491 F.2d 417 (5th Cir. 1973), 73-1192, Sands v. Wainwright

Docket Nº:73-1192, 72-2471, 72-3351, 73-1497.
Citation:491 F.2d 417
Party Name:John SANDS, Petitioner-Appellee, v. Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Director, Division of Corrections, State of Florida, Respondent-Appellant. James E. BAKER er al., Petitioners-Appellants, v. W. J. ESTELLE, Director, Texas Department of Corrections, Respondent-Appellee. Guadalupe GUAJARDO, Jr., Plaintiff-Appellee, v. W. J. ESTELLE, Director, Texas Department
Case Date:December 26, 1973
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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491 F.2d 417 (5th Cir. 1973)

John SANDS, Petitioner-Appellee,

v.

Louie L. WAINWRIGHT, Director, Division of Corrections, State of Florida, Respondent-Appellant.

James E. BAKER er al., Petitioners-Appellants,

v.

W. J. ESTELLE, Director, Texas Department of Corrections, Respondent-Appellee.

Guadalupe GUAJARDO, Jr., Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

W. J. ESTELLE, Director, Texas Department of Corrections, Defendant-Appellant.

Guadalupe GUAJARDO, Jr., Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

C. L. McADAMS, Warden, Wynne Unit, Texas Department of Corrections,Respondent-Appellee.

Nos. 73-1192, 72-2471, 72-3351, 73-1497.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

December 26, 1973

Page 418

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 419

Robert L. Shevin, Atty. Gen., Daniel S. Dearing, Chief Trial Counsel, Dept. of Legal Affairs, Civil Div., Tallahassee, Fla., for Louie L. Wainwright.

James M. Russ, Michael F. Cycmanick, Orlando, Fla., Jack Greenberg, Stanley A. Bass, New York City, for John Sands.

James De Anda, Philip Kent Maxwell, Corpus Christi, Tex., Frances T. Cruz, Houston, Tex., Mario Obledo, Alice Daniel, William Bennett Turner, San Francisco, Cal., for James E. Baker, Coy Ray Campbell, Sam Bernard, Jr., and Fred Arispe Cruz.

Crawford Martin, Atty. Gen., W. Barton Boling, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, Tex., for W. J. Estelle in No. 72-2471.

John W. Clarke, Jr., Dallas, Tex., for American Bar Ass'n, amicus curiae.

John L. Hill, Atty. Gen., Gilbert J. Pena, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, Tex., for W. J. Estelle in No. 72-3351.

Richard J. Trabulsi, Jr. (Court-appointed), Harry Reasoner, Houston, Tex. (Court-appointed co-counsel), for Guadalupe Guajardo, Jr., in Nos. 72-3351 and 73-1497.

Jack Greenberg, Stanley A. Bass, New York City, amicus curiae.

John L. Hill, Atty. Gen., Gilbert J. Pena, Asst. Atty. Gen., Austin, Tex., E. Ray Taylor, Jr., Asst. U.S. Atty., Atlanta, Ga., for C. L. McAdams.

Before BROWN, Chief Judge, and WISDOM, GEWIN, BELL, THORNBERRY, COLEMAN, GOLDBERG, AINSWORTH, GODBOLD, DYER, SIMPSON, MORGAN, CLARK, INGRAHAM, [*] RONEY and GEE, Circuit Judges.

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GOLDBERG, Circuit Judge:

I.

These appeals, all involving the rights of inmates in state prisons, are consolidated for opinion purposes. They were argued consecutively before the Court sitting en banc. In Sands v. Wainwright, No. 73-1192, and in Baker v. Estelle, No. 72-2471, we were called upon to determine whether the procedural safeguards afforded by the Florida Division of Corrections and by the Texas Department of Corrections in in-prison disciplinary proceedings meet the due process requirements of the United States Constitution. Sands v. Wainwright and Guajardo v. McAdams, No. 73-1497, raise the issue of what procedural safeguards are constitutionally required before subjecting an inmate to administrative segregation. Baker v. Estelle and Guajardo v. Estelle, No. 72-3351, involve censorship of correspondence between inmates and attorneys. And in Guajardo v. Estelle we were asked to determine the constitutionally permissible scope of prison officials' authority to read and censor all inmate mail. All four of these cases raise issues of broad application and of great constitutional significance-- issues that have drawn nationwide attention from courts, commissions, and commentators. 1

Appropriately in light of these momentous issues, litigants and lawyers by the score, from as far away as New York and San Francisco, boarded the federal train to begin their journey toward justice. For some of the lawyers and all of the litigants this journey began with the filing of complaints more than two and a half years ago. Each had his federal ticket stamped and validated by a federal conductor at the district depot. As the train approached the en banc terminal, all of the parties were hopeful that their long journey was coming to an end.

