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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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