Case: Ross v. Scurr

4:80-00214 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa

Filed Date: May 15, 1980

Closed Date: March 13, 1981

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1980, Native American prisoners at the Iowa State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa against the Iowa Division of Adult Corrections and the Warden, Director of Security, and corrections officers at the Penitentiary. The plaintiffs, who were represented by the Native American Rights Fund, alleged violations of their First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to en…

In 1980, Native American prisoners at the Iowa State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa against the Iowa Division of Adult Corrections and the Warden, Director of Security, and corrections officers at the Penitentiary. The plaintiffs, who were represented by the Native American Rights Fund, alleged violations of their First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to enjoin the Penitentiary to provide inmates with access to a sweat lodge for religious purposes. One of the plaintiffs also sought the return of certain legal and religious papers, which he alleged the prison had confiscated, and asked for money damages.

On March 13, 1981, the court (Judge W.C. Stewart) approved a consent decree, under which the defendants agreed to find and return the missing legal and religious materials ff and to reimburse the plaintiff for any lost items. The State also agreed to allow a sweat lodge to be constructed on the grounds of the Iowa State Penitentiary. Prison officials, however, retained the authority to schedule visits to the sweat lodge, to decide where the lodge could be built, and to temporarily suspend access to the sweat lodge when necessary.

We do not have the docket in this case and have no information on any subsequent litigation. Presumably the case is over, or at least long dormant.

Summary Authors

Rebekah Henn Sullivan (8/16/2005)

People


Judge(s)

Stuart, William Corwin (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Allen, Gordon E. (Iowa)

Blue Dog, Kurt V. (Colorado)

Echo-Hawk, Walter R. (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Mann, Thomas Jr. (Iowa)

Judge(s)

Stuart, William Corwin (Iowa)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Allen, Gordon E. (Iowa)

Blue Dog, Kurt V. (Colorado)

Echo-Hawk, Walter R. (Colorado)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Mann, Thomas Jr. (Iowa)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:80-00214

Consent Judgment

March 13, 1981

March 13, 1981

Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated Sept. 6, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Iowa

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 15, 1980

Closing Date: March 13, 1981

Case Ongoing: Perhaps, but long-dormant

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

American Indian prisoners of the Iowa State Penitentiary seeking to restrain prison officials from denying them their right to the reasonable exercise of their native Indian religion and requesting access to a traditional Indian sweat lodge at the prison

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Iowa State Penitentiary, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Procedural Due Process

Free Exercise Clause

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1981 - 1981

Issues

General:

Loss or damage to property

Religious programs / policies

Type of Facility:

Government-run