801 F.2d 1080 (9th Cir. 1986), 84-2833, Toussaint v. McCarthy

Docket Nº:84-2833, 85-1507, 85-1878 and 85-2526.
Citation:801 F.2d 1080
Party Name:Joseph TOUSSAINT, et al., Plaintiffs/Appellees/Cross-Appellants, v. Daniel McCARTHY, et al., Defendants/Appellants/Cross-Appellees.
Case Date:September 30, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

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801 F.2d 1080 (9th Cir. 1986)

Joseph TOUSSAINT, et al., Plaintiffs/Appellees/Cross-Appellants,


Daniel McCARTHY, et al., Defendants/Appellants/Cross-Appellees.

Nos. 84-2833, 85-1507, 85-1878 and 85-2526.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

September 30, 1986

Argued and Submitted Dec. 13, 1985.

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Anita Arriola, Sidney M. Wolinsky, Constance M. Jones, Sarah Flanagan, Mark A. Chavez, Bernard Zimmerman, Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, San Francisco, Cal., Donald Spector, San Quentin, Cal., Antonia Hernandez, Mexican-American Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, James C. Sturdevant, Sturdevant & Elion, San Francisco, Cal., Ellen Sue Goldblatt, Oakland, Cal., Julius

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Chambers, Deborah Fins, New York City, Barbara Y. Phillips, Mark S. Zemelman, Sanford Jay Rosen, San Francisco, Cal., for Toussaint.

Paul D. Gifford, Deputy Atty. Gen., San Francisco, Cal., for McCarthy.

On Appeal From the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Before WRIGHT, KENNEDY and BEEZER, Circuit Judges.

BEEZER, Circuit Judge:

Both parties appeal from the district court's order granting permanent injunctive relief against California prison officials. Although this appeal presents a variety of discrete issues, the case presents this general issue: Does the protection afforded by the United States Constitution require that San Quentin and Folsom prison officials remain subject to controls imposed by the district court or should prison control be returned to California prison officials? We conclude that, in general, the district court assumed too much control over the day to day affairs of the prisons. Therefore, constitutional restraints require modification of the district court's decree.



This class action was commenced on behalf of prisoners committed to administrative segregation in four California prisons: San Quentin, Folsom, Deuel Vocational Institute at Tracy, and the Correctional Training Facility at Soledad. The defendants are the Director of the California Department of Corrections and the wardens of the prisons involved. We address orders pertaining to San Quentin and Folsom.

The complaint was filed in 1973. In the first phase of the proceedings, a three-judge district court held that the state's practice of removing prisoners from the general population and placing them in maximum security segregation units violated the prisoners' fourteenth amendment right to due process of law. See Wright v. Enomoto, 462 F.Supp. 397 (N.D.Cal.1976) (hereinafter referred to as "Wright I "). In Wright I, the defendants were ordered to employ a variety of procedures before segregating prisoners for administrative reasons. See id. at 404-05. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed the district court. Enomoto v. Wright, 434 U.S. 1052, 98 S.Ct. 1223, 55 L.Ed.2d 756 (1978).

In the next phase of the litigation, the district court issued an unpublished comprehensive preliminary injunction governing the conditions of confinement in the segregation units of the four prisons. We reversed the district court and vacated the injunction on the grounds that the district court applied the incorrect legal standard in assessing the plaintiffs' eighth amendment claims. See Wright v. Rushen, 642 F.2d 1129 (9th Cir.1981).

On remand, the district reevaluated the conditions of confinement under the standard prescribed by Wright v. Rushen and issued a detailed preliminary injunction governing conditions of confinement and procedures for placement and retention in administrative segregation. See Toussaint v. Rushen, 553 F.Supp. 1365 (N.D.Cal.1983). Although we affirmed the district court for the most part, we vacated a portion of the order which was not supported by the record. Toussaint v. Yockey, 722 F.2d 1490 (9th Cir.1984). We also directed the district court to reconsider its conclusions regarding the continuing propriety of procedural requirements in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 103 S.Ct. 864, 74 L.Ed.2d 675 (1983). See Toussaint v. Yockey, 722 F.2d at 1494 n. 6.

