Warden, #08-2887, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 20176 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
A federal prisoner failed to show that he was improperly denied the right to participate in a residential drug abuse program which would have made him eligible for a discretionary one-year sentence reduction. While he was convicted of cocaine possession with intent to distribute, he was not diagnosed as having a substance abuse problem making him eligible for the treatment program, as a doctor conducting an evaluation found that he had only tried cocaine once and marijuana once. Mora-Meraz v. Thomas, #08-709, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 27771 (D. Ore.).
Federal appeals court rejects prisoner's claim that that his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights were violated by two nurses and a correctional officer who allegedly required him to be catheterized when he was unable to produce a urine sample for a random drug test or else face prison discipline. The prisoner failed to show that the officer was personally responsible in any way for any involuntary catheterization that occurred, or that the nurses acted with a "culpable" state of mind to support an Eighth Amendment violation. LeVine v. Roebuck, No. 07-3388, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 24685 (8th Cir.).
Imposing sanctions on a prisoner, including the loss of 151 days of good conduct time, for a charge of possession of a controlled substance was improper when there was no evidence that he possessed or even constructively possessed the heroin in question. There was evidence that he asked someone outside the prison to send him heroin, and that it was concealed on a postcard addressed to him, but the postcard was intercepted by a guard in the prison mailroom. Since the only charge brought against the prisoner was "possession," and he never possessed the drugs, the court vacated the finding of guilt by the disciplinary hearing, and restored the prisoner's good conduct credits. In re Rothwell, No. D051584, 2008 Cal. App. Lexis 943 (4th Dist.).
The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) did not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner in failing to give an inmate, previously incarcerated at a contract correctional facility, with credit for his participation in a drug treatment program there. He argued that this completion of that program should be viewed as the equivalent of completion of the first step of the BOP's three-step drug program. Further, the BOP had actually not yet decided whether the inmate was eligible to participate in its drug program, and its policy was that such determinations were made 36 months before a prisoner's release, a point in time that the plaintiff prisoner had not yet reached. Davis v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No. 07-201, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 13872 (D.D.C.).
Claim that the lack of a county correctional policy concerning drug overdoses caused a detainee's death in custody from a drug overdose was properly rejected. The evidence showed, in fact, that the facility's staff violated a written policy in responding to the detainee's medical complaints by failing to call for emergency medical care after he was found to have a heart rate above 100 as well as chest pain. Additionally, the detainee's estate failed to offer any evidence of how alleged inadequate medical training rendered staff members unable to adequately respond to the situation. Powers v. County of Lorain, Ohio, No. 06-4515, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 1129 (6th Cir.).
Relatives of prisoner who died from a drug overdose failed to provide any evidence to support their argument that the drugs had been administered to him by other inmates forcing him to take them, or that his death resulted from prison officials failure to provide adequate personnel to supervise inmates to avoid such incidents. The plaintiffs could proceed, however, on their claim that certain defendants acted with deliberate indifference by eliminating in-house emergency medical facilities despite the common occurrence of drug overdoses among the inmate population. Rivera-Quinones v. Rivera-Gonzalez, Civil No. 03-2326, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 81258 (D. Puerto Rico).
Federal appeals court overturns decision granting qualified immunity to parole officer who allegedly required parolee with methamphetamine addiction to participated in a religion-based drug treatment program over his objections. The appeals court found that the law on the issue was clearly established, and that a jury could conclude that the parole officer actually had notice that his actions were unconstitutional because of the parolee's letter objecting to compulsory placement in the program. Inouye v. Kemna, No. 06-15474, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 23106 (9th Cir.).
Warden was entitled to summary judgment on prisoner's claim that his rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by denying him visitation with persons whose mailings had generated positive alerts from a drug screening device. The prisoner had no constitutionally protected right to visitation from any particular person, and a total denial of all visitation for an extended time period was required before such a denial could be considered "cruel and unusual" under the Eighth Amendment. Steinbach v. Branson, Case No. 1:05-cv-101, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 75156 (N.D.).
Prisoner's refusal to submit a urine sample for the purposes of drug testing was not constitutionally protected conduct, and he could be properly disciplined for a violation of prison rules requiring him to do so. Prison was not required to have "probable cause" to conduct such testing, and could do so on a random basis. Guillen v. Finnan, No. 06-3970, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 21031 (7th Cir.).
Denial of prisoner's request that he participate in the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) residential drug abuse treatment program constituted an abuse of discretion because of the reliance on the prisoner's failure to show that he had a substance abuse problem within the immediately preceding twelve months. This "12 months preceding" requirement, the court found, was not found in the BOP's own program statement, the regulations governing the BOP, or in the statute, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3621e, requiring that the BOP provide residential substance abuse treatment for all eligible prisoners found to have a documented substance abuse problem. The court ordered that the BOP reconsider the prisoner's request, without using the "12 months preceding" criteria in making its decision. Smith v. Vazquez, No. CV 206-275, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 40704 (S.D.Ga.).
