Opinions & Commentaries

1963- On September 14, approximately 200 black and white demonstrators were arrested while picketing and protesting outside a segregated movie theater in downtown Tallahassee, FL. Later that night, in an act of solidarity with those who had been imprisoned, 99 Florida A & M students gathered in the driveway of the Leon County Jailhouse. The students sang and clapped until the sheriff ordered them to disperse. Over 100 students refused the order and were charged with violating Florida code section 821.18. Thirty-two students were subsequently convicted. Section 821.18 reads: "Every trespass upon the property of another, committed with a malicious and mischievous intent, the punishment of which is not specially provided for, shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding three months, or by fine not exceeding one hundred dollars." Fla. Stat. 821.18 (1965).

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These cases are here on cross-appeals from the judgment of a three-judge District Court in the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs in the District Court were four California prison inmates—Booker T. Hillery, Jr., John Larry Spain, Bobby Bly, and Michael Shane Guile—and three professional journalists—Eve Pell, Betty Segal, and Paul Jacobs. The defendants were Raymond K. Procunier, Director of the California Department of Corrections, and several subordinate officers in that department. The plaintiffs brought the suit to challenge the constitutionality, under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, of § 415.071 of the California Department of Corrections Manual, which provides that "[p]ress and other media interviews with specific individual inmates will not be permitted." They sought both injunctive and declaratory relief under 42 U. S. C. § 1983. Section 415.071 was promulgated by defendant Procunier under authority vested in him by § 5058 of the California Penal Code and is applied uniformly throughout the State's penal system to prohibit face-to-face interviews between press representatives and individual inmates whom they specifically name and request to interview. *820 In accordance with 28 U. S. C. §§ 2281 and 2284, a three-judge court was convened to hear the case.[1]

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Pursuant to regulations promulgated by the North Carolina Department of Correction, appellants prohibited inmates from soliciting other inmates to join appellee, the North Carolina Prisoners' Labor Union, Inc. (Union), barred all meetings of the Union, and refused to deliver packets of Union publications that had been mailed in bulk to several inmates for redistribution among other prisoners. The Union instituted this action, based on 42 U. S. C. § 1983, to challenge these policies. It alleged that appellants' efforts to prevent the operation of a prisoners' union violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of it and its members and that the refusal to grant the Union those privileges accorded several other organizations operating within the prison system deprived the Union of equal protection of the laws. A three-judge court was convened. After a hearing, the court found merit in the Union's free speech, association, and equal protection arguments, and enjoined appellants from preventing inmates from soliciting other prisoners to join the Union and from "refus[ing] receipt of the Union's publications on the ground that they are calculated to encourage membership in the organization or solicit joining." The court also held that the Union "shall be accorded the privilege of holding meetings under such limitations and control as are neutrally applied to all inmate organizations . . . ." 409 F. Supp. 937. We noted probable jurisdiction to consider whether the First and Fourteenth Amendments extend prisoner labor unions such protection. 429 U. S. 976. We have decided that they do not, and we accordingly reverse the judgment of the District Court.

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This case requires us to determine the constitutionality of regulations promulgated by the Missouri Division of Corrections relating to inmate marriages and inmate-to-inmate correspondence. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, applying a strict scrutiny analysis, concluded that the regulations violate respondents' constitutional rights. We hold that a lesser standard of scrutiny is appropriate in determining the constitutionality of the prison rules. Applying that standard, we uphold the validity of the correspondence regulation, but we conclude that the marriage restriction cannot be sustained.

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490 U.S. 401 (1989) THORNBURGH, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL. v. ABBOTT ET AL. No. 87-1344. Supreme Court of United States. Argued November 8, 1988 Decided May 15, 1989 CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT *402 Deputy Solicitor General Bryson argued the cause for petitioners. With him on the briefs were Solicitor General Fried, Acting Assistant Attorney General Dennis, Robert H. Klonoff, and Andrew Levchuk. Steven Ney argued the cause for respondents. With him on the brief were Edward I. Koren, Alvin J. Bronstein, and Steven R. Shapiro.[*] Briefs […]

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