Prison Legal News, et al v. Chapman et al
BENCH TRIAL ORDER. The Clerk is hereby Directed to enter judgment as outlined herein. A jury trial will be scheduled determine the value of PLNs damages as to its procedural due process claim. Ordered by U.S. District Judge C ASHLEY ROYAL on 8/26/14. (lap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a Project of :
THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE
CENTER, a Not for Profit Corporation, :
Incorporated in the State of
No. 3:12‐CV‐00125 (CAR)
JOE CHAPMAN, the Sheriff of
Walton County, Georgia, and
WADE HARRIS, Jail Commander
for Walton County Jail, in their
official and individual capacities,
BENCH TRIAL ORDER
Prison Legal News (“PLN”) alleges Sheriff Joe Chapman and Jail Commander
Major Wade Harris (“Defendants”), in their official and individual capacities, violated
PLN’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by enforcing certain mail policies that
unlawfully restricted its means of communicating with individual Walton County Jail
inmates. Consequently, PLN requests that the Court issue a declaratory judgment that
the challenged policies violate the United States Constitution and permanently enjoin
Defendants from enforcing the same. PLN also seeks compensatory, punitive, and
nominal damages for each violation of its constitutional rights, along with court costs
and attorney’s fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
The Court has long wrestled with these multifaceted issues and carefully
crafted its decision in balancing PLN’s constitutional rights against the practical
concerns and limitations of the Walton County Jail. The path provided by legal
precedent has not been a clear one. Nonetheless, after considering the evidence and
the applicable law, the Court makes the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law as
stated herein. The Court grants judgment in favor of Defendants on PLN’s First
Amendment claim as to Defendants’ postcard‐only policy. However, the Court grants
judgment in favor of PLN on its First Amendment claim as to Defendants’ original
publication ban and PLN’s Fourteenth Amendment due process claim.
PLN filed suit in this Court on September 21, 2012, with an accompanying
motion for preliminary injunction. Therein, PLN challenged Defendants’ publication
ban, postcard‐only policy, and notice and appeal policy.1 The Court ultimately
enjoined Defendant from imposing a de facto ban on the PLN’s periodicals to the extent
these mailings did not otherwise threaten the safety, security, or efficiency of the Jail
1 PLN’s Complaint separately challenged the Jail’s privileged mail policy; however, that issue
has since been subsumed under the postcard‐only policy challenge. January 16, 2014
Teleconference, p. 2 [Doc. 65].
and its population. However, based on the limited record and parties’ briefs, the
Court could not determine whether the postcard‐only policy violated PLN’s First
Amendment rights or that the Jail’s notice and appeal policy provided insufficient
procedural due process.2
During a telephone conference on January 16, 2014, the parties agreed to
address PLN’s claims through the following bifurcated proceeding: (1) a bench trial to
determine Defendants’ liability and PLN’s entitlement to injunctive relief; and (2) a
jury trial to determine any resultant damages against Defendants in their individual
capacities.3 Accordingly, the Court conducted a bench trial on February 24, 2014, and
thereafter directed PLN to file a post‐trial brief and instructed the parties to designate
specific evidence for the Court’s consideration. These matters are now ripe for
FINDINGS OF FACT4
PLN is a nonprofit organization that publishes and distributes a variety of print
materials, including Prison Legal News, a monthly periodical intended to address
prisoners’ rights and educate the public about prison conditions.5 Over the last two
2 Order on Mtn. for Prelim. Inj., pp. 14, 20, 22 [Doc. 42].
3 January 16, 2014 Teleconference, pp. 1‐2.
4 The Court declines to incorporate any facts or conclusions expounded by PLN’s or
Defendants’ experts. Neither expert assisted the Court, as the trier of fact, in understanding the
facts in evidence or determining a fact in issue. See generally Fed. R. Evid. 702(a).
5 Wright Dep., pp. 9, 14 [Doc. 65]; Bench Trial Transcript, 3:21‐7:25.
years, PLN has mailed numerous publications and correspondence to individual
inmates at the Walton County Jail (the “Jail”).6 The Jail is a short‐term facility that
houses anywhere from 400 to 450 inmates at any given time.7
Censorship of Inmate Mail
Two Jail employees are charged with processing inmate mail.8 These
employees censor mail in accordance with policies promulgated by the Sheriff of
Walton County, Defendant Joe Chapman, and implemented by the Jail Commander,
Defendant Wade Harris.9
A. Postcard‐Only Policy
Effective April 8, 2011, the Jail adopted a policy restricting all non‐privileged
mail to postcards only (the “postcard‐only policy”).10 This policy further provides that
postcards are “subject to be read by facility staff” who censor objectionable content
pursuant to the Jail’s “Censorship Guidelines.”11 Because the Jail is currently
understaffed, the two employees assigned to mailroom duties are also responsible for
fulfilling other miscellaneous duties around the Jail.12 Since the institution of the
postcard‐only policy, each employee saves approximately two to three hours per day
6 Wright Decl., ¶ 2 [Doc. 85].
7 Chapman Dep., pp. 54, 63‐64 [Doc. 71].
8 Grabowski Dep., pp. 7, 9, 17 [Doc. 70].
9 See Chapman Dep., pp. 12‐13, 22‐23, 45‐46; Harris Dep., p. 151 [Doc. 69].
10 Original Jail P&P 5.16(I) [Doc. 7‐7].
11 Id. at 5.16(II)N.
12 Chapman Dep., pp. 34‐35, 38; Grabowski Dep., pp. 16‐17.
processing inmate mail.13
B. Publication Policy
Also effective April 8, 2011, the Jail adopted a policy prohibiting inmates from
receiving publications “of any kind” through the mail.14 Instead, the policy noted that
“[b]ooks are available on a regular basis from the facility library.”15
C. Notice and Appeal Policy
When censoring postcards, the Guidelines direct the Jail employee to forward
the correspondence to Defendant Harris or his designee for review before notifying
both the addressee‐inmate and author of the Jail’s censorship. Thereafter, the author
has seven days to appeal the decision through a due process hearing with Defendant
Harris or another uninterested third party who did not participate in the original
censorship decision.16 Defendants admit that “[t]he Jail does not have a policy that
requires a sender to be notified every time the Jail decides not to deliver to an inmate a
book, magazine, or nonpostcard [sic], i.e., multi‐page, letter from the sender.”17
Censorship of PLN’s Mailings
The Jail has censored a majority of PLN’s mail pursuant to these mail policies,
including numerous periodicals, information subscription brochures, book catalogs,