The fact that a prisoner's murder conviction was not related to use of drugs did not render invalid correctional officials' recommendation that he participate in a drug treatment program, in light of his past drug problems, despite his prior completion of another drug treatment program. The New York Department of Correctional Services had rational reasons to exercise its discretion in deciding that this was among his program needs. Gomez v. Goord, 2006 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 13260 (3rd Dept.). [N/R]
Substantial evidence adequately supported a determination that a prisoner violated prison rules against the use of controlled substances, including two positive drug test results, a misbehavior report, and other supporting documents. Mullen v. Superintendent of Southport Correctional Facility, 815 N.Y.S.2d 778 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
New York prisoner was properly found guilty of refusing a direct order and refusing to comply with urinalysis testing procedures. He claimed to be unable to provide a requested urine sample, and then disregarded a direct order to go to a shower room until he was ready to provide such a sample, despite being told that such disobedience could result in the same punishment as a positive drug test. Medina v. Selsky, 814 N.Y.S.2d 828 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Substantial evidence supported discipline of prisoner for refusing to comply with a urinalysis testing program. His claim that his medication and medical problems prevented him from providing a urine sample adequate for the test was refuted by testimony from a doctor familiar with his medication and medical history. Moreno v. Goord, 817 N.Y.S.2d 173 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Removal of New York prisoner from work release program for use of cocaine without providing him with notice and a hearing violated his due process rights. Conviction of drug use in separate disciplinary hearing did not automatically result in removal, and committee still had discretion to continue his participation. Individual defendants, however, were entitled to qualified immunity from liability, as they could have reasonably believed that the disciplinary conviction was sufficient and that no separate hearing on the removal was required. Anderson v. Goorde, No. 05-4096, 446 F.3d 324 (2nd Cir. 2006). [2006 JB Sep]
A parolee's right to confront witnesses against him in his parole revocation hearing was not violated by the admission into evidence of two urinalysis lab reports concerning possible drug use, when the reports were certified, which ensured that they were reliable. At the hearing, his parole was revoked and then restored upon the condition that he complete a mandatory drug treatment program. Nieblas v. New York State Bd. of Parole, 813 N.Y.S.2d 271 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Estate of jail inmate who died from untreated methadone withdrawal on the sixth day of a ten day sentence for a traffic offense presented sufficient evidence from which a jury could find that the county had a widespread custom or practice of failing to provide timely methadone treatment to prisoners. Davis v. Carter, No. 05-1695, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 16183 (7th Cir.). [2006 JB Aug]
Prisoner lacked standing to challenge the use of an ion scanner to conduct searches of visitors for drugs, and could not proceed with his lawsuit objecting to the prison's denial of his mother's entry to the facility to visit him when the ion scanner indicated that she tested positive for contact with cocaine. Grigger v. Goord, 811 N.Y.S.2d 161 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Substantial evidence supported a disciplinary determination that a prisoner had violated rules against drug use. Court rejects argument that positive urinalysis drug test results were caused by "residual traces" of earlier drug use for which he had already been disciplined, especially since the prisoner himself admitted that he had used marijuana at some time after the prior urine sample was collected. Callender v. Goord, 809 N.Y.S.2d 218 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2005). [N/R]
Prison rules prohibiting inmates from calling drug testing lab technicians as witnesses at disciplinary hearings were not a violation of procedural due process. Federal appeals court upholds constitutionality of Nebraska prison's urine sample collection and testing procedures. Louis v. Dep't of Corr. Servs. of Nebraska, No. 05-1211, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 2648 (8th Cir.). [2006 JB Apr]
Prisoner was not denied adequate legal assistance at prison disciplinary hearing which found him guilty of rule violations arising out of a urine sample that tested positive for opiates. The prisoner was allowed the assistance of a prison teacher at the hearing, and prisoner made an explicit statement at the hearing that he was satisfied with this assistance. The determination of the hearing was adequately supported by some evidence of the prisoner's guilt. Alicea v. Howell, No. 03-CV-65071, 387 F. Supp. 2d 227 (W.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
Jail staff members did not act with deliberate indifference to the medical needs of a pretrial detainee who died while suffering from acute drug withdrawal with excessive vomiting. Detainee was provided with immediate medical attention when his symptoms occurred. Sylvester v. City of Newark, No. 03-4872, 120 Fed. Appx. 419 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Determination that prisoner was guilty of using a controlled substance was supported by substantial evidence, including a misbehavior report, the testimony of the correctional officer who prepared it, and positive urinalysis test results. Wigfall v. Goord, 798 N.Y.S.2d 582 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner who left a urinalysis testing area was properly found guilty of violating drug testing procedures and disobeying a direct order. The fact that a regulation allowed a prisoner who could not immediately provide a urine sample in response to an order to do so within three hours did not alter the result, since the discipline was not imposed on the basis of his inability to immediately produce a sample, but rather on his decision, after being told of the consequences, of leaving the area before the three hour time period was expired. Brown v. Goord, 795 N.Y.S.2d 407 (A.D. 3rd Dept. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner was not prevented, at disciplinary proceeding concerning alleged drug use, from presenting evidence that the medication he was taking at the time caused a false positive urinalysis test result for THC metabolite. His disciplinary loss of good time credits therefore did not violate his right to due process. Perez v. McKean, No. 05-1034, 136 Fed. Appx. 542 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Determination that prisoner was guilty of failing to obey a direct order and refusing to comply with instructions concerning urinalysis drug testing procedures was supported by substantial evidence, including the testimony of the correctional officers who reported the incident. Ruggiero v. Goord, 796 N.Y.S.2d 752 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2005). [N/R]
