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Prison Legal News v. Lindsey, Consent Decree, Dallas County Jail Censorship 2007

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PRISON LEGAL NEWS, a non-profit
Wa,hington corporation



07- 367

.osr r



Plaintiff Prison legal News ("PLN') and Defendants GEIIY Lindsey, Edgar McMillan,
Lupe Valdez and Dallas County ("Defendants") agree this case will be dismis'ed on the
following tenus;

For and in consideration of the provisions of fbis agreement, PLN settles with and

releases Defendanta, their officers, agents, employees, and departmenta, for any and all claim"


damages and cau,es of action arising out of the claim' described in case 07"367;;.18: which is the
source of all settled claims; provided, however, that nothing in this settlement agreement and shall be construed to prevent or limit PLN from moving to enforce the tenns of this
settlement agreement or bringing a new suit arising from the same conduct by Defendants
occurring after the date of tbis decree.

Defendanta acknowledge that the magazine Prison Legal News, renewal notice,

for the magazine, book fliers ("catalogs'), and similar types of mail are penniued types of mail
into all Dall., County correctional facUities, inclnding, but not limited to, the Dallas County Jail
(500 Commerce Street, Dallas, TX 75202), the George Allen Jail, Sterrett West Tower, Sterrett
North Tower, Kajl!l Detention Facility and Decker Detention Facility, regardless of the postal
class by which the magazine, renewal notices for the magazine, book fliers ("catalog,,), and

similar types of mail are sent. Defendants agree that PLN can send its properly addressed
magazine. renewal notices for the magazine, book fliers ("catalogs"). and similar twes of mail to
inmates in all Dallas Couuty facilities, without proof of payment, registration by an inmate of his
or her subscription, or any further requirements.

Defendants agree that PLN is an approved book distributor and/or vendor. and

will provide written confirmation of this status to PLN within 30 daY" of entry of thie decree.
Books distributed by PLN are pennitted mail at all Dallas County correctional facilitie,.
regardless of the postal dass by which the books ate sent.

Nothing in this settlement agreement and release shall be construed to prevent or

limit Defendants or their agents. employees and departments from continuing to review, reject,
process and


of inmate mail for reasons of prohibited content. This reserves


County's authority to review content for reasons anch as security, safety, institutional discipline
and to monitor criminal activity. When any mail is rejected due to its specific content. a
violation notice will be provided to the sender within 15 days, as described below in paragraph 5.

PLN ia entitled to receive notice of every mail rejection or undelivered item sent

by PLN to an inmate in the jail, together with a statement or indication of the reason for rejection
or non-delivery. regardless of the postal cIa", by which the rejected piece of mall is sent. If the
rejectIon or non_deliveryis for non-content reasons such as address error or in~nffident address,
return of the envelope with indication of the reason written or stamped on the envelope is
adequate. [fthe rejection is for content based reasons, PLN wilt receive a written explanation for
why the content is non-compliant with Dallas County regulations within 3 business daY" of the
rejection, The explanation will clearly explain the reason for the censorship and the party to
whom PLN can direct an appeal of the cen'orship decision, The Dallas County jail mailroom


c, ,._cc' '::, ':ii,1l

will hold the item during the pendency of OIly administrative appeals and deliver the item to the

addressee if the appeal is decidedin favor of the publisherand/or the inmate addressee.


will pay PLN $9,000 in damages, attorneys' rees and costs within 30

days of entry oflhi. consent decree, payable to PLN's couusel, the Texas Civil Rights Project.


Nothing in this agreement will be construed to waive claims for incidents thaI

have not yet o=W.


Notwithstanding the dismissal of this case, the Court shall retain jurisdiction over

the case for purposes of enforcing this consent decree. PLN may not ask this Court to exercise
that jurisdiction without first giving the Dallas County Commissioner's Court Hod the dulyelected Sheriff of Dall"" County written notice of any alleged breach of this agreement and
without giving the Dallas County Commissioner's Court and the Sheriff 15 days frOln receipt of
such notice to correct the breach. Fifteen days after giving notice, PLN may mOve the Court to
enforce this decree.

Scott Medlock
State BarNo. 24044783
Attorney for Plaintiff, Prison Legal New.


Dolena Westergard

Stale BarNo. .)./0.1 ")8'fSZ!
Attorney for Defendants