13 Grabowski Decl., ¶ 5 [Doc. 21]; see Grabowski Dep., pp. 17, 62.
14 Id. at 5.16(II)E.
16 Id. at 5.16(II)N.
17 Defendant Chapman’s Response to Requests for Admissions, ¶ 5 [Doc. 71‐1].
book offers, court rulings, letters from the editor, letters from PLN’s attorney, and
subscription renewal letters.18 One‐third of PLN’s mail has been returned through the
U.S. Postal Service’s “Return to Sender” service. The disposition of the remaining
two‐thirds of the mail is unknown. 19
Defendants’ Post‐Litigation Revised Publication Policy
On October 1, 2012, ten days after PLN filed suit in this Court, Defendants
revised the contested publication policy to allow inmates to individually order
softbound books directly from a bookstore or publisher. 20 However, inmates are still
prohibited from receiving periodicals, magazines, and newspapers on an individual
basis.21 Instead, the policy states that magazines, newspapers, and periodicals are
“provided by Inmate Services on a regular schedule.”22 In practice, a Jail employee
selects a number of magazines from a local retailer each month.23 Although unclear, it
appears the Jail originally purchased 6‐7 magazines to be rotated among the cell blocks
on a monthly basis but now purchases 12 magazines—one for each of the cell blocks.24
The Jail has not purchased Prison Legal News. 25
18 Wright Decl., ¶ 5 [Doc. 85].
19 Wright Decl., ¶ 6 [Doc. 85].
20 See Revised Jail P&P 5.16, 5.25 [Doc. 21].
21 Id. at P&P 5.16(II)E.
23 Harris Dep., pp. 23‐24, 32; Errata, p. 2.
24 Harris Dep., pp. 23‐24, 32; Bench Trial Transcript, 59:1‐4, 74:20‐24, 83:23‐25.
25 Bench Trial Transcript, 33:7‐9.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
PLN claims Defendants’ mail policies unlawfully infringe upon its right to
communicate with the Jail’s inmate population and its right to appeal the Jail’s
censorship decisions in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution. PLN therefore requests that the Court (a) issue a
permanent injunction against Defendants in their official capacities requiring them to
cease enforcement of the challenged provisions of its mail policy and afford PLN
constitutional due process; (b) issue a declaratory judgment that the challenged
policies and procedures violate the United States Constitution; (c) award
compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages for each violation of PLN’s
constitutional rights; and (d) award other appropriate costs and fees, including pre‐
and post‐judgment interest and attorney’s fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
In response, Defendants contend that each of the challenged policies survives
constitutional scrutiny. Alternatively, Defendants assert that several of PLN’s
concerns have been resolved by the Jail’s revised mail policies. Finally, Defendants
claim they are entitled to qualified immunity in their individual capacities because
their promulgation and enforcement of the contested Jail policies did not violate a
clearly established constitutional right. The Court addresses each of these arguments
First Amendment Claims
PLN claims Defendants’ mail policies unconstitutionally restrict its freedom to
communicate with the Jail’s population by imposing arbitrary and unnecessary
restrictions on PLN’s correspondence. Although prison walls do not extinguish a free
citizen’s or even a publisher’s right to communicate with inmates, this right is not
absolute.26 Instead, these First Amendment interests must be balanced against the
unique conditions and needs of the penal system.27
Courts have long recognized “(1) the difficulty of running a prison, (2) the
separation of powers concerns when a federal court assumes a function (prison
administration) entrusted to the legislative and executive branches, and (3) the need
for federal courts to accord deference to state authorities.”28 In short, “courts are ill
equipped to deal with the increasingly urgent problems of prison administration,” and
“[s]ubjecting the day‐to‐day judgments of prison officials to an inflexible strict
scrutiny analysis would seriously hamper their ability to anticipate security problems
and to adopt innovative solutions to the intractable problems of prison
26 See Thornburgh v. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401, 407‐08 (1989) (“[T]here is no question that publishers
who wish to communicate with those who, through subscription, willingly seek their point of
view[,] have a legitimate First Amendment interest in access to prisoners.”); Turner v. Safley, 482
U.S. 78, 84‐85 (1987).
27 Turner, 482 U.S. at 84‐85.
28 Jacklovich v. Simmons, 392 F.3d 420, 426 (10th Cir. 2004); see also Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 548
administration.”29 The Court must therefore afford considerable deference to “the
determinations of prison administrators who, in the interest of security, regulate the
relations between prisoners and the outside world.”30
In light of these circumstances, the United States Supreme Court has concluded
that a prison regulation may impinge on a free citizen’s or entity’s freedom of speech if
the Court determines that “it is reasonably related to legitimate penological
interests.”31 To determine if a jail’s content‐neutral regulation is “reasonably related to
legitimate penological interests,” the Court examines the four critical factors outlined
by the Supreme Court in Turner v. Safley:32 (1) whether there is a legitimate and neutral
connection between the regulation and the asserted governmental interest and the
policy; (2) whether there are alternative means of exercising the constitutional right;
(3) any effect accommodating the right would have on guards and inmates; and (4) the
absence or existence of ready alternatives.33 “This is not a ‘least restrictive alternative’
test: prison officials do not have to set up and then shoot down every conceivable
alternative method of accommodating the claimant’s constitutional complaint.”34
Moreover, a court does not have to agree with prison officials’ proffered interest for a
29 Turner, 482 U.S. at 84, 89.
30 Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 408.
31 Turner, 482 U.S. at 89.
32 Id.; see Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 415.
33Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 414; Turner, 482 U.S. at 89.