Prisoner was entitled to a judicial review of a disciplinary report concerning his alleged drug use after asserting that his urine sample was switched with that provided by his cell mate for purpose of the drug test, and providing affidavits concerning the alleged violation of the specimen collection and drug testing procedures. Henderson v. Crosby, No.2D04-1761, 891 So. 2nd 1180 (Fla. App. 2nd Dist. 2005). [N/R]
New York correctional officials who denied prisoner medication for his Hepatitis C unanimously recommended by his treating physicians because of policy denying such treatment to prisoners who showed signs of substance abuse in the past two years could reasonably be found by a jury to have acted with deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Johnson v. Wright, No. 04-3234, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 12428 (2nd Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Aug]
Federal Bureau of Prisons acted illegally in adopting an interim regulation providing that prisoners convicted of crimes involving firearms were ineligible for an early release incentive program following completion of a substance abuse program. Prisoners denied early release under that regulation were entitled to habeas corpus relief when the regulation became effective prior to its publication and the Bureau did not solicit or consider public comments prior to its effective date. Paulsen v. Daniels, No. 03-35337 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 12696 (9th Cir.). [2005 JB Aug]
A disciplinary determination that a prisoner violated rules against the use of controlled substances was supported by substantial evidence including a misbehavior report and a positive urinalysis test. The record showed that the chain of custody of the urine sample was maintained properly. Odome v. Goord, 779 N.Y.S.2d 603 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
Federal Bureau of Prisons did not violate a prisoner's due process rights when it refused to transfer him to another facility where he could participate in a residential drug abuse treatment program based on his classification as a security risk. The classification was based on his "undisputed" record of misconduct while incarcerated and his own voluntary action in providing information to prison officials about gang activity, resulting in a need to protect him from possible assault by placement in a special housing unit. Beckley v. Miner, No. 04-4081, 125 Fed. Appx. 385 (3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Disciplinary conviction of prisoner for the unauthorized use of controlled substances was sufficiently supported by correctional officer's testimony that he collected prisoner's urine sample and kept the sample secured and in his possession, preserving the chain of custody prior to testing. Saif'Ul'Bait v. Goord, 788 N.Y.S.2d 712 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2005). [N/R]
A policy of random drug testing, when applied to an employee of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice who worked in "long-range" planning, was unconstitutional since there was no special need for sobriety on his part, such as protection of juveniles or public safety. Wenzel v. Bankhead, No. 4:03 CV 403, 351 F. Supp. 2d 1316 (N.D. Fla. 2004). [N/R]
Federal Bureau of Prisons did not violate prisoner's rights by determining that he was ineligible to enter a residential drug abuse treatment program because he had only used, but had not abused, alcohol in the twelve months prior to his incarceration. Laws v. Barron, No. CIV.A. 6:04-133, 348 F. Supp. 2d 795 (E.D.Ky. 2004). [N/R]
Mere testimony by correctional officer in a prison disciplinary proceeding that a plastic bag with a green leafy substance found during another officer's pat down search of the prisoner contained marijuana was insufficient to support a determination of guilt. While scientific testing of the substance was not required to meet the "some evidence" standard applicable in a prison disciplinary proceeding, the officer's "mere conclusion" that the substance was drugs was inadequate, and there was no evidence about the qualifications of either officer to identify marijuana. Bryant v. State, 884 So.2d 929 (Ala. Crim. App. 2003). [N/R]
Federal appeals court reinstates lawsuit in which prisoner claimed jail personnel were deliberately indifferent to his suffering the effects of his withdrawal from methadone. Foelker v. Outagamie County, No. 04-1430, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 255 (7th Cir. 2005). [2005 JB Feb]
California prisoner's disciplinary punishment for possession of drugs was adequately supported by "some evidence" based solely on positive urinalysis test, even if it would have been insufficient under state law to support a criminal conviction. Loss of 120 days of good time credits, however, was excessive under state statute. In re Dikes, No. A104121 121 Cal. App. 4th 825;18 Cal. Rptr. 3d 9 (Cal. 1st App. Dist. 2004). [2004 JB Dec]
Failure of a misbehavior report to use the term "cannabinoids" in describing the positive results of an accused prisoner's second urine drug screening test was insufficient as a basis to overturn a guilty determination in a prison disciplinary proceeding. The report was adequate in stating that the first drug test indicated the use of cannabinoids, and that the second test "also proved positive." Sabater v. Selsky, 772 N.Y.S.2d 733 (A.D. 3d Dept. Feb. 26, 2004). [N/R]
Discipline imposed on prisoner for alleged drug dealing in facility was properly set aside when corrections officer who wrote report based on confidential informants' testimony was not called as a witness at the hearing, as the statements provided by the confidential informants lacked "any degree of reliability or trustworthiness." Further, a mandatory rule of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections provided that "The accusing employee must be summoned when the report is based solely on information from Confidential Informants." (emphasis in original rule). Singleton v. State of Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections, No. 2003 CA 1294 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2004). [N/R]
