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Jail The Jailers!

Jail The Jailers! image
Parent Issue
Day
1
Month
October
Year
1971
OCR Text

On these pages we 're reprinting two documents involved in John's suit against conditions and nis treatment at Jackson State Prison. First are excerpts from the suit itself , detailing the instances of harassment, etc. Following that is the Michigan Attorney General's office's brief moving to dismiss the suit on some pretty strange grounds. The second document is for real, believe it or not. We heard just before going to press that Federal Judge Feikens overruled the motion to dismiss, and the case will be going to trial soon. Stay tuned to the SUN for futher developments. . . UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISIÓN John Sinclair, Plaintiff, --vs - PERRY JOHNSON, Warden of the Southern Michigan State Prison, Jackson, Michigan; individually and in his official capacity; GUS HARRISON, Director of Corrections, individually and in his official capacity; THEIR AGENTS, ASSISTANTS, ASSIGNS, EMPLOYEES and SUCCESSORS, Defendants COMPLAINT Plaintiff, Jogn Sinclair, is a resident of the State of Michigan and a citizen of the United States. He is Chairman of the White Panther Party, a national politie al party devoted to radical politie al, economie and social change within society. He is presently incarcerated in the Southern Michigan State Prison, Jackson, Michigan pursuant to a commitment of the Recorder's Court, City of Detroit, for a sentence of 9 12 - 10 years for the possession of two marijuana cigarettes. . . . DEFENDANTS Defendant PERRY JOCNSON is the Warden of Southern Michigan State Prison, Jackson, Michigan, to whose immediate custody plaintiff is committed, Defendant GUS HARRISON is the Head of Department of Corrections, State of Michigan, and is ultimately responsible for the administration of the state prison system. At all times relevant to this action, Defendants were acting under authority of color of law of the statutes of the State of Michigan. F ACTS 1. Plaintiff was first incarcerated in the State Prison of Southern Michigan Jackson, Michigan. . . on or about July 29, 1969. After an initial period at Jackson, Plaintoff was transferred to the State Prison of Northern Michigan, Marquette, Michigan. . . on or about September 16, 1969. During virtually all times at Jackson during this period, Plaintiff was segregated from the general prison population. 2. Plaintiff was transferred from Jackson to Marquette for " his political position and ideas, " and was advised by Defendant JOHNSON that " he was absolutely f ree to tt. 'nk and believe as he saw fit as long as he ketrf his political viev i and ideas to himself . . . " (See Appendix A). The transfer to Marquette was accomplished not withstanding Plaintiff's objection that it worked an intolerable travel hardship on his f amily and attorneys. 5. In August, 1970, some Black prisoners at Marquette formed together and called themselves the Society for the Advancement of Educational and Rehabilitative Opportunities (S. A. E. R. O. ). One of the group's requests was the addition of a course iu Black Studies to the prison curriculum. This request was denied by prison officials. Some of the Black prisoners decided to strike for one day to dramatize and protest the summary rejection of their request. On or about September 7, 1970, before any protest had occurred, a number of Black prisoners and Plaintiff were dragged out of their cells ( and segregated ) in a separate cell block. Plaintoff was never formally notified of any charges against him. No hearing was ever held. Plaintoff had not organized or helped plan any of the activities of the S.A.E.R. O. . 6. On or about September 10, 191G, Plaintoff was transferred back to Jackson and put in a segregation cell block. Approximately one week later, without any notice, Plaintiff was called into a meeting with a " prison board " and verbally accused of being involved in the unrest of Black inmates at Marquette. Deputy Warden Charles E. Egeler then informed Plaintiff that a decisión had been made to keep him " permanently segregated " in the segregation cell block on the basis of his suspected involvement in the activities at Marquette. . . . ( The Black inmates who had been transferred f rom Marquette to Jackson with John Sinclair, all officers of the S. A. E. R. O. - Leon Morgan, William Cherry, Eddie Greene, Robert Shipp, and David Moore - were released into general population, trustee división, or the psychiatrie clinic; Sinclair was the only prisoner connected with the Marquette action to be kept in segregation at Jackson )„ 9. On or about November 10, 