34Turner, 482 U.S. at 90‐91.
policy to pass constitutional scrutiny. “The inquiry under Turner is not whether the
policy actually serves a penological interest, but rather whether it was rational for jail
officials to believe that it would.”35
Although courts afford prison administrators “considerable deference,” the
Turner test “is not toothless.”36 As the Supreme Court noted in Beard v. Banks,37 it
“requires prison authorities to show more than a formalistic logical connection
between a regulation and a penological objective”; they must also “show[ ] a
reasonable relation” in light of the “importance of the rights … at issue.”38 Thus, a
prison regulation “cannot be sustained when the logical connection between the
regulation and the asserted goal is so remote as to render the policy arbitrary and
irrational.”39 With this framework in mind, the Court addresses each of the contested
A. Postcard‐Only Policy
Defendants’ postcard‐only policy passes constitutional muster. The policy
satisfies the first Turner factor because there is a rational connection between the
postcard‐only policy and the Jail’s legitimate penological interests in security and
35 Covell v. Arpaio, 662 F. Supp. 2d 1146, 1152‐53 (D. Ariz. 2009) (citations omitted).
36 Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 407‐408, 414.
37 548 U.S. 521 (2006).
38 Id. at 533, 535.
39 Turner, 482 U.S. at 89‐90.
efficiency.40 First, by limiting the space in which inmates and their correspondents
may converse, this policy inherently impedes the sender’s and recipient’s ability to
conceal illegal schemes in lengthy correspondence, including plans to escape, plans
involving assaults on inmates, and plans to introduce illegal drugs, weapons, or other
contraband into the facility. Moreover, this policy reduces the likelihood that inmates
will receive contraband that may be transmitted through multi‐paged missives.
Finally, the postcard‐only policy conserves the Jail’s already limited resources.
In opposition, PLN asserts Defendants cannot identify a single incident prior to
the institution of the postcard‐only policy when contraband successfully entered the
Jail through multi‐page letters. However, prison officials “need not demonstrate an
actual danger in order to support the reasonableness of their determinations. It is
enough to show that a potential danger exists.”41 There is a common sense connection
between a jail goal of reducing contraband and limiting the number of pages of
correspondence.42 As the United States District Court for the Southern District of
Florida has observed,
Sealed envelopes provide a greater opportunity for the introduction of
drugs and weapons into jail facilities than postcards because envelopes
can contain multiple pages of paper with folds and creases that lend
40 Harris Dep., pp. 126‐27.
41 Prison Legal News v. Cheshire, No. 1:04CV173DAK, 2006 WL 1868307, at *6 (6th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Espinoza v. Wilson, 814 F.2d 1093, 1097‐98 (6th Cir. 1987)) (internal quotation marks
42 Prison Legal News v. Babeu, 933 F. Supp. 2d 1188, 1203 (D. Ariz. 2013).
themselves to smuggling contraband. Postcards have no folds or creases.
Even if a jail staffer has to remove the stamp from a postcard to make sure
no contraband lies beneath, that effort pales in comparison to the effort
necessary to inspect a sealed letter.43
Moreover, since the institution of the postcard‐only policy, each of the two Jail
employees assigned to mailroom duties saves approximately two to three hours per
day screening inmate mail.44 This permits the employees to perform their other duties,
such as transporting inmates, circulating library materials, and passing out various
items.45 In short, Defendants’ policy advances their content‐neutral goal of conserving
the Jail’s scarce resources, which in turn bears on prison security. Accordingly, the
first Turner factor weighs in Defendants’ favor.
The second Turner factor also weighs in Defendants’ favor. This factor directs
the Court to consider PLN’s alternative options for exercising its First Amendment
rights under the contested policy. 46 “Where ‘other avenues’ remain available for the
exercise of the asserted right, courts should be particularly conscious of the ‘measure
of deference owed to corrections officials … in gauging the validity of the
regulation.’”47 Further, the Court must view the right in question “sensibly and
43 Althouse v. Palm Beach Cnty. Sheriff’s Office, No. 12‐80135‐CIV, 2013 WL 536072 (S.D. Fla. Feb.
44 Grabowski Decl, ¶ 5 [Doc. 21]; see Grabowski Dep., pp. 17, 62.
45 Grabowski Dep., pp. 7, 62.
46 Turner, 482 U.S. at 90.
In the context of the postcard‐only policy, the right in question is primarily
PLN’s ability to communicate with inmates through its subscription “info packs” and
various multi‐paged letters from its attorney and editor. While the postcard‐only
policy may be a frustrating and limiting alternative from PLN’s perspective,
“alternatives need not be ideal; they need only be available.”49 To the extent PLN
claims that the postcard‐only policy restricts its ability to communicate without any
semblance of privacy, its argument must fail. Inmates’ mail has always been subject to
search, and Jail officials are free to inspect non‐privileged conversations between
inmates and their correspondents.50 Moreover, PLN’s attorneys and editor may
choose to converse with inmates by phone. Accordingly, the Court concludes that
PLN has adequate avenues for exercising its asserted right.
In addressing the third Turner factor, the Court must assess “the impact
accommodation of the asserted constitutional right will have on guards and other
inmates, and on the allocation of resources generally.”51 The Supreme Court has
cautioned courts to give due consideration to jail officials “[w]hen the accommodation
of an asserted right will have a significant ‘ripple effect’ on fellow inmates or on prison
48 Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 417 (citation omitted).
49 Overton v. Bazzetta, 539 U.S. 126, 127 (2003).
50 See, e.g., United States v. Mills, 704 F.2d 1553, 1560‐61 (11th Cir. 1983).
51 Turner, 482 U.S. at 90.
staff.”52 Defendants contend that allowing multi‐page letters would significantly
increase the amount of time Jail employees spend processing inmate mail, which
would detract from their ability to accomplish other responsibilities that ensure a safe
and secure jail.53 The Court agrees.
The postcard‐only policy has decreased the time spent processing mail by four
to six hours each day, allowing two Jail employees to perform other duties as needed.54
In an understaffed facility like the Walton County Jail, the Court cannot conclude this
extra time would not have a “ripple effect” on safety and security. 55 The Court is not
persuaded otherwise the fact that the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ Correspondence
Policy permits inmates to receive traditional mail in envelopes.56 The Court’s analysis
necessarily turns on the individual conditions and needs of the Walton County Jail,
not a general policy advanced by a federal institution with different penological
concerns and resources. Therefore, the third factor also weighs in favor of
Finally, the fourth Turner factor requires the Court to determine whether the
53 See also Daniels v. Harris, No. 3:11‐CV‐45 (CAR), 2010 WL 3901646, at *2 (M.D. Ga. Aug. 8,
54 See Grabowski Decl., ¶ 5; Grabowski Dep., pp. 17, 62.
55 Chapman Dep., pp. 34‐35, 38; see, e.g., Prison Legal News v. Bezotte, No. 11‐CV‐13460, 2013 WL
1316714, at *5 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 29, 2013) (concluding that four hours of time was not de minimis).
