[Pnews] Ashker v. Brown: Thursday, Feb 12, 2pm Hearing on Motion to add prisoners recently transferred from solitary at Pelican Bay

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Feb 9 12:12:23 EST 2015


*When:  Thursday, February 12, 2pm*
*Where:  1300 Clay Street, Room 2, 4th Floor, Oakland, CA*

Why:  The CDCR has been using the DRB review process and the chimerical 
Stepdown Program in an effort to get rid of the Ashker v. 
Brownclass-action—without meeting any of the Five Core Demands, and 
without making any meaningful changes to its policies and practices in 
validating or revalidating those who it indefinitely holds in its 
torture chambers.  We need the court to know that support for the 
30,000-plus in the SHUs who went on hunger strike in 2013 remains as 
strong as ever.

Regarding the February 12th hearing, the Center for Constitutional 
Rights' website announces:

Oral Arguments on our Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint 
will take place on February 12, 2015 in front of Judge Wilken in 
District Court in Oakland, CA.  Jules Lobel, CCR President, will be 
seeking permission to file a Supplemental Complaint to add a class of 
prisoners recently transferred from solitary confinement at Pelican Bay 
State Prison to another California solitary confinement unit.  As 
Plaintiffs have alleged in the proposed Supplemental Complaint, “the 
cruel and unusual treatment [the prisoners have] experienced, and its 
debilitating effects, have not abated, but instead continue under a 
different name in a different prison.


  Ashker v. Brown


    Synopsis

On May 31, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a 
federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison who 
have spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement.  The legal 
action is part of a larger movement to reform inhumane conditions in 
California prisons’ Security Housing Units (SHU), a movement sparked and 
dramatized by a 2011 hunger strike by thousands of SHU prisoners; the 
named plaintiffs include several leaders and participants from the 
hunger strike.  The class action suit, which is being jointly filed by 
CCR and several advocate and legal organizations in California, alleges 
that prolonged solitary confinement violates Eight Amendment 
prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, and that the absence 
of meaningful review for SHU placement violates the prisoners’ right to 
due process.

Learn more about the human impact of inhumane conditions. Read the 
hunger strikers's personal stories 
<http://ccrjustice.org/pelican-bay-prison-hunger-strikers>.


    Status

Oral Arguments on our Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint 
<http://ccrjustice.org/files/Ps%20Motion%20to%20File%20Supplemental%20Complaint%20and%20Proposed%20Supplemental%20Complaint%2012.12.14.pdf> 
will take place on February 12, 2015 in front of Judge Wilken in 
District Court in Oakland, CA 
<http://ccrjustice.org/get-involved/calendar/feb-12-2015-oral-arguments-ashker-v.-brown>.  
Jules Lobel, CCR President, will be seeking permission to file a 
Supplemental Complaint to add a class of prisoners recently transferred 
from solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison to another 
California solitary confinement unit.  As Plaintiffs have alleged in the 
proposed Supplemental Complaint, “the cruel and unusual treatment [the 
prisoners have] experienced, and its debilitating effects, have not 
abated, but instead continue under a different name in a different prison.”

Read our Fact Sheet 
<http://ccrjustice.org/files/CCR-Factsheet-Solitary-Confinement.pdf> on 
solitary confinement.

*Take Action!* 
<http://org.salsalabs.com/o/383/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=10462>Tell 
the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: Honor the 
demands of the prisoners in the Pelican Bay Security Housing Unit.


    Description

On May 31, 2012, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a 
federal lawsuit on behalf of prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison who 
have spent between 10 and 28 years in solitary confinement.  The legal 
action is part of a larger movement to reform inhumane conditions in 
California prisons’ Security Housing Units (SHU), a movement sparked and 
dramatized by a 2011 hunger strike by thousands of SHU prisoners; the 
named plaintiffs include several leaders and participants from the 
hunger strike.  The class action suit, which is being jointly filed by 
CCR and several advocate and legal organizations in California, alleges 
that prolonged solitary confinement violates Eight Amendment 
prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment, and that the absence 
of meaningful review for SHU placement violates the prisoners’ right to 
due process.

SHU prisoners spend 22 ½ to 24 hours every day in a cramped, concrete, 
windowless cell.  They are denied telephone calls, contact visits, and 
vocational, recreational or educational programming. Food is often 
rotten and barely edible, and medical care is frequently withheld.  More 
than 500 Pelican Bay SHU prisoners have been isolated under these 
devastating conditions for over 10 years, more than 200 of them for over 
15 years; and 78 have been isolated in the SHU for more than 20 years.  
This suit asserts that prolonged confinement under these conditions has 
caused harmful and predictable psychological deterioration among SHU 
prisoners. Solitary confinement for as little as 15 days is now widely 
recognized to cause lasting psychological damage to human beings and is 
analyzed under international law as torture.

