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Judges order good-time credit reinstated

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The head inmate law clerk at an Indiana correctional facility is entitled to the 30 days of good-time credit that the prison revoked after finding he used the library’s computers without authorization. But the inmate was just following orders from prison library staff, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals pointed out.

As head inmate law clerk at the Putnamville Correctional Facility, Eric Grandberry assisted other inmates who needed support with problems arising from their custody. One library staff member asked him to download and fill out a petition to stop child support; another staff employee asked him to get and fill out forms that her daughter could use to apply for a divorce. Grandberry fulfilled those requests.

Prison officials accused him of unauthorized alteration, use or possession of any electronic device, moved him to solitary confinement and revoked 30 days of his good-time credits.

The 7th Circuit noted that the record does not contain evidence that Grandberry used the library’s computers without authorization. The Indiana Department of Correction maintains that Grandberry should not have followed the staff’s directives, which the judges found surprising.

“Prisons regularly contend that prisoners must obey all orders. … It would ill serve the interests of the Indiana Department of Correction to tell prisoners (as the Department’s appellate brief insists) that they are not only entitled but also required to disobey orders that should not have been given. In such a regime prisoners undoubtedly would become creative in finding justifications for disobedience. Far better to have a norm of compliance; then staff members, rather than the prisoners, get to decide in the first instance which orders are proper and must be followed. If the library staff gave Grandberry improper orders, the penalty should fall on the staff members,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in Eric Grandberry v. Brian Smith, superintendent, Plainfield Correctional Facility, 12-2081.

The 7th Circuit remanded with instructions to issue a writ of habeas corpus restoring the good-time credits.
 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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