56 See Federal Bureau of Prisons Correspondence Policy [Doc. 96‐1].
57 See, e.g., Hrdlicka v. Cogbill, No. C 04‐3020 MJJ, 2006 WL 2560790, at *10‐12 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 1,
2006); Thornley v. Edwards, CIV. No. A86‐1503, 1988 WL 188333, at *8 (M.D. Penn. Mar. 29, 1988).
regulation is an exaggerated response to the Jail’s expressed concerns. Accordingly,
the burden is on PLN to show obvious, easy alternatives that fully accommodate the
publisher’s right at de minimis cost to the Jail.58 PLN offers two alternatives to the
postcard‐only policy. The first would require the Jail to “continue to inspect all
incoming mail for objectionable content as the Jail has consistently done.”59 Second,
PLN contends that Defendants can enforce its preexisting disciplinary measures
against inmates who abuse the mail in lieu of the postcard‐only policy.60 It is not
obvious, however, that these alternatives would accommodate PLN’s asserted right at
a de minimis cost to Walton County Jail. Rather, under PLN’s proposal, Jail employees
would still have to open, inspect, and monitor sealed envelopes with multi‐page
letters—the same concerns the postcard‐only policy was meant to address. As such,
PLN has failed to carry its burden under the fourth Turner factor, and the Court
concludes that the postcard‐only policy does not violate PLN’s rights under the First
B. Publication Policy
Unlike the postcard‐only policy, Defendants’ original publication policy does
58 See Turner, 482 U.S. at 90‐91 (“This is not a ‘least restrictive alternative’ test: prison officials do
not have to set up and then shoot down every conceivable alternative method of
accommodating the claimant’s constitutional complaint.”).
59 Mtn. for Prelim. Inj. at 14 [Doc. 24].
60 Inmate Handbook XI, pp. 14‐20, PLN Tr. Ex. 6.
61 See Turner, 482 U.S. at 90‐91; O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 350 (1987) (noting that
the burden is not on the prison official to disprove the availability of alternatives).
not pass constitutional muster. Defendants contend that their total prohibition on the
individual receipt of publications through the mail limits the amount of paper in each
inmate’s cell, thereby reducing the risk of fire hazards, sanitation concerns, and the
concealment of weapons. While these are all legitimate penological objectives, the
Court cannot conclude they are rationally advanced by Defendants’ original policy.
Several courts have recognized the tenuous connection between prohibitions on
inmates’ receipt of publications and fire or sanitation concerns.62 Courts generally take
issue with this rationale because inmates are permitted to have any number of other
materials in their cells that pose at least an equal threat to the security and safety of the
jail.63 The same holds true in this case. Defendants’ policies permit inmates to keep
legal papers, five or fewer personal items, one religious text, one library book, and
other flammable materials in their cells.64 Based on these circumstances, the Court
concludes that “inmates who wish to set fires can and will do so, whether or not they
have subscription publications for fuel.”65 This same rationale applies to inmates’
ability to conceal weapons with their cells’ contents.66
Likewise, the Court is not persuaded that lifting the publication ban would
62 See, e.g., Mann v. Smith, 796 F.2d 79, 82 (5th Cir. 1986) (sanitation); Kincaid v. Rusk, 670 F.2d 737,
743 (7th Cir. 1982) (fire); Spellman v. Hopper, 95 F. Supp. 2d 1267, 1273‐76 (M.D. Ala. 1999)
(sanitation and fire);
63 See, e.g., Spellman, 95 F. Supp. 2d at 1273.
64 Inmate Handbook IV, pp. 5‐6.
65 Spellman, 95 F. Supp. 2d at 1273.
66 Id. at 1278‐79.
cause a hazardous influx of publications. First, Defendants have not reported any
such issue since they lifted the ban in accordance with their own revised policy and
the Court’s preliminary injunction. Second, other Jail policies address this concern.
Jail officials are directed to confiscate inmates’ possessions or other contents from their
cells if the accumulation is “considered excessive and constitute[s] a safety, security or
health hazard.”67 Inmates are also required to participate in a “daily” cleaning
regimen “within [their] housing and common areas” or risk being subject to
While the Court is mindful that “responsible prison officials must be permitted
to take reasonable steps to forestall” a threat to institutional security,69
“undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the
right of freedom of expression.”70 Where, as here, the plaintiff has demonstrated the
lack of a rational connection between the maintenance of institutional security and a
total prohibition on individual receipt of publications, deference to prison policy is not
Although the first factor weighs heavily in PLN’s favor, the second Turner
factor favors Defendants. The Court agrees with PLN’s assertion that traditional
67 Inmate Handbook IV, p. 6.
68 Id. at VIII, p. 11.
69 Jones v. N.C. Prisoners’ Labor Union, Inc., 433 U.S. 119, 132‐33 (1977).
70 Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 508 (1969).
forms of in‐jail communication such as phone calls and in‐person visits are not
suitable alternatives for the educational materials PLN seeks to provide through its
periodicals and books. Likewise, other forms of media, like radio and television,
cannot replace the written word.71 However, as noted above, PLN’s First Amendment
interest “must be viewed sensibly and expansively.”72 As such, the Court must
consider all reasonable alternatives to PLN’s preferred form of communication. To
that end, the Court notes that Defendants accept book donations to the Jail library,
which would permit PLN to communicate its core messages to inmates.73 Although
this is a narrow alternative, it is reasonably available to PLN considering the fact that
it often disseminates its publications free of charge.74
Closely mirroring the first factor, the third and fourth Turner factors weigh in
PLN’s favor. As discussed above, lifting the publication ban has had little or no
impact on Defendants’ specific concerns, since the Jail already has other,
constitutionally valid policies that effectively address fire hazards, sanitation, and
weapons concealment. Moreover, by enforcing these preexisting policies, Defendants
can accommodate PLN’s constitutional rights at a de minimis cost without otherwise
altering the Jail’s existing rules. Thus, PLN has demonstrated that Defendants’
71 See Jacklovich, 392 F.3d at 431; Mann v. Smith, 796 F.2d 79, 83 (5th Cir. 1986).
72 Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 417.
