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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 30637 Find in a Library
Title: PROCESS DUE PRISONERS. WOLFF V MCDONNEL, 418 U.S. 539 1974
Journal: NEBRASKA LAW REVIEW  Volume:54  Issue:4  Dated:(1975)  Pages:724-743
Author(s): R SCHUPACK
Corporate Author: University of Nebraska
College of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68508
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CONSIDERATION OF THE TRIAL, APPELLATE, AND U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISIONS IN THIS CIVIL ACTION BROUGHT BY INMATES CHALLENGING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES AT THE NEBRASKA PENAL AND CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX.
Abstract: INCLUDED IN THESE PRACTICES WERE RESTRICTIONS LIMITING THE NUMBER OF INMATES ALLOWED TO USE THE PRISON LAW LIBRARY AT ONE TIME, AND THE NUMBER OF HOURS A PRISONER COULD CONFER WITH AN INMATE LEGAL ASSISTANT; INMATES WERE ALSO DENIED THE PERSONAL USE OF TYPEWRITERS. MCDONNEL FURTHER ALLEGED REPRISALS BY PRISON OFFICIALS AGAINST THOSE INMATES WHO PETITIONED THE COURTS, THE CENSORSHIP OF INMATE MAIL AND THE ABSENCE OF PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS AT PRISON DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS WHERE SERIOUS SANCTIONS MIGHT BE IMPOSED. BOTH PARTIES APPEALED THE TRIAL COURT RULING. THE SUPREME COURT AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. WITH RESPECT TO PETITIONER'S PRIMARY CLAIM OF DUE PROCESS, THE COURT HELD THAT THE PROTECTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION AND THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE EXTENDED TO INCARCERATED OFFENDERS BUT THAT THESE RIGHTS WERE SUBJECT TO LIMITATION BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE PRISON REGIME. WHERE THE POTENTIAL SANCTIONS FOR A PRISONER'S 'FLAGRANT OR SERIOUS MISCONDUCT' INCLUDE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND LOSS OF 'GOOD TIME', THE COURT REQUIRED CERTAIN MINIMUM DUE PROCESS SAFEGUARDS IN THE DISCIPLINARY HEARING. THESE INCLUDED WRITTEN NOTICE, AN IMPARTIAL EXAMINING BODY, WRITTEN STATEMENT OF EVIDENCE RELIED ON AND REASONS FOR PUNISHMENT, THE RIGHT TO CALL WITNESSES AND TO PRESENT DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE, AND THE RIGHT TO THE AID OF A 'JAILHOUSE LAWYER' IN CASES WHERE THE DEFENDANT IS ILLITERATE OR THE ISSUES VERY COMPLEX. REGARDING APPROPRIATE RELIEF, THE COURT AFFIRMED THE COURT OF APPEAL'S HOLDING FORECLOSING THE RESTORATION OF GOOD TIME IN CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIONS, BUT REVERSED ON THE ISSUE OF RETROACTIVE EXPUNGEMENT OF RECORDS. THE AUTHOR MAINTAINS THAT MCDONNEL CAN BE SEEN AS A PRODUCT OF THE EXTENSION OF FUNDAMENTAL DUE PROCESS BEYOND THE COURTROOM INTO THE PROCEDURES OF STATES AND ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES. HOWEVER, HE ALSO IDENTIFIES AND DISCUSSES ISSUES LEFT UNRESOLVED BY THE COURT. THESE INCLUDE THE POSSIBILITY OF SELF-INCRIMINATION AT A LATER CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FROM STATEMENTS MADE AT A DISCIPLINARY HEARING WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF COUNSEL OR MIRANDA WARNINGS; THE POSSIBILITY OF DOUBLE JEOPARDY WHEN AN IN-PRISON RULE VIOLATION CONSTITUTES A CRIME PUNISHABLE BY STATE AUTHORITIES; AND THE NEED FOR AN ADEQUATE APPEALS PROCEDURE FROM PRISON DISCIPLINARY DETERMINATIONS. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED)
Index Term(s): Inmate discipline; Inmate grievances; Judicial decisions; Management; Prisoner's rights; Right to Due Process
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=30637

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