Case: Spain v. Procunier

3:73-01293 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: Dec. 28, 1973

Closed Date: 1983

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 28, 1973, seven inmates at the Adjustment Center in the California State Prison in San Quentin, California filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the length and conditions of their confinement. In addition, they com…

On December 28, 1973, seven inmates at the Adjustment Center in the California State Prison in San Quentin, California filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the California Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as damages, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the length and conditions of their confinement. In addition, they complained of interference with their visitation and mailing privileges, access to counsel, access to the courts, and access to the media, as well as inadequate medical care, lack of an adequate and wholesome diet, and other allegedly repressive measures to their physical and emotional detriment.

On February 10, 1976, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Judge Alfonso J. Zirpoli) enjoined the prison from using neck chains, holding that the prisoners had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of their constitutional rights. Specifically, the court held that the prisoners' rights had been violated by continuous segregation of prisoners 24 hours per day except for meager out of cell movements, denial of fresh air and regular outdoor exercise, unwarranted and cruel use of tear gas to remove prisoners from their cells, and excessive use of physical restraints. Spain v. Procunier, 408 F.Supp. 534 (N.D.Cal. 1976). The defendants appealed.

On June 15, 1979, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Judge Anthony McLeod Kennedy) affirmed in part, reversing the district court's ruling that the use of mechanical restraints was unconstitutional and remanding the case back to the district court. Spain v. Procunier, 600 F.2d 189 (9th Cir. 1979).

Upon remand, the parties entered into a settlement. The settlement included a provision that the defendants would pay $70,000 in fees to the plaintiffs' attorneys, but soon after, the California Senate refused to appropriate the money to pay the fees. The Controller of the State of California appealed to the district court for orders adding certain State officials as party defendants and compelling them to pay the money. On March 10, 1981, the district court (Judge Zirpoli) added the necessary parties as defendants and ordered them to pay the funds with interest. The defendants appealed. On October 21, 1982, the Ninth Circuit (Judge Cecil F. Poole) affirmed the district court's order. Spain v. Mountanos, 690 F.2d 742 (9th Cir. 1982). We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (9/9/2006)

Megan Richardson (7/18/2014)

People


Judge(s)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Poole, Cecil F. (California)

Zirpoli, Alfonso Joseph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Halvonik, Paul (California)

Hiestand, Fred J (California)

Merin, Mark E. (California)

Zane, Gordon (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Svetcov, Sanford (California)

Younger, Evelle J. (California)

Judge(s)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Poole, Cecil F. (California)

Zirpoli, Alfonso Joseph (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Halvonik, Paul (California)

Hiestand, Fred J (California)

Merin, Mark E. (California)

Zane, Gordon (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Svetcov, Sanford (California)

Younger, Evelle J. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (Paper)

Oct. 5, 1984 Docket
171

Memorandum Opinion

408 F.Supp. 534

Feb. 10, 1976 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

600 F.2d 189

July 30, 1979 Order/Opinion

Reported Opinion

Spain v. Mountanos

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

690 F.2d 742

Oct. 21, 1982 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 28, 1973

Closing Date: 1983

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prison inmates alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement at state prison

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

San Quentin Adjustment Center, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1979 - 1983

Issues

General:

Access to lawyers or judicial system

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Mail

Recreation / Exercise

Restraints : chemical

Restraints : physical

Visiting

Medical/Mental Health:

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run