Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JEFFRIES v. REED

March 27, 1986

PATRICK JAMES JEFFRIES, Plaintiff,
v.
AMOS REED, et al., Defendants


Robert J. McNichols


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCNICHOLS

Transfer to Intensive Management Unit

 Plaintiff initially claims that defendants violated his rights by transferring him to IMU solely because he is subject to the death penalty. Death Row inmates are the only prisoners incarcerated in IMU for reasons other than institutional misconduct. Plaintiff has been placed there because, in light of his sentence, he inherently imposes a security risk. Plaintiff contends that he has a protected liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment and under state law in not being transferred without some type of hearing.

 Plaintiff also correctly notes that the Supreme Court in Helms found that the state may create a protected liberty interest through statutory or regulatory measures. See id. Unlike the inmates in Helms, however, Mr. Jeffries has failed to demonstrate that Washington has enacted any laws which provide such a protected interest. In fact, state law requires that all Death Row inmates be confined in a segregation unit. R.C.W. 10.95.170. Accordingly, this court finds that Washington law does not create a protected liberty interest regarding the location of plaintiff's confinement. In light of the above conclusions, defendants are entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of Fourteenth Amendment violations arising out of his transfer to IMU.

 Access to the Courts

 Plaintiff alleges that defendants have unconstitutionally deprived him of his right of access to the courts by failing to provide him with adequate access to legal research materials, and to supplies such as paper and pens. The existence of prisoners' rights to meaningful access to the courts is well established. See Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 52 L. Ed. 2d 72, 97 S. Ct. 1491 (1977); Ross v. Moffitt, 417 U.S. 600, 41 L. Ed. 2d 341, 94 S. Ct. 2437 (1974). "It is fundamental that access of prisoners to the courts for the purpose of presenting their complaints may not be denied or obstructed." Johnson v. Avery, 393 U.S. 483, 485, 21 L. Ed. 2d 718, 89 S. Ct. 747 (1969). Courts must focus upon whether an inmate's ability to prepare a petition or complaint is being protected. Bounds, supra, at 828. See also Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 576, 41 L. Ed. 2d 935, 94 S. Ct. 2963 (1974).

 Under this right of access, the state must provide sufficient paper and writing materials to allow inmates to draft legal documents. Bounds, supra, at 824-25. The court finds plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that any alleged shortages of materials have interfered with his right of access. Plaintiff's voluminous pleadings attest to the adequacy of the supply of paper and ink. Moreover, the court finds that defendants' actions in cutting down the barrels of the pens is justified in light of their security concerns.

 In regard to plaintiff's access to legal reference materials, the court again finds that plaintiff has failed to establish a factual basis for his claim of a constitutional violation. Although security concerns may preclude defendants from allowing Mr. Jeffries to actually visit the law library, they must provide him with some alternative means of attaining the desired books. The request system through which an IMU inmate may prioritize the materials which he seeks satisfactorily provides such access. Security considerations and the need to provide access to the books to all inmates justify limiting inmates to possessing a maximum of five items at one time. Delays in receiving materials or the fact that such materials occasionally may not be available when requested do not make the present system inadequate under constitutional standards.

 Defendants have satisfied their initial burden of demonstrating that they are providing plaintiff with adequate access to legal research materials and to supplies. Because plaintiff has failed to come forward with specific facts showing that genuine issues remain for trial, defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the issue of plaintiff's access to the courts. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) and (e); Feldman v. Simkins Industries, Inc., 679 F.2d 1299 (9th Cir. 1982).

 Personal Property

 Plaintiff seeks relief under § 1983 for confiscation of certain items of his personal property. It is clearly established that such allegations do not state a claim under the Civil Rights Act when plaintiff possesses an adequate post-deprivation remedy under state law. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S. Ct. 1908, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420 (1981). In Washington, plaintiff may seek recovery for any such property loss under common law tort theories. See Franklin v. State Welfare Division, 662 F.2d 1337, 1345-46 (9th Cir. 1981). Moreover, plaintiff cannot successfully categorize his claim as a violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure because the Supreme Court has held that inmates do not possess such a right in relation to their prison cells. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 104 S. Ct. 3194, 82 L. Ed. 2d 393 (1984). Accordingly, plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief under § 1983 in relation to any alleged deprivations of personal property.

 Inspection of Mail

 Plaintiff contends that his "legal mail is being inspected by IMU staff." The Ninth Circuit recently addressed a similar issue in Royse v. The Superior Court of the State of Washington, 779 F.2d 573 (9th Cir. 1986) (amended February 21, 1986). In Royse, the plaintiff challenged the institutional policy of inspecting all mail sent by inmates of WSP to judges or court officials. The court found that "the inspection of inmate mail for contraband does not constitute mail 'censorship' governed by the Procunier [ v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 40 L. Ed. 2d 224, 94 S. Ct. 1800 (1974)] test." Id. at 575. Royse based his due process claim on alleged denial of access to the courts. In rejecting plaintiff's contention, the court found that the inspection procedure utilized did not delay or hinder the inmate's communication with the court nor did it interfere with his ability ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.