A urinalysis test which was positive for the controlled substance TCH (Cannabinoids) was "some evidence" sufficient to uphold a disciplinary hearing's finding that a prisoner possessed contraband in violation of prison rules. In Re Dikes, #A104123, 18 Cal. Rptr. 3d 9 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2004). [N/R]
New York prisoner was not improperly denied the right to call witnesses at the disciplinary hearing finding him guilty of violating prison rules against the use of controlled substances based on the hearing officer's refusal to allow him to call every other prisoner who provided a urine sample on the same date. Finding of guilt was based on substantial evidence and prisoner failed to explain what all these witnesses would add, other than arguments based on "pure speculation." Graziano v. Selsky, 779 N.Y.S.2d 848 (A.D. 3d Dist. 2004). [2004 JB Oct]
Disciplinary finding against prisoner for violating rules against marijuana use was supported by sufficient evidence, including drug test results which were admissible despite certain problems concerning the chain of custody of a urine sample, where the sample was clearly identified and had an intact seal when it arrived in a reasonable period of time at the testing lab. Lucas v. Voirol, No. 2003-CA-001811-MR, 136 S.W.3d 477 (Ky. App. 2004). [N/R]
Disciplinary determination that prisoner violated rules against possession of drugs was adequately supported by substantial evidence, including positive drug test results and misbehavior report. The chain of custody of the sample was shown, along with evidence that the testing procedures followed were proper. Otero v. Selsky, 779 N.Y.S.2d 648 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
New York inmate was properly found guilty of violating prison rules against unauthorized use of drugs, based on substantial evidence, including positive urinalysis test and supporting documentation. Prisoner was also properly found guilty of sexual misconduct based on testimony of correctional officer who witnessed the inmate's wife in the prison visiting room with her hand down inside the inmate's pants. Sanchez v. Selsky, 778 N.Y.S.2d 561 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
Prisoner properly denied further visitation of inmate's fiancee to prison based on evidence that he sent money to her in exchange for heroin she allegedly conspired to bring into the facility. Correctional officials had reasonable grounds to believe that continued visits would have caused a serious threat to prison security. Substantial evidence also supported determination that prisoner was guilty of violating disciplinary rules against possession of money, promoting prison contraband, and smuggling. Encarnacion v. Goord, 778 N.Y.S.2d 562 (A.D. 3d Dept. 2004). [N/R]
Strip search following which prisoner was required to stand naked in a bathroom stall for twenty minutes until he could produce a urine sample for random drug testing was not cruel and unusual punishment. Search was for the legitimate purpose of preventing the contamination of the urine samples, and correctional officer conducting the search did not act in any improper manner. Whitman v. Nesic, #03-2728, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 9631 (7th Cir.). [2004 JB Jul]
State statute criminalizing the use of marijuana in a detention facility was reasonably related to legitimate governmental purposes, and provision excluding defendants charged with this offense from eligibility from being ordered into treatment programs available for those charged with use of other drugs did not violate defendants' equal protection rights. Legislature could rationally conclude that such treatment options should be made available to those charged with possession of controlled substances who suffered from addiction, but not available to those charged with marijuana use in detention facilities. People v. Goodale, No. 02SA345, 78 P.3d 1103 (Colo. 2003). [N/R]
Evidence of positive drug test, positive retest, and positive independent retest which prisoner requested were sufficiently reliable to support his disciplinary conviction for drug use. Direct testimony by director of laboratory which did testing was not necessary when documentation was presented at hearing concerning the reliability of the testing procedure and the chain of custody of the sample tested. Claypool v. Nebraska DCS, No. A-02-812, 667 N.W.2d 267 (Neb. App. 2003). [N/R]
Failure of correctional officials to provide a prisoner with the actual lab reports resulting from his random drug test at his disciplinary hearing did not violate his due process rights. Vermont Supreme Court upholds "zero tolerance" policy against use of illegal drugs. Correctional officials need not set a "threshold level" for indications of drug use found in inmate's urine to convict him of rule violation. King v. Gorczyk, No. 02-180, 825 A.2d 16 (Vt. 2003). [2003 JB Sep]
Substantial evidence supported a disciplinary determination that a prisoner had violated rules against possession of controlled substances when a correctional officer testified that a bag, containing heroin and attached to a drag line, was seen hanging outside the prisoner's cell, the chain of custody of the prisoner's urine sample was adequate, and the proper drug testing procedures were followed. Davis v. Selsky, 759 N.Y.S.2d (A.D. 3d Dept. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner was properly disciplined for violating rule against the use of controlled substances. Correctional officer who tested the prisoner's urine sample was certified and qualified to do so. Perez v. Goord, 757 N.Y.S.2d 382 (A.D. 2003). [N/R]
Prisoner's removal from supervised release program for activities advocating the legalization of marijuana enjoined by federal trial court. Court finds that activities, including speaking to the press, passing out literature outside a courthouse, running a website, and running television commercials were all lawful actions protected by the First Amendment. Forchion v. Intensive Supervised Parole, 240 F. Supp. 2d 302 (D.N.J. 2003). [2003 JB Jun]
Disciplinary process that found inmate guilty of possessing anti-depressant drugs not prescribed for him by the medical staff did not violate his due process rights. Prisoner was provided written notice of the charges, and he waived the opportunities to present witnesses or to be represented during the hearing. Allen v. Reese, #02-2337, 52 Fed. Appx. 7 (8th Cir. 2002). [2003 JB May]