1970, Plaintiff was removed f rom his segregation in 5 Block West. Said change in custody imposed substantially more onerous conditions of confinement on Plaintiff. The charges against Plaintiff were allegedly " a violation of an order by the Department of Corrections given Mr. Sinclair in August, 1969, and the typewriter rules given to Mr. Sinclair when his typewriter was registered. " The substance of the allegations in support of this charge were that " Mr. Sinclair has been writing material for radical groups in the institution. " 11. During this period of incarceration at Jackson in September, 1970, Plaintiff has been subjected to continuous unconstitutional, unlawful, arbifcrary, capricious, and vindictive treatment with regard to his mail privileges; his visitor privileges; his cliënt Communications. Actions are taken by def endants for which no reasons are given; rules and regulations change unexplainably; Defendants refuse to show allegedly existing rules and regulations to both plaintiff and his counsel. 14. The aforesaid action of Defendant and of his agents are not justif ied by any legitimate, compeling state interest, and are not necessarily r elated to siderations of institutional security, but are part of a pattern and practice to harass, intimídate and punish Plaintiff in an unconstitutional and unlawful manner. 15. As a direct and proximate result of tlie malicious and intentional acts of Defendants, their agents, assistants, assigns, employees and successors, Plaintoff has suffered continuing deprivation of his civil rights under the First, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, f inancial loss, humiliation, mental and emotional pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of lif e and liberty, all past, present and future. 16. These actions by Defendants are of a continuing and ever changing nature and there is no adequate remedy at law. Unless the relief requested herein is granted, Plaintiff will continue to suffer irreparable injury. SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFS 1 & 2 m SUPPORT OF MOT ION TO DISMISS In Oliscase, as in all the scores of other entirely similar. . . . alleged "Civil Rights" actions which have come and gone bef ore the District Court, we properly assume that the Court will take the customary judicial notice of the extensive Michigan statutory law which at once izes and controls the state prison operation that is here so multifariousiy assaüed by plaintiff"Messiah"("af Marijuana") one of the apotheistic titles idolatrousju bestpwed upon the Court's immature "constitutional" supplicant here (now nearing 30) by his "believing " band of 20-year-old (and less) disciples of the "grass " cultureX We have indeed, libe ally and legitimately, exercised the prerogative of critical observation and comment, in our original and supplemental briefs, in order to nullify counsels repetitious counterfeiting of plaintiff as a "political leader" and "Founderof the White Panthers Party. "We ask the Court to take judicial notice that, legally, there neither is, nor ever has been, such a "Party" in existence. (The filing of a 3-dollar Assumed Name Certifícate "doesn't make it", boys and girls. ) As f or the "political leader" whom these respondents so fear that they resort to segragation in order to punish him for his "political beliefs", our official Department file contains a "Free Sinclair" petition, actually circulated in prison , on the back of which is the Sinclair-composed "platform" of the would-be, so-called White Panther (now People's Rainbow) " Party". Our mention of two of its "planks" should be enough to demónstrate why the oveipowering "intellect" behind all this, strikes fear into our "political" hearts:". . . 6. We want to f ree all structures form cor por ate rule, and turn the buildings, over to the people at once!... 10. We want free land, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free music, free medical care, free education, free media UVERYTKING FREE FOR EvTirP BODY!" (Another Huzzah, if the Court will permit us. That incredibly boyish tripe sounds as though it was "composed" by the plaintiff in a child's tree house. On the other hand, maybe only the tree itself suggests the proper imagery for such wonderful "political" monkeyshines. This is the stuff of our "fear"? No, our proper fear of plaintiff, as the official Department (prison ) file. . . . would , and will, conclusively attest, is a valid app rehensiveness of his exercising (as he has) his uniquely malignent influence, deviously(under the guise of "beautifull" coalitions, etc. , for "social betterment," "Humanities, " "Black studies, " etc. ) to goad other more gullible