Nevertheless, though able advocates had argued and reargued the great constitutional questions, at the last moment the parties found themselves sidetracked by a curious federal jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2281, which requires that a three judge district court be convened whenever an injunction is sought against enforcement of a State statute. Regrettably, the command of Section 2281 leaves us no alternative but to send our litigants back to the district depot to have their federal tickets stamped and validated by three conductors instead of one. We must vacate the judgments

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of the district court in each of the four cases and remand for further proceedings leading to the convening of three-judge district courts. Because we have been detained at the jurisdictional gate, we do not reach the merits of the due process and mail censorship issues.

II.

Our decision to remand these cases for consideration by three-judge district courts has been a difficult one. Section 2281 is written in deceptively simple language:

§ 2281. Injunction against enforcement of State statute; three-judge court required

An interlocutory or permanent injunction restraining the enforcement, operation or execution of any State statute by restraining the action of any officer of such State in the enforcement or execution of such statute or of an order made by an administrative board or commission acting under State statutes, shall not be granted by any district court or judge thereof upon the ground of the unconstitutionality of such statute unless the application therefor is heard and determined by a district court of three judges under section 2284 of this title.

Courts have troubled over its application, however, since the statute was enacted more than 60 years ago in the wake of Ex parte Young, 1908, 209 U.S. 123, 28 S.Ct. 441, 52 L.Ed. 714, and other cases in which federal district judges had peremptorily issued orders striking down state enactments. E.g. Raymond v. Chicago Union Traction Co., 1907, 207 U.S. 20, 28 S.Ct. 7, 52 L.Ed. 78.

As Professor Currie has noted, 'the three-judge provisions, despite their bland and technical phrasing, are products of battles between competing political forces over four persistent and significant issues: judicial review, national supremacy, sovereign immunity, and the use of injunction.' Currie, The Three-Judge District Court in Constitutional Litigation, 32 U.Chi.L.Rev. 1 (1964). Correspondingly, competing judicial forces have interacted both to expand and to narrow the application of the statute, with the result that the present rules for appellate review of whether a three-judge court was required have become 'so complex as to be virtually beyond belief.' American Law Institute, Study of the Division of Jurisdiction Between State and Federal Courts 332 (Official Draft, 1969).

The Supreme Court has indicated that it views the three-judge court provision as 'a serious drain upon the federal judicial system,' Phillips v. United States, 1941, 312 U.S. 246, 250, 61 S.Ct. 480, 483, 85 L.Ed. 800, 804. The Court has therefore directed that the statute be narrowly construed:

The history of (the three-judge court statute) . . ., the narrowness of its original scope, the piecemeal explicit amendments which were made to it . . ., the close construction given the section in obedience to Congressional policy . . ., combine to reveal (the three-judge court statute) not as a measure of broad social policy to be construed with great liberality, but as an enactment technical in the strict sense of the term and to be applied as such.

Id., 312 U.S. at 250-251, 61 S.Ct. at 483, 85 L.Ed. at 804-805. See also Board of Regents v. New Left Education Project, 1972, 404 U.S. 541, 545, 92 S.Ct. 652, 30 L.Ed.2d 697, 702; Allen v. State Board of Elections, 1969, 393 U.S. 544, 561, 89 S.Ct. 817, 22 L.Ed.2d 1, 15.

In Board of Regents v. New Left Education Project, supra, the Supreme Court emphasized a second limiting doctrine-- that a three-judge court is required only when the statute or regulation in question is of statewide significance:

Such a court is required where the challenged statute or regulation, albeit created or authorized by a state legislature, has statewide application or effectuates a statewide policy. But a single judge, not a three-judge court,

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must hear the case where the statute or regulation is of only local import . . .. Thus, the 'term 'statute' in § 2281 does not encompass local ordinances or resolutions,' . . . nor does it include a state statute having only a local impact, even if administered by a state official.

404 U.S. at 542-543, 92 S.Ct. at 653-654, 30 L.Ed.2d at 700. See also Moody v. Flowers, 1967, 387 U.S. 97, 87 S.Ct. 1544, 18 L.Ed.2d 643; Rorick v. Board of Commissioners, 1939, 307 U.S. 208, 59 S.Ct. 808, 83 L.Ed. 1242.

A third narrowing principle enunciated by the courts is that a three-judge court is required only when injunctive relief is sought. In other contexts the Supreme Court has indicated that a declaratory judgment ordinarily would interfere with and disrupt state proceedings just as much as would an injunction. E.g., Samuels v. Mackell, 1971, 401 U.S. 66, 72, 91 S.Ct. 764, 27 L.Ed.2d 688, 693. Nevertheless, when only declaratory relief is sought, the three-judge court procedure generally need not be invoked. In Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, 1963, 372 U.S. 144, 83 S.Ct. 554, 9 L.Ed.2d 644, the Court held that a three-judge court was not required to hear claims that certain provisions of the Nationality Act of 1940 were unconstitutional:

Whether an action solely for declaratory relief would under all circumstances be inappropriate for consideration by a three-judge court we need not now decide, for it is clear that in the present case the...

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