Revocation of Rastafarian prisoner's supervised release after he failed drug urinalysis tests and admitted smoking marijuana was not violative of his right to freely exercise his religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000bb, since the government had a compelling governmental interest in preventing drug abuse. Additionally, demanding that a convicted felon on parole abstain from marijuana use is a legitimately restrictive means for safeguarding this interest. Accordingly, even under the most restrictive test, the prisoner had no claim for violation of his rights. United States of America v. Israel, No. 02-1864, 317 F.3d 768 (7th Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Any questions regarding the chain of custody of the prisoner's urine samples, which was the basis for the finding that he violated prison disciplinary rules prohibiting the use of controlled substances twice, were sufficiently explained in the course of the testimony presented at the disciplinary hearing. The prisoner's claim that the hearing officer was biased was similarly without merit. Montalbo v. Selsky, 752 N.Y.S.2d 920 (A.D. 2003). [N/R]
Disciplinary decision that prisoner violated rules prohibiting the unauthorized use of a controlled substance was supported by "substantial evidence," including two positive urine tests for the presence of opiates and evidence that the tests and the storage and handling of the samples was properly carried out. Herring v. Goord, 750 N.Y.S.2d 373 (A.D. 2002). [N/R]
Even if, as male correctional officer claimed, female drug testing monitor stood a foot behind him as he provided a urine sample, the manner of collection of the sample was not so intrusive as to be an unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiff officer, who was terminated as a result of the test results, also failed to show that he had not been selected randomly for the test but instead had been unfairly "singled out" for testing. Booker v. City of St. Louis, #02-1114, 309 F.3d 464 (8th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
Pretrial detainee's heroin withdrawal represented a "serious medical need" for purposes of an Eighth Amendment claim and lawsuit by detainee's widow against county presented a genuine issue as to whether the county had a policy of refusing to provide appropriate medications to prisoners undergoing narcotics withdrawal. Gonzalez v. Cecil County, Maryland, 221 F. Supp. 2d 611 (D. Md. 2002).[N/R]
Prisoners could not pursue their claim that convicting them of drug use in a disciplinary proceeding without a confirmatory drug test violated their right to due process when they had not previously had their disciplinary conviction set aside. Virginia state constitutional claim was barred by the statute of limitations, and states and their agencies and officials cannot be sued under the federal False Claims Act for allegedly obtaining federal funds for drug testing by falsely certifying that standards for testing were being followed. Alexander v. Gilmore, 202 F. Supp. 2d 478 (E.D. Va. 2002). [2002 JB Sep]
Prison warden did not violate inmates due process rights by initially refusing to grant his appeal from a hearing officer's determination that he had violated prison rules forbidding the use of controlled substances, even though the prisoner's positive urine test for opiates was due to his use of prescription medicine. The prisoner's placement in segregation did not interfere with a protected liberty interest. Nichols v. Maryland Correctional Institution--Jessup, 186 F. Supp. 2d 575 (D. Md. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
California prisoners could pursue claim against state parole authority that it violated federal disability discrimination law to have an "unwritten policy" of automatically denying parole to prisoners with a history of drug abuse problems. Thompson v. Davis, #01-15091, 282 F.3d 780 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 JB Jun]
299:172 Prisoner who lost good-time credits when he tested positive for drug use could not pursue claim that officer asked him to take the test in retaliation for filing a grievance against her unless the disciplinary determination was first set aside; prisoner could, however, pursue claims of retaliation concerning the filing of allegedly false disciplinary complaints against him or his transfer in alleged retaliation for questioning an officer's authority to deny him legal assistance. Farver v. Schwartz, No. 00-3729EA, 255 F.3d 473 (8th Cir. 2001).
297:135 Prisoner was required to exhaust administrative remedies before proceeding with lawsuit challenging prison drug testing policies, which constituted a claim about "prison conditions," but he was not required to do so on claims that prison officials took retaliatory disciplinary actions against him individually. Giano v. Goord, #98-2619, 250 F.3d 146 (2nd Cir. 2001).
Federal court dismisses an inmate lawsuit claiming that sheriff's personnel conducted an unlawful search by inserting a catheter into his penis, without his consent, to obtain a urine sample for medical purposes. The procedure was performed at the direction of the jail doctor. Saulsberry v. Maricopa County, #98-2035, 151 F.Supp.2d 1109, 2001 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15242 (D. Ariz 2001). [N/R]
287:165 Prisoner's alleged "stage fright," making it difficult for him to produce a urine sample for drug testing while being observed, was not a disability for purposes of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA); court also finds that discipline of prisoner for various misconduct charges was not retaliatory. Oyague v. State of New York, #98 Civ. 6721 (TPG), 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12426 (S.D.N.Y.).
253:13 Strip search and urinalysis drug testing of over a hundred inmates selected out by prison officials based on their prior involvement with drugs or being cellmates with a prisoner who was selected did not violate any clearly established constitutional right; prison officials entitled to qualified immunity. Thompson v. Souza, 111 F.3d 694 (9th Cir. 1997).
260:118 Alabama correctional officer terminated after his urine tested positive for marijuana use entitled to further proceedings when administrative hearing officer refused to consider his defense that he may have "unintentionally ingested" particles of the drug. Wood v. State Personnel Bd., 705 So.2d 413 (Ala. Civ. App. 1997).
