Skip to comments.Ruling lets Arizona inmates write to Web sites - ACLU argued that ban violated right to free speech
Posted on 12/18/2002 2:25:53 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
Ruling lets Arizona inmates write to Web sites
ACLU argued that ban violated right to free speech
PHOENIX - A federal judge ordered the Department of Corrections to stop enforcing a policy forbidding Arizona inmates from corresponding with, or appearing on, Web sites.
U.S. District Judge Earl Carroll granted an injunction request by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop enforcement of the law, which is the subject of a pending lawsuit.
"Putting free speech behind bars simply because it concerns prisoners sets a dangerous precedent," said Arizona ACLU attorney David Fathi. "The court's decision makes clear that Arizona may not jail the Internet."
The statute, passed by the Legislature in 2000, makes it a misdemeanor for an inmate to communicate with Internet service providers, send a letter to a Web site or to a third party who then forwards it to a Web site or publishes it for the inmate.
Inmates can lose privileges, good-behavior credits or face other punishments for violations, corrections officials said.
The lawsuit was filed by the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty, which is represented by the ACLU.
The group contends that the law violates prisoners' constitutional right to free speech and attempts to suppress unfavorable opinions about the Corrections Department.
In his ruling, Judge Carroll wrote that protecting the First Amendment is a "compelling public interest."
Department of Corrections chief of staff Gary Phelps said that since the law went into effect, 53 inmates have been cited for violations. But until a final ruling is made on the case, those citations will not be dealt with or removed from prisoners' records.
He said the law is necessary because inmates use the Internet to defraud the public, contact minors and even plan escapes.
The department only investigates inmate Internet publications when information is brought to its attention.
"The Internet in general is difficult to police," Mr. Phelps said.
An increasing number of prisoners are going online to post their stories on Web sites.
Debra Jean Milke, the only woman on the state's Death Row, has a site proclaiming her innocence and soliciting donations for her defense. She was sentenced to die for having her 4-year-old son killed before Christmas 1989.
"The public will surely be disgusted with what they see on the Internet from murderers and rapists," said DOC spokesman Mike Arra. "Many people could, and are, preyed upon by inmates through their Internet games."
The state Legislature passed the 2000 law after being lobbied by Stardust Johnson, whose husband Roy - a University of Arizona music professor - was murdered after leaving a church recital he had given.
Mrs. Johnson was outraged when she came across a Web site that her husband's killer was using to solicit pen pals. The inmate Internet law was created in response to Mrs. Johnson.
Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.
Studies have shown that the vast majority of sociopaths and convicted felons are democrats. For real!!
No wonder the democrat party wants to do away with laws denying jailbird vermin the right to vote.
CAREER spl. counsel City of Tombstone, Ariz., 1962-65, Maricopa County, Phoenix, 1968-75, City of Tucson, 1974, City of Phoenix, 1979; designated mem. U.S. Fgn. Intelligence Surveillance Court by Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Ct., 1993-99; chief judge Alien Terrorist Removal Ct., 1996-01, 2001-.
POSITIONS HELD sr. judge, U.S. Dist. Ct. Ariz., Phoenix, 1994-; judge, U.S. Dist. Ct. Ariz., Phoenix, 1980-; ptnr., Evans, Kitchel & Jenckes, Phoenix, 1956-80; assoc., Evans, Kitchel & Jenckes, Phoenix, 1952-56; law clk., Ariz. Supreme Ct., Phoenix, 1951-52
BSBA, U. Ariz., 1948; LLB, U. Ariz., 1951
CERTIFICATES Bar: Ariz., U.S. Ct. Appeals (9th and 10th cirs.), U.S. Ct. of Claims, U.S. Supreme Ct.
CIVIC/MILITARY Mem. City of Phoenix Bd. of Adjustment, 1955-58; trustee Phoenix Elem. Sch. Bd., 1961-72; mem. Gov.'s Council on Intergovtl. Relations, Phoenix, 1970-73; mem. Ariz. Bd. Regents, 1978-80. Served with USNR, 1943-46; PTO
AWARDS Recipient Nat. Service awards Campfire, 1973, 75, Alumni Service award U. Ariz., 1980, Disting. Citizen award No. Ariz. U., Flagstaff, 1983, Bicentenial award Georgetown U., 1988, Disting. Citizen award U. Ariz., 1990, Sidney S. Woods Alumni Svc. award, 2000.
MEMBERSHIPS Fellow Am. Coll. Trial Lawyers, Am. Bar Found.; mem. ABA, Ariz. Bar Assn., U. Ariz. Law Coll. Assn. (pres. 1975), Sigma Chi (Significant Sig award 1991), Phi Delta Phi.
A Democrat, a fellow for the trial lawyers, and a 1980 Carter appointee. I am shocked.
On the web, Inmates who ran crime rings of any kind can get ahold of credit card number, stolen, or in the name of someone on the outside, order whatever to be shipped to wherever and never be identified as a being behind bars. They can organize shipments of drugs or other contraband, buy dealing with UPS, Greyhound, etc. as long as the credit card is in good standing. I know this from ordering stuff on the web for a blind neighbor using his credit card. These ACL-losers seem to use Arizona for a test market on these things.
Yes. A good ruling to be overtured.
Do you have a source for that?
No, the ACLU doesn't believe in your right to keep and bear arms.
I remember seeing statistics to that effect. I just typed in "felon 'Democratic Party'" to the Google search engine. I don't have time to go through the endless thousands of entries, but some were really funny.
I will give that a try. Thanks.