Additionally, the suit alleges that SHU prisoners are denied any 
meaningful review of their SHU placement, rendering their isolation 
effectively permanent.  SHU assignment is an administrative act, 
condemning prisoners to a prison within a prison; it is not part of a 
person’s court-ordered sentence. California, alone among all fifty 
states and most other jurisdictions in the world, imposes extremely 
prolonged solitary confinement based merely on a prisoner’s alleged 
association with a prison gang.  Gang affiliation is assessed without 
considering whether a prisoner has ever undertaken an act on behalf of a 
gang or whether he is – or ever was – actually involved in gang 
activity.  Moreover, SHU assignments disproportionately affect Latinos. 
The percentage of Latino prisoners at the Pelican Bay SHU was 85% in 
2011.  The only way out of SHU isolation is to “debrief,” to inform on 
other prisoners,  placing those who do so and their families in 
significant danger of retaliation and providing those who are unable to 
debrief effectively no way out of SHU isolation.

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, California Prison Focus, 
Siegel & Yee, and the Law Offices of Charles Carbone are co-counsel on 
the case.

The case is /Ashker v. Brown/, and it seeks to amend an earlier pro se 
lawsuit filed by Pelican Bay SHU prisoners Todd Ashker and Danny 
Troxell.  The case is before Judge Claudia Wilken in the United States 
District Court for the Northern District of California.  The proposed 
Amended Complaint in the case appears below.

To learn more about the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike and prisoners’ rights 
issues in California, please visit the following websites:

*California Prison Focus:* http://www.prisons.org/

*Legal Services for Prisoners with Children:* 
http://www.prisonerswithchildren.org/

*Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity:* 
http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/

_*Additional Material:*_

Read the */Interim report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights 
Council on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or 
punishment /(PDF) 
<http://ccrjustice.org/files/UN-Special-Rapporteur-Report-on-Solitary.pdf>/./*


    Timeline

*May 31, 2012* - Amended Complaint 
<http://ccrjustice.org/files/Ruiz-Amended-Complaint-May-31-2012.pdf> was 
filed.

*December 17, 2012* - Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss was filed.

*January 17, 2013* - Plaintiffs’ Opposition to the Motion to Dismis was 
filed.

*April 9, 2013*  - Judge denied defendants’ Motion to Dismiss,

*May 2, 2013* - Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification was filed.

*September 26, 2013* - Hearing in the District Court for the Northern 
District of California on the Plaintiffs' Motion for Class 
Certification.  Plaintiffs seek to represent a class of over 1,000 
prisoners serving indeterminate SHU sentences at the Pelican Bay SHU on 
the basis of gang validation, none of whom have been or will be afforded 
meaningful review or procedurally adequate review of their confinement, 
in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and 
a subclass of prisoners who are now, or will be in the future, held in 
solitary confinement at the Pelican Bay SHU for longer than 10 
continuous years, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

*June 2, 2014* - Judge granted Class Certification.

*December 12, 2014* - Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File Supplemental 
Complaint and Proposed Supplemental Complaint - which seeks to add an 
additional class of prisoners who have been relocated out of Pelican Bay 
solitary confinement to another solitary unit in California, was filed.

*January 15, 2015* - Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for 
Leave to File Supplemental Complaint was filed.

*January 29, 2015* - Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of Motion for Leave to 
File Supplemental Complaint is filed.

*February 12, 2015* - Judge Wilken hears Oral Arguments on Plaintiffs' 
Motion for Leave to File Supplemental Complaint.


      Attached Files

  * UN Special Rapporteur Report on Solitary
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/UN-Special-Rapporteur-Report-on-Solitary.pdf>
  * 5-31-12 Ruiz Amended Complaint
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/Ruiz-Amended-Complaint-May-31-2012.pdf>
  * Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or Stay.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/160%20Motion%20to%20Dismiss%20or%20Stay.pdf>
  * Plaintiffs' Opposition to MTD.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/178%20Opp%20to%20MTD.pdf>
  * Order Denying Motion to Dismiss 4.9.13.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/Order%20Denying%20Motion%20to%20Dismiss%204.9.13.pdf>
  * 195 Motion for Class Certification.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/195%20Motion%20for%20Class%20Certification.pdf>
  * 195-1 Exhibits A-F.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/195-1%20Exhibits%20A-F.pdf>
  * 195-2 Exhibits G-L.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/195-2%20Exhibits%20G-L.pdf>
  * 195-3 Exhibits M-S.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/195-3%20Exhibits%20M-S.pdf>
  * 195-4 Exhibits T-Y.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/195-4%20Exhibits%20T-Y.pdf>
  * 242 Defendant Opp to Motion for Class Cert.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/242%20Defendant%20Opp%20to%20Motion%20for%20Class%20Cert.pdf>
  * 263 Reply ISO motion for class cert.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/263%20Reply%20ISO%20motion%20for%20class%20cert.pdf>
  * 6.2.14 Order Granting Class Cert.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/6.2.14%20Order%20Granting%20Class%20Cert.pdf>
  * Ps Motion to File Supplemental Complaint and Proposed Supplemental
    Complaint 12.12.14.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/Ps%20Motion%20to%20File%20Supplemental%20Complaint%20and%20Proposed%20Supplemental%20Complaint%2012.12.14.pdf>
  * Ds Opposition to Ps Motion to File Supplemental Complaint
    1.15.15.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/Ds%20Opposition%20to%20Ps%20Motion%20to%20File%20Supplemental%20Complaint%201.15.15.pdf>
  * Ps Reply in Support of Motion to File Supplemental Complaint
    1.29.15.pdf
    <http://ccrjustice.org/files/Ps%20Reply%20in%20Support%20of%20Motion%20to%20File%20Supplemental%20Complaint%201.29.15.pdf>

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