73 Chapman Dep., pp. 88‐89; Grabowski Dep., p. 44; Harris Dep., pp. 89‐90.
74 See Bench Trial Transcript, 47:9‐21.
publication ban represents an exaggerated response to their asserted penological
Based on the foregoing analysis, the Court concludes that the Jail’s original
publication ban offends the Constitution even under the most deferential standard.
The fact that the second Turner factor weights in Defendants’ favor is not sufficient to
negate the merits of PLN’s claim. Defendants’ failure to demonstrate a rational
connection between the publication ban and its asserted penological interests “renders
the regulation unconstitutional without regard to the remaining three factors.”76
Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Claim
Finally, the Court concludes that Defendants failed to provide a constitutionally
adequate, minimum degree of due process to PLN when censoring its mailings.77 To
prove a procedural due process violation PLN must demonstrate (1) the deprivation of
a constitutionally‐protected liberty or property interest; (2) state action; and (3)
constitutionally‐inadequate process. 78 As previously discussed, “publishers (including
advertisers) have a First Amendment right to access inmates.”79 Therefore, “the
decision to censor or withhold delivery of a … letter must be accompanied by
75 See Spellman, 95 F. Supp. 2d at 1272‐87.
76 Jones v. Caruso, 569 F.3d 258, 267 (6th Cir. 2009).
77 Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 80 (1972).
78 Arrington v. Helms, 438 F.3d 1336, 1348‐48 (11th Cir. 2006).
79 Perry v. Sec’y, Fla. Dep’t of Corrs., 664 F.3d 1359, 1368 (11th Cir. 2011).
minimum procedural safeguards.”80 The parties do not dispute that Defendants’
promulgation and enforcement of the Jail policies in question constitute state action.
Accordingly, the only remaining question is whether Defendants’ censorship policies
and practices constitute constitutionally‐inadequate process.
To answer this question, Eleventh Circuit precedent directs this Court to apply
the heightened due process standard established by the Supreme Court in Procunier v.
Martinez.81 Accordingly, to pass constitutional muster, Martinez requires the
following: (1) appropriate notice; (2) a reasonable opportunity to challenge the initial
decision; and (3) an ultimate decision by a disinterested party not privy to the initial
censorship decision.82 The Court is unpersuaded by Defendants’ argument that the
Martinez standard does not apply in light of the Eleventh Circuit’s recent decision in
Perry v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections,83 which approved a lower standard
80 Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 417 (1974).
81 416 U.S. 396 (1974); Perry, 664 F.3d at 1368. The Court questions the propriety of this
approach in light of Justice Kennedy’s admonition that it is “quite clear that the standard of
review we adopted in Turner applies to all circumstances in which the needs of prison
administration implicate constitutional rights.” Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 201 (1990)
(applying the Turner standard to due process claims); Prison Legal News v. Livingston, 683 F.3d
201, 223 (5th Cir. 2012) (applying the Turner standard to PLN’s procedural due process claim in
light of Washington).
82 Martinez, 416 U.S. at 418‐19; see also Guajardo v. Estelle, 580 F.2d 748, 762 n.10 (1978), overruled
on other grounds by Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 423‐24. In Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206,
1209 (11th Cir.1981) (en banc), the Eleventh Circuit adopted as binding precedent all decisions
of the former Fifth Circuit rendered prior to October 1, 1981.
83 664 F.3d 1359 (11th Cir. 2011).
of procedural due process for “mass mailings.”84 The record in this case demonstrates
that PLN attempts to communicate with inmates on an individual basis; it does not
send mail en masse as the plaintiff attempted in Perry. Defendants also attempt to
draw a distinction between the content‐based censorship Martinez and the form‐based
censorship in the instant case. However, they offer no authority for drawing such
distinction, and the Court is not aware of any. Accordingly, the Court must analyze
the Jail’s censorship procedure under Martinez.
The Jail’s censorship procedure is fundamentally flawed because it does not
provide appropriate notice and appeal procedures for non‐postcard mail. The Jail’s
current “Censorship Guidelines” direct the Jail Commander, Defendant Harris, or his
“designee” to “send notice to the inmate and author of the post card, whether it was
an inmate or outside correspondent, that incoming or outgoing mail was censored.”85
Thereafter, “the author is to be provided seven calendar days to protest the
censorship[.] … A due process hearing must be held before a person other than the
person who made the original censorship decision.”86 Finally, Defendant Harris or his
designee must “respond to the appellant’s protest within ten calendar days.”87 The
84 Id. at 1368.
85 Original Jail P&P 5.16(II)N.6 [Doc. 7‐7] (emphasis added).
86 Id. at N.8.
87 Id. at N.9.
same protections do not extend to non‐postcard mail.88
Moreover, Defendants admit that “[t]he Jail does not have a policy that requires
a sender to be notified every time the Jail decides not to deliver to an inmate a book,
magazine, or nonpostcard [sic], i.e., multi‐page, letter from the sender.”89 Further, the
evidence shows that PLN has only recovered one‐third of its censored mail through
the U.S. Postal Service’s “Return to Sender” service. The disposition of the remaining
two‐thirds of the mail is unknown. 90 Given these two key facts, the Court draws the
reasonable conclusion that the Jail does not provide consistent notice and appeal
procedures when it rejects non‐postcard mail. This is in direct contravention of
Martinez’s explicit requirements. Consequently, PLN has successfully established that
the Jail’s notice and appeal policy violates its procedural due process rights.
PLN’s Requests for Relief
Because the Court has found that the Jail’s individual publication ban violates
PLN’s First Amendment rights, and the Jail’s notice and appeal policy violates PLN’s
Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process rights, the Court must address
whether PLN is entitled to any relief.
