650 F.2d 647 (5th Cir. 1981), 80-9077, Mitchum v. Purvis

Docket Nº:80-9077
Citation:650 F.2d 647
Party Name:Willie James MITCHUM, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Thomas PURVIS, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 13, 1981
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 647

650 F.2d 647 (5th Cir. 1981)

Willie James MITCHUM, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Thomas PURVIS, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 80-9077

Unit B

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

July 13, 1981

Kathy D. Jones, Mobile, Ala., for plaintiff-appellant.

Roderick P. Stout, Mobile, Ala., for Purvis.

John McCorvey, pro se.

Jack M. Curtis, Jean Williams Brown, Montgomery, Ala., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

Before RONEY, FRANK M. JOHNSON, Jr. and HENDERSON, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiff Willie James Mitchum, a state prisoner serving a thirty-year sentence for second degree murder, filed this section 1983 action for various alleged constitutional violations arising out of his incarceration in the Mobile County Jail in Mobile, Alabama. Alleging arbitrary discipline as well as inadequate meals, laundry services and medical care, he sought both injunctive and monetary relief. Plaintiff was transferred to a state prison subsequent to the filing of this suit. He has been granted court-appointed counsel.

The United States Magistrate to whom this case had been referred sua sponte recommended its dismissal without prejudice. The magistrate, referring to this Court's suggestion in Ballard v. Spradley, 557 F.2d

Page 648

476, 480 (5th Cir. 1977) to devise "imaginative and innovative" steps to deal with the increasing number of prisoner 1983 actions, offered as grounds for the recommendation of dismissal: (1) plaintiff is at a disadvantage in prosecuting the case because he is behind bars, and transporting the prisoner and other witnesses to hearings might present a security risk; (2) experience indicates that a significant number of inmate plaintiffs file 1983 suits "simply to have a brief respite in Court, away from the dull or onerous prison routine, a tendency which the Court should not unnecessarily encourage;" (3) such cases should be dismissed rather than stayed because they "clutter the files" of the court; and (4) because there is no statute of limitations problem, the suit could be refiled upon plaintiff's release should he be interested in pursuing it. The magistrate also noted plaintiff was no longer incarcerated in Mobile County Jail and was therefore no longer subject to the allegedly unconstitutional conditions. The district court adopted...

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