and less perceptive prisoners("We are ready to die for our beliefs") into strikes, confromtations, and (hopefully) riots wherein death abounds. This is the "War" he has declared, in writing , upon us. Certain things must be said, if only in incidental aid of the Court's proper perspective as to the pretentious "political" allegations of plaintiff, The entii-e White Panther, or People's RafnüöW, "Party", in "na.tional" convention with all its members attending, could comf ortably as - semble in the gentlemens wash-room of Detroit1 s Greyhound Bus Depot. Apart f rom its suitable compactness, the latter facility (it must of course be conceded) would offer another and more striking appropriateness, artistically and ideologically, as a convention "site". For all the great White Panther'Tarty" speeches of the (brief) past, present and future, are already actuaüy there, indelibly inscribed among other quaint and colorful muráis. Yes, because defendants are all too prison-familiar with graffiti, the "politics" of the White Panther 'Tarty" holds no "fear of the unknown" for us. Indeed the essential "political" characteristic of the "Party" is thatTit has "wholesomely" taken such graffiti from their erstwhile latrine limbo, and transposed them into the public "forum"of our market places, where the ears of an everday and unwilling citizenry are amplifier-assailed with the sgrieking of these obscenities. We have their wo word, and the word of Court- sanctivied plaintiff's counsel, for it. To be realistic in any serious political sense, it is not enough to say that the White Panther (People's Rainbow)"Party" is a mere laugh. B is a monumental and uproariqus guffaw. We proceed to quotation, in full or pertinent part as applicable , af certain statutes specifically herein involved. .... 800. 55: "A school shaU be tained in each prison for the instruction of convicts confined therein. ft shall be conducted under such regulations jas may be approvëd by_ the board of We prisonin which maintálñed. (Emphasis added) The "Schools" statute last above fluoted , has been inserted to give proper prison-law perspective (on the subject as the who, alone and exclusively, has the prerogative of establishing prison "schoof programs; except to make proper written requests, prisoners have no active part therein; they can not lawfully (especially collectively), protest, "conf ront, " engage in a sit-down, or otherwise strike) to the admitted involvement of plaintiff ( actually. as evidence in his prison file discloses, he had a much deeper and more disruptive complicity, that of a ringleader) in the dangerous "black-studies"mass confrontation at Marquette Prison, which was scheduled to be followed by an inmate strike ( averted only by prison-transfer of the ringleaders, including plaintiff). Whether it be mad arrogance or naivete( whatever it is, it has no connection with either law or prison reality), plaintiff plainly disclosed in his September 9, 1970 letter to his wife, that he arbitrarily views the prison community as just another open societal one, wherein, once he magnanimously decided Jthat the (Marquette) black studies protest was "just", thereupon he and "the brothers"( Black Panthers) would constitutionally "First it" to the f ormation of a black" orgaruzation("Coalition"), actually committed to (prison) administration action. He means it too. Would that Cervantes were here to teil it againt Por, not a whit less per spie ac iou , politie ally - indeed, perhaps more so . as witness(Plaintiff's) impassioned, but ever sage, triune huzzah: "Power to the People of the Woodstock Nation", "Right on!", and "Venceremos", endlessly iterated and reiterated (like the puerile "protests" of his fatuous and feculent "flock") - than the wildly improbable La Mancha original himself, our own insatiably ego-centric "Don Q", with many more (and more literate and legalistic, of course) Sanchos, obsequiously assembling to his recurrent rally cali, has absolutely "everything going for him"in both his dream of revolutionary conquest, and his "case" here, except a spavined horse; So let us all get "with it". Right onl Michigan state prison laws and regulations are just that many more of those ever-offending windmills. Tilt, John Boy! The Michigan Attorney General's office has revealed in the course of this Brief that prison officials have photocopied out-going correspondence between John Sinclair and his family, his attorneys, and Federal court officials, particularly U. S. District Judge Damon Keith, which copies have been entered into the recordin thes case as Exhibits by Assistant Attorney General Mullaney, the author of the literary masterpieces quoted above.