257:69 Bureau of Prisons exercised reasonable discretion in adopting regulation categorically barring prisoners with a prior conviction from one-year sentence reduction after completion of a required drug program, despite fact that prisoners were currently confined for nonviolent offenses. Jacks v. Crabtree, 114 F.3d 983 (9th Cir. 1997).
241:4 Direct observation of female correctional officer's urination during required drug test violated her right to privacy under California state constitution; federal trial court rules that no "clearly established" federal right was violated by such observation, but gives its opinion that such observation is unreasonable in the absence of individualized suspicion that test subject will tamper with the urine sample. Hansen v. California Dept. of Corrections, 920 F.Supp. 1480 (N.D. Cal. 1996).
241:5 George county sheriff had authority to promulgate random drug testing policy to prevent deputies from violating prohibition on being under the influence of liquor or drugs while on duty; deputy was properly terminated for testing positive for cocaine use. Mayo v. Fulton Co., 470 S.E.2d 258 (Ga. App. 1996).
242:19 "Ionscan" test vacuuming correctional employee's arms and hands for possible drug particles at facility entrance was a reasonable search, Florida appeals court holds, and reasonable suspicion was not required, under state law, to administer test; positive results for cocaine on test and dog's alert in employee's apartment on prison grounds provided reasonable suspicion to require urinalysis drug test, and positive result on that supported employee's termination. Mitchell v. Dept. of Corrections, 675 So.2d 162 (Fla. App. 1996).
244:51 Prisoner's lawsuit seeking damages for drug testing procedures at prison was barred unless he could show that his institutional conviction for drug use had been invalidated. Amin v. Pruett, 930 F.Supp. 1121 (E.D. Va. 1996).
244:51 Order to submit to urinalysis drug testing was justified by correctional officer's involvement in three separate incidents showing "irrational, violent, and threatening behavior"; termination was justified for such behavior and refusal to submit to drug testing. Keys v. Schembri, 639 N.Y.S.2d 23 (A.D. 1996).
245:68 Unilateral imposition of drug testing requirement for jail nurses returning to work after medical leaves was an unfair labor practice under Illinois law; county had to bargain with nurses' union on subject of drug testing. Cook, Co. of, v. Licensed Practical Nurses Assoc., 284 Ill. App. 3d 145, 671 N.E.2d 787 (1996).
229:6 Requiring prisoner to submit to drug testing did not violate his Fourth Amendment right when he was randomly selected for testing. Lucero v. Gunter, 52 F.3d 874 (10th Cir. 1995).
235:100 Prison employees were entitled to qualified immunity for inserting catheter into urinary tract of prisoner who said he was unable to produce urine sample after suspected of drug use. Sparks v. Stutler, 71 F.3d 259 (7th Cir. 1995). [Cross- reference: Medical Care].
237:134 Drug testing program which targeted "high risk" prisoners with a history of drug abuse or who were suspected of drug use did not violate prisoner's Fourth Amendment rights despite its lack of randomness. McDiffett v. Stotts, 902 F.Supp. 1419 (D. Kan. 1995).
231:36 Trial court orders that prisoner in jail for drug possession, who had prescription from doctor in Holland for medical use of marijuana, should be allowed to smoke marijuana in jail for relief of pain of childhood cancer bouts, provided local doctor would certify that it was medically necessary. People v. McCormick, Williams Co. Court of Common Pleas, Ohio, reported in The New York Times, National Edition, p. 16 (Sept. 17, 1995).
218:20 Detection of odor of marijuana in bathroom which four correctional officers had access to provided adequate individualized reasonable suspicion to order urinalysis drug testing of all four; dismissal of officer who tested positive for marijuana and cocaine use upheld. Drake v. Co. of Essex, 275 N.J. Super. 585, 646 A.2d 1126 (N.J. Super. A.D. 1994).
219:37 Prison's random drug testing program did not violate prisoner's rights. Scaife v. Wilson, 861 F.Supp. 1027 (D. Kan. 1994).
222:85 N.Y. prisoner could not be disciplined for violating rule requiring that he submit to urinalysis drug testing when he was not informed, as state law provided, of the penalties which could accompany refusal. Roman v. Coughlin, 609 N.Y.S.2d 732 (A.D. 1994).
222:85 Correctional department employee should not have been subjected to visual observation of her providing of a urine sample for drug testing purposes when there was no reason to fear that she would attempt to tamper with the sample. Hansen v. California Dept. of Correction, 868 F.Supp. 271 (N.D. Cal. 1994).
[N/R] Hearing officer's consultation with more experienced hearing officer regarding issue concerning drug testing did not violate inmate's due process rights. Grillo v. Coughlin, 31 F.3d 53 (2nd Cir. 1994).
Prisoner who was disciplined following single unconfirmed positive drug test was not entitled to damages; official capacity damage claims against state officials were barred by the Eleventh Amendment and officials were entitled to qualified immunity in their individual capacities since right to a second drug test was not "clearly established." Ransom v. Davies, 816 F.Supp. 681 (D. Kan. 1993).
Failure to show chain of custody of urine sample which tested positive for drug use entitled prisoner to a new disciplinary hearing. Martin v. State, 616 So.2d 384 (Ala. Cr. App. 1993).