To determine whether PLN is entitled to any monetary damages, the Court
88 See Martinez, 416 U.S. at 418‐19.
89 Defendant Chapman’s Response to Requests for Admissions, ¶ 5 [Doc. 71‐1].
90 Wright Decl., ¶ 6 [Doc. 85].
must first determine whether Defendants, in their individual capacities, are shielded
by the doctrine of qualified immunity. 91 “Qualified immunity offers complete
protection for public officials sued in their individual capacities if their conduct does
not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable
person would have known.”92
For qualified immunity to attach, a public official must first prove that he was
acting within the scope of his discretionary authority when the wrongful act
occurred.93 This threshold burden is easily satisfied; a defendant need only show that
his actions were undertaken pursuant to the performance of his duties and within the
scope of his authority.94 Next, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish that the
official’s conduct violated a constitutional right, and the constitutional right in
question must have been clearly established at the time of the violation. 95 Courts need
not consider the two prongs of the analysis in sequence, however, and a failure to
91 “Because qualified immunity is only a defense to personal liability for monetary awards
resulting from government officials performing discretionary functions, qualified immunity
may not be effectively asserted as a defense to a claim for declaratory or injunctive relief.” Ratlif
v. DeKalb County, 62 F.3d 338, 340 n. 4 (11th Cir.1995); accord Swint v. City of Wadley, 51 F.3d 988,
1001 (11th Cir. 1995); DʹAguanno v. Gallagher, 50 F.3d 877, 879 (11th Cir.1995).
92 Kingsland v. City of Miami, 382 F.3d 1220, 1231 (11th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks
93 Lee v. Ferraro, 284 F.3d 1188, 1194 (11th Cir. 2002).
94 See Harbert Int’l v. James, 157 F.3d 1271, 1281 (11th Cir. 1998).
95 Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001).
establish either prong requires the claim to be dismissed.96
In determining whether a constitutional right is clearly established, the Court
looks to binding precedent from the Supreme Court of the United States, the United
States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and, in appropriate circumstances, a
state’s highest court.97 An official’s conduct is evaluated according to “objective legal
reasonableness”98 and “must be undertaken in light of the specific context of the case,
not as a broad general proposition.”99 That is, the contours of the right must be
sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing
violates that right.100 “This is not to say that an official action is protected by qualified
immunity unless the very action has previously been held unlawful, but it is to say that
in light of pre‐existing law the unlawfulness must be apparent.”101 However, the
Eleventh Circuit has noted that qualified immunity generally shields “all but the plainly
incompetent or one who is knowingly violating the federal law.”102
In this case, it is exceedingly clear that Defendants were acting within the scope
of their discretionary authority in promulgating and enforcing Jail policies.
96 Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 236 (2009).
97 See Courson v. McMillian, 939 F. 2d 1479, 1497‐98 (11th Cir. 1991).
98 Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 819 (1982).
99 Saucier, 533 U.S. at 201.
100 Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 (1987).
101 Id. (internal citation omitted).
102 Oliver v. Fiorino, 586 F.3d 898, 904 (11th Cir. 2009) (internal citation omitted).
Accordingly, the burden shifts to PLN to demonstrate that qualified immunity does not
1. Publication Policy
Although Defendants’ publication ban violates PLN’s First Amendment rights,
PLN fails to demonstrate that the illegality of Defendants’ actions was clearly
established by relevant Supreme Court or Eleventh Circuit precedent. PLN largely
relies on authority outside the Eleventh Circuit in support of its argument; however,
these cases have no bearing on the Court’s qualified immunity analysis. The Eleventh
Circuit “has said clearly, consistently, and on numerous occasions that we may only
consider the precedent of these courts in determining whether case law has ‘clearly
established’ a right for qualified immunity purposes.”103
PLN’s reliance on the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Owen v. Wille104 is misplaced.
Therein, Duane Owen claimed that officials at the Palm Beach County Detention
Facility violated his First Amendment rights by denying him access to certain
publications that contained nude photos. In response, defendants explained that they
banned sexually explicit materials for legitimate penological reasons and provided
internal review for any decisions prohibiting a prisoner from receiving a specific
103 Poulakis v. Rogers, 341 F. App’x 523, 527‐28 (11th Cir. 2009) (listing relevant cases).
104 117 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 1997).
publication. During oral argument, defense counsel conceded that a blanket ban on
nude photographs would be unconstitutional.105 Because the policy at issue in Owen,
which the Eleventh Circuit upheld, was not a blanket ban, the Eleventh Circuit’s
acknowledgment of defense counsel’s concession is dicta.106 “The law cannot be
established by dicta. Dicta is particularly unhelpful in qualified immunity cases where
we seek to identify clearly established law.”107
PLN’s remaining citations to pre‐Turner cases and sole citation to a post‐Turner
Supreme Court case are equally misguided. The majority of PLN’s cited cases predate
Turner and therefore applied a less deferential approach to prison regulations. 108
Consequently, a prison regulation on incoming materials that would have been
unconstitutional under Martinez could nonetheless be permissible under Turner. PLN’s
sole citation to Supreme Court authority post‐Turner, Thornburgh v. Abbott,109 stands for
the simple proposition that publishers have a First Amendment right to communicate
105 Id. at 1237 n.4.
106 Gray v. Cannon, 974 F. Supp. 2d 1150, 1162 (N.D. Ill. 2013).
107 Hamilton v. Cannon, 80 F.3d 1525, 1530 (11th Cir. 1996); see also In re United States, 60 F.3d 729,
731 (11th Cir. 1995) (“Statements of dicta are not part of the law of the case.”); United States v.
Teague, 953 F.2d 1525, 1535 (11th Cir. 1992) (“[D]icta is inherently unreliable for what a court
will don once faced with a question squarely and once its best thoughts, along with briefs and
oral argument, are focused on the precise issue.”) (Edmonson, J., concurring).
108 See Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 409.
with inmates subject to the Turner reasonableness standard.110 Accordingly, these cases
did not provide Defendants with fair notice that their publication ban was
constitutionally deficient given their own penological interests and the current state of
Indeed, the very nature of the fact‐specific Turner analysis tends to undermine
PLN’s position. For example, in Beard v. Banks,111 the Supreme Court considered a First
Amendment challenge to a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”) policy
that wholly denied certain inmates access to newspapers, magazines, and
photographs.112 The Secretary of the DOC offered several justifications for the policy,
“including the need to motivate better behavior on the part of particularly difficult
prisoners, the need to minimize the amount of property they control in their cells, and
the need to ensure prison safety, by, for example, diminishing the amount of material a
prisoner might use to start a cell fire.”113 Because the Supreme Court found the
publication ban was reasonably related to the DOC’s legitimate penological purpose of
incentivizing better behavior, it did not reach the remaining justifications, which largely
mirror Defendants’ own. Although the Supreme Court noted that “if faced with
110 Id. at 408.
111 548 U.S. 521 (2006).
