Friday, February 6, 2015

Pro se inmate wins two arguments in the Second Circuit

Inmates have a right to use the law library in prison. Not because the inmates are writing law review articles but because they are working on their criminal appeals. In this case, the inmate claims he was denied the right to use the library. The Court of Appeals agrees he might have a claim.

The case is Perez v. Arnone, a summary order decided on January 23. Perez brings this case under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which ensures "participation in a public entity's services." He sought an injunction in the district court, which denied that request. The Court of Appeals (Raggi, Kearse and Katzmann) sides with Perez, who wins this appeal pro se against the Connecticut Attorney General's office.

The Second Circuit says,
Perez provided evidence that the defendants deprived him of a computer, word processing programs for the visually impaired, adequate writing tools, envelopes for the blind, and an electronic magnifier. He also provided evidence that the Department of Corrections (“DOC”) deprived him of large print texts despite DOC regulations requiring that these materials be made available, and disputed the DOC’s assertion, in response to Perez’s preliminary injunction motion, that it had provided an electronic magnifier. Although the defendants provided evidence that they were working on providing word processing programs, there are factual issues as to whether the programs have been, or even could be, made meaningfully available to Perez.
 Perez also wins another argument on appeal, challenging the conditions of his confinement. This claim is separate and apart from the library claim. Perez says his anxiety disorder required that the jail provide him a single cell, without a cell-mate. He also argued that he got a single cell in New York prior to his transfer to Connecticut because of his mental health issues. "Although double-celling is not a per se Eighth Amendment violation, a full factual record is necessary to determine whtether double-celling a particular inmate is constitutional." The Court of Appeals orders the trial court to take up that issue on remand.

No comments: