Court Rules Prison Violated Inmate's Rights

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A federal appeals court has ruled that Nevada prison officials violated the constitutional rights of inmates by taking unauthorized deductions from their personal accounts.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said prison officials also took unauthorized retaliatory action against two inmates fired from prison jobs after refusing to give up rights to interest earned on their accounts and refusing to consent to unauthorized deductions.

The court ruled Tuesday in favor of inmates Daniel Vance and Timothy Johnson, who challenged the 1994 policy of the prison and sued prison officials and former Gov. Bob Miller.

Robert Brundage, a San Francisco lawyer who handled the case for the two inmates, said that unless the state appeals, the case will go back to the federal district court in Reno for further hearings on the inmates' damage claims.

Tom Sargent, spokesman for the state attorney general's office, said the ruling involves an unfinished case because there will be further hearings before U.S. District Judge Dave Hagen.

Vance and Johnson, both serving life terms for murder from Washoe County, lost their prison jobs when they refused to sign a release stating they would forgo the interest earned on their accounts and allow the prison to deduct any expense incurred by the prison on the inmate's behalf whether it was voluntary or involuntary.


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