Prison Legal News v. Sacramento County, CA Jail Censorship Preliminary Injunction Order, 2011
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Case 2:11-cv-00907-JAM -DAD Document 49 Filed 03/08/12 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a project of ) the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) COUNTY OF SACRAMENTO; SCOTT R. ) JONES, individually and in his ) capacity as Sheriff of the ) County of Sacramento; DOES 1-20, ) in their individual and official ) capacities, ) ) Defendants. ) ) Case No. 2:11-CV-00907 JAM-DAD ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION Judge: Date: Time: Crtrm.: Hon. John A. Mendez March 7, 2012 9:30 a.m. 6 On March 7, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. this matter came on regularly 21 for a hearing in Courtroom 6, Fourteenth Floor, of this Court, the 22 Honorable John A. Mendez presiding. 23 pleadings, the arguments of counsel, and the entire record in this 24 case, and good cause existing therefor, 25 THE COURT HEREBY FINDS AND ORDERS: 26 Plaintiff Prison Legal News (“PLN”) has demonstrated a Having considered the parties’ 27 likelihood of success on the merits of its First Amendment claim. 28 Defendants’ policies and practices including refusing to deliver 1 Case 2:11-cv-00907-JAM -DAD Document 49 Filed 03/08/12 Page 2 of 4 1 PLN publications and mailings to prisoners because they contained 2 staples and/or a mailing label are not supported by a legitimate 3 penological interest and do not leave open alternative means for 4 PLN to exercise its First Amendment rights. 5 PLN to be delivered to prisoners in the Sacramento County’s jails 6 would have very limited impact on guards and other inmates, and 7 there are obvious, easy alternatives to Defendants’ bans on PLN’s 8 staples and mailing labels. 9 exaggerated response to any security concerns posed by PLN. 10 Furthermore, allowing In short, Defendants’ policies are an Plaintiff has demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable 11 harm in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief and the 12 balance of hardships tips in Plaintiff’s favor. 13 Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, constitutes 14 irreparable injury. 15 established rights to send publications to prisoners. 16 a preliminary injunction will not cause irreparable harm to the 17 Defendants. 18 favor. 19 The loss of First Here, Defendants have infringed on Plaintiff’s The grant of The balance of equities therefore tips in Plaintiff’s Finally, the preliminary injunction set forth below is in the 20 public interest. 21 on PLN publications. 22 promotes the public interest. 23 Defendants’ policies operated as a de facto ban Protecting the constitutional rights of PLN The preliminary injunction set forth below is narrowly drawn, 24 extends no further than necessary to correct the harm to PLN the 25 Court finds requires preliminary relief, and is the least intrusive 26 means necessary to correct that harm. 27 28 In these circumstances, waiver of the bond requirement is appropriate because Plaintiff is a small non-profit organization 2 Case 2:11-cv-00907-JAM -DAD Document 49 1 Filed 03/08/12 Page 3 of 4 with limited resources. 2 3 4 5 6 ORDER 1. It is HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction is granted. 2. 7 DEFINITIONS: (a) As used herein, STAPLES shall mean the type of 8 light-duty small wire fasteners commonly used to attach a few 9 sheets of paper, and used by the Plaintiff to bind the sheets of 10 its monthly publication. 11 (b) As used herein, MAIL LABELS shall mean the type of 12 self-adhesive sticker used by PLN to affix an address to an item of 13 printed matter. 14 3. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants County of 15 Sacramento (the “County”) and Scott R. Jones, and their successors, 16 officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all 17 others in active concert or participation with them (hereinafter 18 referred to collectively as “Defendants”), shall not refuse to 19 deliver PLN publications or mailings to prisoners at the county’s 20 jails on the ground that these publications or mailings contain 21 STAPLES, PROVIDED that Defendants may comply by removing the 22 STAPLES. 23 4. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants shall not refuse to 24 deliver materials sent to prisoners from PLN because of MAILING 25 LABELS, PROVIDED that Defendants may comply by removing the MAILING 26 LABELS. 27 5. 28 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants shall provide adequate written notice and an administrative appeal process to PLN 3 Case 2:11-cv-00907-JAM -DAD Document 49 Filed 03/08/12 Page 4 of 4 1 when Defendants refuse to deliver PLN publications or mailings to 2 prisoners at the County’s jails. 3 6. 4 waived. 5 7. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the bond requirement is No person who has notice of this injunction shall fail to 6 comply with it, nor shall any person subvert the injunction by any 7 sham, indirection or other artifice. 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 8, 2012 ____________________________ JOHN A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4