112 Id. at 524‐25.
113 Id. at 530.
evidence … [of] a de facto permanent ban … we might reach a different conclusion in a
challenge to a particular application of the regulation,” this ambiguous dictum did not
put Defendants on fair notice that their own rationale was unconstitutional.114
Based on the foregoing precedent, the Court concludes that Defendants’ policy
was not so far‐fetched that its illegality was necessarily obvious to a reasonable prison
official. Rather, it was based on content‐neutral criteria and left little discretion for Jail
officials. Further, the policy was ostensibly grounded in concerns for prison order and
security. In short, the unlawfulness of the publication ban was not clearly established.
Defendants are therefore entitled to qualified immunity as to this First Amendment
2. Procedural Due Process
The Jail’s notice and appeal policy violates PLN’s Fourteenth Amendment
rights by failing to provide PLN with minimum procedural due process. As discussed
above, Martinez set forth the three safeguards required each time mail is censored by a
correctional facility: (1) notice; (2) an opportunity to protest that decision; and (3)
referral to a prison official other than the original decisionmaker.115 This case, decided
almost forty years ago, clearly and explicitly established the minimum procedural
114 Id. at 535 (quoting Overton, 539 U.S. at 134.) (emphasis added).
115 Martinez, 416 U.S. at 402.
process a jail must provide under the Fourteenth Amendment in the context of mail
censorship. Here, Defendants failed to provide PLN with any constitutionally‐
required process for approximately two‐thirds of its censored non‐postcard mail. A
reasonable official in Defendants’ position would have understood that this policy
violated procedural due process. Accordingly, Defendants are not shielded by
qualified immunity, and PLN is entitled to recover damages for this constitutional
b) Equitable Relief
Finally, the Court must decide whether to issue injunctive or declaratory relief
for Defendants’ unconstitutional publication policy and notice and appeal policy.
Before reaching this matter, however, the Court must first assess whether Defendants’
revised publication policy and practices render PLN’s request for relief moot. The
Court does not address the constitutionality of the revisions, however, because PLN did
not challenge the revised policy in an amended complaint.116
1. Defendants’ Mootness Defense
“[A] federal court has no authority to give opinions upon moot questions or
abstract propositions, or to declare principles or rules of law which cannot affect the
116 See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15. Cf. Prison Legal News v. McDonough, 200 F. App’x 873, 878 (11th Cir.
2006) (declining to offer opinion on constitutionality of department of corrections revised rule).
matter in issue in the case before it.”117 A claim is moot “when the issues presented are
no longer live or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.”118 In
other words, “[i]f events that occur subsequent to the filing of a lawsuit … deprive the
court of the ability to give the plaintiff … meaningful relief, then the case is moot and
must be dismissed.”119 Indeed, mootness deprives a court of its jurisdiction as “[a]ny
decision on the merits of a moot case or issue would be an impermissible advisory
As a general rule, a “defendant’s voluntary cessation of allegedly unlawful
conduct ordinarily does not suffice to moot a case.”121 Rather, “a defendant claiming
that its voluntary compliance moots a case bears the formidable burden of showing that
it is absolutely clear the allegedly wrongful behavior could not reasonably be expected
to recur.”122 However, the Eleventh Circuit has often given government actors “more
leeway than private parties in the presumption that they are unlikely to resume illegal
117 Church of Scientology of Cal. v. United States, 506 U.S. 9, 12 (1992) (quotation marks omitted).
118 United States Parole Comm’n v. Geraghty, 445 U.S. 388, 396 (1980) (internal quotation marks and
119 Al Najjar v. Ashcroft, 273 F.3d 1330, 1335‐36 (11th Cir. 2001) (per curiam).
121 Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs., 528 U.S. 167, 174 (2000).
122 Id. at 190.
activities” because of their role as public servants—not self‐interested private parties.123
The Eleventh Circuit has called this a “rebuttable presumption” or a “lesser burden.”124
In general, “[t]his presumption is particularly warranted in cases where the government
repealed or amended a challenged statute or policy—often a clear indicator of
“[O]nce a government actor establishes unambiguous termination of the
challenged conduct, the controversy will be moot in the absence of some reasonable
basis to believe that the policy will be reinstated if the suit is terminated.”126 In
determining whether the government actor has carried his initial burden, the Court
considers among other factors (1) “whether the termination of the offending conduct
was unambiguous;” (2) “whether the change in government policy or conduct appears
to be the result of substantial deliberation, or is simply an attempt to manipulate
jurisdiction;” and (3) “whether the government has consistently applied a new policy or
adhered to a new course of conduct.”127 “The timing and content of the cessation
decision are also relevant in evaluating whether the defendant’s stopping of the
123 Doe v. Wooten, 747 F.3d 1317, 1322 (11th Cir. 2014).
124 Id. (internal quotations omitted).
126 Id. (internal quotation omitted).
127 Id. at 1322‐23 (internal quotations and quotation marks omitted).
challenged conduct is sufficiently unambiguous.”128 A court is “more likely to find a
reasonable expectation of recurrence when the challenged behavior constituted a
continuing practice or was otherwise deliberate.”129
Having considered these factors, the Court concludes that Defendants have not
unambiguously terminated the publication policy that deprived PLN of its
constitutional rights; therefore PLN’s request for equitable relief is not moot. Although
Defendants have memorialized their revised publication policy in written form, it is not
absolutely clear that their challenged conduct has permanently ceased. To begin, the
timing of Defendants’ policy changes creates ambiguity.130 The policy changes were not
made before litigation was threatened, but after PLN brought suit.131 Consequently, this
fact suggests that Defendants “changed course simply to deprive the court of
jurisdiction, which itself prevents us from finding the controversy moot.”132
Further, the Court has no means of determining whether any of the
aforementioned changes were the result of substantial deliberation. Defendants did not
129 Id. at 1323.
130 Rich v. Sec’y, Fla. Dep’t. of Corrs., 716 F.3d 525, 531‐32 (11th Cir. 2013).
131 See Revised Jail P&P 5.16 [Doc 21, pp. 39‐42]; Jager v. Douglas Cnty. Sch. Dist., 862 F.2d 824,
833‐34 (11th Cir. 1989) (finding a claim was not mooted by the school district’s voluntary
cessation of the challenged activity in part because the change was only made when there was
an “imminent threat of [a] lawsuit”).
