AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law
for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities


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Gang Activity

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Prisoner Classification and Gang Activity, 2013 (11) AELE Mo. L. J. 301.

     A California prisoner challenged a decision by state correctional authorities to "validate" him as an associate of the Mexican Mafia gang, which then led to his transfer to a Security Housing Unit (SHU) for an indeterminate time. An appeals court found that the warden did not establish a direct link between the prisoner's actions while participating in a prison disturbance and orders from another prisoner shown to be a Mexican Mafia associate. While the actions were consistent with those orders, without evidence that he did so to comply with orders from that specific person, the trial court properly ordered his gang validation expunged and his residency in the SHU terminated. In re Martinez, #A142502, 42 Cal. App. 4th 299, 2015 Cal. App. Lexis 1026.
      A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit challenging the practice of long-term solitary confinement in California prisons. The settlement basically ends indeterminate long-term solitary confinement in the Special Housing Unit in California state prisons, in which prisoners are often confined based on gang affiliation, and spells out detailed procedural requirements. Ashker v. Brown, #C-09-05796, U.S. Dist. Ct. (N.D. Cal. Aug. 31, 2015).
     The plaintiff was confined for many years to a security housing unit (SHU) for the purpose of protecting other prisoners from him and his gang underlings, as a result of his prior gang activities. He was ordered released from the SHU in 2006 when he claimed that he was no longer an active gang member. He was returned to the SHU subsequently on the basis of allegations of further gang activity. The trial court later issued orders in 2009 and 2011 claiming that his return to SHU violated its 2006 order, and again ordering him released. A federal appeals court found that the later two orders were an abuse of discretion, ignoring developments after 2006, and improperly impeded prison management.
Griffin v. Gomez, #09-16744, 741 F.3d 10 (9th Cir. 2014).
      An amendment to the California state penal code under which a prison inmate who chose to remain an active gang member during his incarceration was placed in administrative segregation and deemed ineligible to earn sentence reduction conduct credits did not violate his rights against ex post facto punishment since his choice to remain in the gang continued after the passage of the provision. The court also found that the determination that he remained a gang member was adequately supported by "some evidence." In re Efstathiou, #C067807, 2011 Cal. App. Lexis 1381 (Cal. App.).
    White inmate's rights not violated by prison's policy of permitting gang membership while limiting gang activity. David K. v. Lane, 839 F.2d 1265 (7th Cir. 1988).

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