Discipline of New York inmate for testing positive for drug use overturned when record failed to show any testimony regarding the testing procedures used. Davis v. McClellan, 608 N.Y.S.2d 741 (A.D. 1994).
Federal appeals court upholds random testing of prisoners as non-violative of the Fourth Amendment, but reinstate's prisoner's lawsuit over requested drug test since trial court record did not show whether drug test was sought as part of a random testing program; court rejects prisoner's Fifth and Sixth Amendment claims. Lucero v. Gunter, 17 F.3d 1347 (10th Cir. 1994).
Positive drug test, confirmed by a second positive test, was substantial evidence that prisoner violated rule against using controlled substances; hearing officer properly denied prisoner's request for yet another drug test, since it could no exonerate past drug use. Harrison v. Selsky, 604 N.Y.S.2d 615 (A.D. 1993).
Testimony by bartender at bachelor party that he "spiked" certain bottles of liquor with cocaine did not prove that correctional officer's positive drug test for cocaine use was the result of unknowing ingestion; officer's dismissal upheld. Green v. Sielaff, 603 N.Y.S.2d 156 (A.D. 1993).
Discipline of N.Y. prisoner for twice testing positive for cocaine on drug test had to be annulled when no effort was made to comply with state regulation requiring that second, confirming, test be conducted by a "different trained individual" if available. Simpkins v. Riley, 598 N.Y.S.2d 352 (A.D. 1993).
Prisoner who tested positive for opiates and cocaine could not challenge discipline based on theory that consumption of poppy seeds resulted in a false positive for opiates, since the positive drug test for cocaine, standing alone, was sufficient to support the discipline imposed. Smith v. Coughlin, 594 N.Y.S.2d 95 (A.D. 1993).
Prisoner's rights were not violated by disciplining him for refusal to take urine drug test; work in barber shop in building where outsiders came created possibility of prisoners obtaining contraband from visitors or other outsiders. Forbes v. Trigg, 976 F.2d 308 (7th Cir. 1992).
Prison officials entitled to qualified immunity from federal civil rights lawsuit over drug testing on prisoner conducted in 1988; drug testing of prisoner was not "cruel and unusual punishment," especially since its aim was establishing a "safer prison environment." Rodriguez v. Coughlin, 795 F.Supp. 609 (W.D. N.Y. 1992).
Prison inmate who tested positive for marijuana on immunoassay drug test was not entitled to a gas liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer drug test performed at his expense by an independent laboratory. Koenig v. Vannelli, 971 F.2d 422 (9th Cir. 1992).
Substitution of one correctional officer's name for another on form requesting urine test on prisoner did not undermine prisoner discipline based on positive test results. Mellette v. Berry, 581 N.Y.S.2d 463 (A.D. 1992).
Inmate should not be punished for positive results on urinalysis drug test when chain of custody of urine sample was not established once the sample reached the testing laboratory. Byerly v. Ashley, 825 S.W.2d 286 (Ky. App. 1991).
Iowa prisoners could be found guilty of drug possession for violation of a rule requiring them to provide a urine sample within two hours of a request. LuGrain v. State, 479 N.W.2d 312 (Iowa 1991).
Prison regulation on drug testing of inmates was not unconstitutional because it failed to require that information received concerning inmate drug use be reliable before resulting in urinalysis. Grochulski v. Kuhlmann, 575 N.Y.S.2d 722 (A.D. 1991).
Removing inmate from work program after single unconfirmed positive EMIT urine test violated due process. Ferguson v. Dept. of Corrections, 816 P.2d 134 (Alaska, 1991).
Prisoner failed to establish a flaw in the chain of custody of his urine sample; "speculation" about mixup in samples was insufficient to overturn discipline for failing drug test. Curry v. Coughlin, 573 N.Y.S.2d 774 (A.D. 1991).
New York inmate whose urine was positive for cocaine in two drug tests conducted on his sample could not challenge the basis upon which he was ordered to take the tests. Shaffer v. Hoke, 571 N.Y.S.2d 117 (A.D. 1991).
Corrections department failed to give officer proper notice of urinalysis drug test; officer's termination for failure to submit to written order to submit to drug test overturned. Singletary v. Maryland State Dept. of Public Safety & Correctional Services, 87 Md. App. 405, 589 A.2d 1311 (1991).
Positive results of two EMIT drug tests were "substantial evidence" to support determination that inmate used cocaine. Rodriguez v. Scully, 568 N.Y.S.2d 211 (A.D. 1991).
Discipline of prisoner based on single, unconfirmed positive drug test overturned based on inadequate procedures for guaranteeing chain of custody of urine samples. Bourgeois v. Murphy, 809 P.2d 472 (Idaho 1991).
Termination of correctional officer who refused lawful order to submit to reasonable suspicion drug testing was not excessive. Braxton v. Koehler, 564 n.Y.S. 2d 425 (A.D. 1991).
Alabama court finds EMIT drug tests sufficiently reliable for use in prison disciplinary hearings; failure to introduce copy of drug test result before hearing officer did not violate due process. Driver v. State, 576 So.2d 675 (Ala. Cr. App. 1991).