132 Harrell v. The Florida Bar, 608 F.3d 1241, 1267 (11th Cir. 2010).
provide any insight into their deliberation process; they offered only vague
explanations for their policy changes. When one Jail employee, Captain John Minton,
was questioned about the revised publication policy, Minton vaguely responded that
“[i]t had come up that we were looking into this and maybe ordering some magazine
subscriptions. And so I said, well, let me do a survey and see what they want to get and
I got the go‐ahead.”133 However, Captain Minton could not recall who came up with
the idea for the survey or whether it had anything to do with the instant action.134 “As a
result, we have no idea whether [Defendants’] decision was ‘well‐reasoned’ and
therefore likely to endure.”135
Defendants’ inconsistent and seemingly confused implementation of the revised
publication policy also casts doubt on their future conduct. Defendants now provide
locally‐purchased magazines for inmate consumption; however, it is not entirely clear
to the Court how or if Defendants have circulated these publications among the Jail’s
population. It appears the Jail originally purchased six to seven magazines on a
monthly basis for distribution among the twelve cell blocks, but it now purchases
133 Bench Trial Transcript, 81: 12‐16.
134 Id. at 81:19‐23.
135 Harrell, 608 F.3d at 1266‐67 (“[I]f a governmental entity decides in a clandestine or irregular
manner to cease a challenged behavior, it can hardly be said that its ‘termination’ of the
behavior is unambiguous.”).
twelve magazines—only one for each cell block.136 Although Defendant Harris testified
that these magazines are rotated among the cell blocks on a monthly basis, Captain
Minton also stated that there is usually “nothing left” of a magazine at the end of the
month.137 At the very least, this testimony suggests inconsistent application of the
revised publication policy, which in turn suggests that Defendants have not defined
their new course of conduct.138
Finally, Defendants “continue to press … that the voluntarily ceased conduct
should be declared constitutional” and have “never promised not to resume the prior
practice.”139 There is nothing to suggest Defendants will not simply reinstitute their
original policy and practices in the future. Accordingly, on this record, the Court
concludes that PLN’s request for equitable relief is not moot.
PLN seeks both declaratory relief as to the constitutionality of the challenged
policies and injunctive relief as to their enforcement. The Supreme Court has observed
that “[o]rdinarily … the practical effect of [injunctive and declaratory] relief will be
136 Harris Dep., pp. 23‐24, 32; Bench Trial Transcript, 59:1‐4, 74:20‐24, 83:23‐25.
137 Bench Trial Transcript, 60:5‐9, 84:7‐10.
138 See, e.g., Kikumura v. Turner, 28 F.3d 592, 597 (7th Cir. 1994) (requests for injunctive and
declaratory relief not moot where prison policies at issue “ebbed and flowed throughout the
course of the litigation”).
139 See Jager, 862 F.2d at 833‐34; see also Harrell, 608 F.3d at 1267.
virtually identical.”140 “In order to receive declaratory or injunctive relief, plaintiffs
must establish that there was a violation, that there is a serious risk of continuing
irreparable injury if the relief is not granted, and the absence of an adequate remedy at
law.”141 In addition, the Court must tailor PLN’s relief in accordance with the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 18 U.S.C. § 3626. In pertinent part, the PLRA
Prospective relief in any civil action with respect to prison conditions
shall extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the
Federal right of a particular plaintiff or plaintiffs. The court shall not
grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that such
relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct
the violation of the Federal right, and is the least intrusive means
necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right. The court shall
give substantial weight to any adverse impact on public safety or the
operation of a criminal justice system caused by the relief.142
The decision to grant or deny relief is an action of equitable discretion by the Court.143
Based on the violations outlined above and the nature of PLN’s injury, the Court
grants PLN’s request for declaratory relief. While some incidental inhibitions of First
Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights may be afforded an adequate remedy
at law, the type of broad, direct conduct in this particular case cannot be cured by an
140 Doran v. Salem Inn, Inc., 422 U.S. 922, 930‐31 (1975).
141 Bolin v. Story, 225 F.3d 1234, 1242 (11th Cir. 2000)
142 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a).
143 eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006).
award of monetary damages alone.144 Accordingly, the Court hereby DECLARES that
Defendants’ absolute prohibition on inmates’ individual receipt of publications violates
the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Court also DECLARES
that Defendants’ notice and appeal policy, which only applies to postcards, violates the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
In light of these declarations, the Court concludes that injunctive relief is neither
necessary nor appropriate.145 “At the conclusion of a successful federal challenge to a …
statute or local ordinance [or policy], a district court can generally protect the interests
of a federal plaintiff by entering a declaratory judgment, and therefore the stronger
injunctive medicine will be unnecessary.”146 This course of action provides PLN
complete relief without requiring the Court to become “enmeshed in the minutiae of
After considering the evidence and applicable law, the Court makes the Findings
of Fact and Conclusions of Law as stated herein. The Court DIRECTS the Clerk of
Court to enter Judgment as follows:
In favor of Defendants on PLN’s First Amendment claim as to Defendants’
144 See KH Outdoor, LLC v. City of Trussville, 458 F.3d 1261, 1272 (11th Cir. 2006).
145 See, e.g., Spellman, 142 F. Supp. 2d at 1326.
146 Doran v. Salem Inn, 422 U.S. 922, 931 (1975) (material in brackets added).
147 Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 562 (1979).
In favor of PLN on its First Amendment claim as to Defendants’ original
publication policy and PLN’s Fourteenth Amendment due process claim.
a. The Court DECLARES that Defendants’ absolute prohibition on inmates’
receipt of publications through the mail violates the First Amendment to the
United States Constitution.
b. The Court also DECLARES that Defendants’ notice and appeal policy, which
only applies to postcards, violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
In light of the foregoing, the Court will promptly schedule a jury trial to
determine the value of PLN’s damages as to its procedural due process claim.
SO ORDERED, this 26th day of August, 2014.
S/ C. Ashley Royal
C. ASHLEY ROYAL, CHIEF JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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