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PLN appeals censorship by FDOC to federal circuit court

Bizjournals, Dec. 16, 2015.

Prison newspaper seeks to overturn Florida ban

Dec 16, 2015, 6:57am EST

The publisher of a newspaper prohibited in Florida prisons is asking a federal appeals court to overturn a September ruling that upheld the ban, in a long-running legal battle over the publication.

The case was dismissed the following year after a judge ruled it moot because the department had promised to deliver the publication to inmates. But after adopting a rule that restricted publications containing certain types of advertisements, Department of Corrections officials again began confiscating the newspapers.

In September, U.S. District Judge Mark E. Walker sided with the agency, saying the ban was justified because of security concerns. But Walker also gave Prison Legal News a partial victory, saying the department had violated the publication's due-process rights by not giving notice every time an issue was confiscated.

In the Dec. 7 appeal, Clement argued that the department's censorship is "illogical and unnecessary," because the publication has essentially remained the same before and after it was banned.

"There is simply no logical fit between the FDOC's renewed censorial zeal and the current evidence that would justify its alone-in-the-nation censorship of a publication uniquely focused on the plights and rights of prisoners,'' the appeal said.

The appeal, which requests oral arguments in the case, asks that Walker's ruling allowing the censorship be overturned and seeks to expand the due process order.