Correctional officer's past positive drug test, together with erratic behavior, provided reasonable suspicion sufficient to require drug test; discharge of officer who again tested positive was not an excessive penalty. Gibson v. Koehler, 564 N.Y.S.2d 265 (A.D. 1990).
Dismissal of corrections officer who tested positive for cocaine use on urinalysis test was not an excessive penalty. Torres v. Koehler, 562 N.Y.S.2d 696 (A.D. 1990).
Prisoner was properly found guilty of using illegal drugs despite incorrect recording of one digit of his inmate number on several documents related to urinalysis test. Maldonado v. Selsky, 557 N.Y.S.2d 746 (A.D. 1990).
Storing inmate's urine sample in refrigerator for two days prior to testing did not invalidate drug test; results of "control" tests need not be produced. Sweet v. Coughlin, 558 N.Y.S.2d 198 (A.D. 1990).
Prison officials were entitled to qualified immunity in lawsuit by prison guard over urinalysis drug testing conducted in 1986; law that such testing was a search under the Fourth Amendment was not "clearly established" at that time. Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives Assn., 109 S.Ct. 1402 (1989).
Probationary correction officer could be terminated for positive result on random urinalysis conducted without reasonable suspicion. McKenzie v. Jackson, 75 N.Y. 2d 995, 557 N.Y.S.2d 265 (1990).
Neither probable cause nor reasonable suspicion is required for urinalysis drug testing of prison inmates. Ramey v. Hawk, 730 F.Supp. 1366 (E.D.N.C. 1989). Mere absenteeism was insufficient to supply reasonable suspicion that correctional officer was using illicit drugs. Wilder v. Koehler, 556 N.Y.S.2d 28 (A.D. 1990).
N.Y. Court upholds surprise random drug tests for probationary correctional officers after over 2% tested positive on prior tests even with advance notice. Seelig v. Koehler, 554 N.Y.S.2d 201 (A.D. 1990).
Georgia Supreme Court upholds reversal of termination of prison employee who tested positive for drug use during random test; Warden did not have authority to adopt drug testing policy. Dept. of Corrections v. Colbert, 391 S.E.2d 759 (Ga. 1990).
New York high court upholds random drug testing of correctional officers by 4-3. Seelig v. Koehler, 47 CrL 1141 (N.Y. 1990).
Random urinalysis testing of probationary correction officers upheld as a condition of employment. McKenzie v. Jackson, 547 N.Y.S.2d 120 (A.D. 1989).
Divided appellate court upholds random drug testing of correctional officers in New York City; compelling need outweighs privacy considerations. Seelig v. Koehler, 4 IER Cases (BNA) 1538 (N.Y. App., October 12, 1989).
Annual drug test for jail employees who come into contact with prisoners upheld; tests for all jail workers rejected. Taylor v. O'Grady, No. 88-1783 (7th cir. Nov. 1, 1989), 27 Govt. Empl. Rel. Rptr. (BNA) 1514 (Nov. 20, 1989).
Federal court reaffirms injunction against mandatory random testing of all employees of federal bureau of prisons. American Federation of Govt. Em. Council 33 v. Thornburgh, 720 F.Supp. 154 (N.D. Calif. 1989).
Prisoner could be disciplined for drug use on the basis of drug test even with incomplete chain of custody on urine sample. Thompson v. Owens, 889 F.2d 500 (3rd 1989).
EMIT drug test sufficiently reliable for imposition of disciplinary sanctions, according to federal appeals court. Higgs v. Bland, 888 F.2d 443 (6th Cir. 1989).
Prison could deny inmate the right to take an additional drug test at his own expense. Pela v. Adams, 723 F.Supp. 1394 (D. Nev. 1989).
Inmate awarded $3,243.50 for losses resulting from failure to establish chain of custody of urine sample used in drug test. Soto v. Lord, 693 F.Supp. 8 (S.D.N.Y. 1988).
Prison must show valid reason for denying inmate an opportunity to have his urine tested by more effective test at his own expense. Pella v. Adams, 702 F.Supp. 244 (Nev. 1988).
Inmate could be convicted of "possession of contraband by prisoner" for having marijuana, even if away from prison grounds. Brooks v. Florida, 529 So.2d 313 (Fla. App. 1988).
State statute criminalizing inmate possession of contraband held constitutional. Cleland v. State, 759 P.2d 553 (Alaska App. 1988).
EMIT test results sufficient to sustain prison disciplinary charges; request for production of urine specimen bottle and EMIT test log properly denied. Berrios v. Kuhlmann, 532 N.Y.S.2d 593 (A.D. 1988).
Federal court abstains on mandatory drug testing of prison employees; state law labor proceedings to go forward. AFSCME, AFL-CIO v. Tristano, 695 F.Supp. 410 (N.D. Ill. 1988).
EMIT drug test sufficiently reliable to support use as evidence in prison disciplinary hearing. Adkins v. Martin, 699 F.Supp. 1510 (W.D. Okl. 1988).
262:151 Provision of PLRA barring prisoners from seeking damages for mental or emotional injury without a showing of physical injury did not apply to lawsuit paroled prisoner brought against prison officials after he was released, federal appeals court holds; court rejects his argument, however, that participation in substance abuse program constituted "brainwashing" that was cruel and unusual punishment. Kerr v. Puckett, 138 F.3d 321 (7th Cir. 1998).
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