Case: McNamara v. Moody

9:75-cv-00259 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Filed Date: Dec. 15, 1975

Closed Date: 1979

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Case Summary

The plaintiff, an individual prisoner at the Glades Correctional Institution in Florida, brought a Section 1983 suit against two prison officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, alleged First Amendment violations by prison officials when they prevented him from mailing letters, including one to his girlfriend charging the mail censoring officer with having had intercourse with a cat. The District Court gr…

The plaintiff, an individual prisoner at the Glades Correctional Institution in Florida, brought a Section 1983 suit against two prison officials in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, alleged First Amendment violations by prison officials when they prevented him from mailing letters, including one to his girlfriend charging the mail censoring officer with having had intercourse with a cat.

The District Court granted the plaintiff injunctive relief, nominal damages against the mail censoring defendant individually, and attorney's fees. Defendant, represented by Assistant Attorney Generals Anthony J. Golden and Benedict P. Kuehne, appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

On November 15, 1979, the Court of Appeals (Judges John C. Godbold, Byron G. Skelton, and Alvin B. Rubin) affirmed. Writing for the court, Judge Godbold held that the prison official's censorship was unconstitutional because there was no substantial government interest, the letter's offensive language was not a breach of discipline, the letter was not obscene, and that libel would not be grounds for censorship. The court upheld the awards for nominal damages and attorney's fees against the mail censoring defendant. Judge Skelton dissented with respect to the award of attorney's fees against the defendant in his individual capacity in the absence of a showing of bad faith. McNamara v. Moody, 606 F.2d 621 (5th Cir. 1979).

Summary Authors

Chris Sullivan (8/8/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Skelton, Byron George (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lindsey, Hubert R. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Golden, Anthony J. (Florida)

Kuehne, Benedict Paul (Florida)

Judge(s)

Godbold, John Cooper (Louisiana)

Skelton, Byron George (Texas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lindsey, Hubert R. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Golden, Anthony J. (Florida)

Kuehne, Benedict Paul (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

77-02466

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

606 F.2d 621, 1979 U.S.App.LEXIS 10449

Nov. 15, 1979

Nov. 15, 1979

Order/Opinion

79-01605

Memorandum Decision

Moody v. McNamara

Supreme Court of the United States

447 U.S. 929, 100 S.Ct. 3028, 65 L.Ed.2d 1124

June 16, 1980

June 16, 1980

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 13, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 15, 1975

Closing Date: 1979

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Prisoner brought action against prison officials alleging that defendants violated his constitutional rights by refusing to mail a letter to his girlfriend

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Glades Correctional Institution (Belle Glades), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Mail

Type of Facility:

Government-run