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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Daniel McGowan, Jailed For HuffPost Blog, Loses Lawsuit Against Bureau Of Prisons

Posted: 07/15/2013 5:12 pm


A federal court has dismissed an environmental activist's claims against the U.S. Bureau of Prisons over a restrictive prison wing he was housed in, but a lawsuit filed by other prisoners against the government over its restrictive communication management units continues.

Daniel McGowan, 38, served seven years in federal prison for arson connected with the Earth Liberation Front, four of them in the secretive communication management units, or CMUs, dubbed "Little Guantanamo" by critics <http://nymag.com/news/features/yassin-aref-2011-7/>.

Along with dozens of other mostly Muslim inmates, McGowan's phone calls with the outside world and physical contact with his family were severely limited. Even after he was released to a halfway house, McGowan was briefly tossed back into prison <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/daniel-mcgowan-jailing_n_3021613.html> this year for writing a Huffington Post blog entry detailing his case.

McGowan's lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights had argued that his re-jailing proved he was still at risk for re-incarceration in the CMUs. But the judge overseeing the lawsuit disagreed, citing a 1990s-era law that severely restricts <http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2010/11/two-clinton-era-laws-allow-cruel-and-unusual-punishment> the rights of federal prisoners to challenge cruel and unusual punishment.

McGowan's lawyers at the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement that they were "deeply disappointed" by Senior Judge Barbara J. Rothstein's decision, but that they would push on with the larger lawsuit.
CCR Statement:

Former Prisoner’s First Amendment Claims Dismissed Under “Second Class System
of Justice”
BOP Not Liable for Retaliation Against Activist Daniel McGowan


July 15, 2013, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)
released the following statement in response to the dismissal of the claims in
a federal lawsuit that plaintiff Daniel McGowan was placed in highly-
restrictive Communications Management Units while in federal prison in
retaliation for protected First Amendment activity. The other claims in the
case, Aref v. Holder, continue.

We are deeply disappointed by the court’s dismissal of Daniel McGowan’s claims
against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Mr. McGowan was designated, and
then re-designated, to the Communications Management Units (CMU) in blatant
retaliation for his political speech and activities. At the CMUs, he had
severely restricted access to telephone calls and social visits – including a
total ban on contact visits with his loved ones.  Once he had been released to
a halfway house, the BOP once again retaliated against Mr. McGowan,
unconstitutionally placing him in federal custody days after he published blog
piece about the CMUs on the Huffington Post.  While our claims challenging
broad due process violations at the CMUs will proceed, Aref v. Holder also
sought accountability for these acts of retaliation against protected First
Amendment activity. Now, the court has held that, while non-prisoners may sue
under these circumstances, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) bars Mr.
McGowan’s damages claims because he was not subjected to physical harm.  CCR
condemns the second class system of justice created by the PLRA, which places
unjust hurdles between prisoners and redress for constitutional violations.
We will continue to vigorously pursue our case against the BOP.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting
the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented
civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational
organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for
social change.

Freedom Archives 


Questions and comments may be sent to claude@freedomarchives.org


Free All Political Prisoners!

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