282 F.Supp. 893 (M.D.Fla. 1968), 66-847, Coonts v. Wainwright

Docket Nº:66-847-Civ-J.
Citation:282 F.Supp. 893
Party Name:Willis G. COONTS, Petitioner, v. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Director, Division of Corrections, State of Florida etal., Respondents.
Case Date:February 29, 1968
Court:United States District Courts, 11th Circuit, Middle District of Florida

Page 893

282 F.Supp. 893 (M.D.Fla. 1968)

Willis G. COONTS, Petitioner,


Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Director, Division of Corrections, State of Florida etal., Respondents.

No. 66-847-Civ-J.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida

Feb. 29, 1968

Page 894

Richard B. Austin (court-appointed), Jacksonville, Fla., for petitioner.

Earl Faircloth, Atty. Gen., Wallance E. Allbritton, Asst. Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, Fla., for respondents.


WILLIAM A. McRAE, Jr., District Judge.

A Petition for Writ of Injunction under the 1964 Civil Rights Act was filed in this Court by Willis G. Coonts. The Petition attacked the validity of a prison regulation which prohibited Petitioner from assisting other inmates in the preparation of habeas corpus petitions and sought an order requiring law books to be furnished to the prisoners. Shortly after the submission of his Petition, Petitioner was transferred to the maximum security section of the Raiford State Penitentiary. Pursuant to Petitioner's request for release from solitary confinement this Court has considered the cause as a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus. Coffin v. Reichard, 143 F.2d 433, 445,155 A.L.R. 143 (6th Cir. 1944); 148 F.2d 278 (6th Cir. 1945), cert. denied, 325 U.S. 887, 65 S.Ct. 1568, 89 L.Ed. 2001 (1945):

A prisoner is entitled to the writ of habeas corpus when, though lawfully in custody, he is deprived of some right to which he is lawfully entitled even in his confinement, the deprivation of which serves to make his imprisonment more burdensome than the law allows or curtails his liberty to a greater extent than the law permits.

An extensive evidentiary hearing was held on on December 6, 1967. At the hearing Petitioner testified that in April and May of 1966 he was an inmate at the Doctors Inlet Road Prison. During that period he was assisting his fellow prisoners, many of whom could not speak or write English, in the preparation of petitions to various state and federal courts. On May 25, 1966, Captain R. G. Sullivan posted a notice, pursuant to the Manual of Operations for Road Prisons§ 51.7, at the road prison prohibiting an inmate from assisting another in the preparation of 'Writs.' (Pet. Exh. 1, 2.) Petitioner testified that, subsequent to the posting of this notice, he terminated all assistance to other prisoners in compliance with the notice and filed this

Page 895

action for injunctive...

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