In the present phase of this case, the district court entered an injunction, which we refer to as the Permanent Injunction, governing conditions of confinement and segregation procedures at San Quentin and Folsom. Toussaint v. McCarthy, 597 F.Supp. 1388 (N.D.Cal.1984). The court appointed a special master, known as the Monitor, to assist in the implementation of

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the Permanent Injunction and to advise the court regarding the need for further modifications of the Injunction. Id. at 1420-22. Pursuant to the order of reference, the Monitor ordered the release of a number of prisoners from administrative segregation.

Defendants now challenge various aspects of the Permanent Injunction and the district court's affirmance of the Monitor's order to release a number of prisoners from administrative segregation. Defendants urge us to vacate parts III, IV(B), (C), and (D), and to modify Parts II(6), (10), and (15) of the Permanent Injunction. Defendants also complain about the district court's affirmance of the Monitor's decision to release prisoners Altamirano, Mendoza, Ramos, Castro, Gallegos, Hayes, Ferrel, Shryock, Pina, Elmore and Barela.

Plaintiffs cross-appeal the district court's refusal to extend the sweep of the injunction to cover additional prison conditions. Plaintiffs urge us to hold that enforced idleness in administrative segregation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, that inmates legitimately barred from the prison law library be provided with adequate legal assistance, that health care services provided at Folsom do not meet minimum constitutional standards, and that denial of contact visitation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The opinions cited above offer additional discussion of the facts. We will discuss specific facts and arguments in turn.



In Ruiz v. Estelle, 679 F.2d 1115 (5th Cir.1982), amended, 688 F.2d 266 (5th Cir.1982), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1042, 103 S.Ct. 1438, 75 L.Ed.2d 795 (1983), the Fifth Circuit reviewed a district court's order of injunctive relief against state prison officials. The Fifth Circuit described the role of the federal courts as follows:

There is no iron curtain drawn between the Constitution and the prisons of this country. When the remedial powers of a federal court are invoked to protect the constitutional rights of inmates, the court may not take a hands-off approach.

The duty to protect inmates' constitutional rights, however, does not confer the power to manage prisons, for which courts are ill-equipped, or the capacity to second-guess prison administrators. Federal courts should not, in the name of the Constitution, become enmeshed in the minutiae of prison operations. Our task is limited to enforcing constitutional standards and does not embrace superintending prison administration.

679 F.2d at 1126 (notes and quotations omitted). The court also stated that

As a matter of respect for the state's role and for the allocation of functions in our federal system, as well as comity toward the state, the relief ordered by federal courts must be consistent with the policy of minimum intrusion into the affairs of state prison administration that the Supreme Court has articulated for the federal courts. "[T]he principles of federalism which play such an important part in governing the relationship between federal courts and state governments" are applicable "where injunctive relief is sought ... against those in charge of an executive branch of an agency of state" government. [Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 380, 96 S.Ct. 598, 608, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976).] We should, therefore, fashion the least intrusive remedy that will still be effective. In shaping that remedy, we must also, as a matter of judicial administration, regard the essential nature of federal courts in an adversary system. Our remedial powers are inherently judicial, not administrative.

679 F.2d at 1145 (notes and quotations omitted).

We agree with the Fifth Circuit's description of the role of the federal courts. Injunctive relief against a state agency or official must be no broader than necessary to remedy the constitutional violation. See Milliken v. Bradley, 433 U.S. 267, 280, 97 S.Ct. 2749, 2757, 53 L.Ed.2d 745 (1977)

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(remedy must be related to condition alleged to offend the constitution); Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, 402 U.S. 1, 16, 91 S.Ct. 1267, 1276, 28 L.Ed.2d 554 (1971) (task is to correct, by a balancing of the interests, the condition that offends the constitution; judicial powers may be exercised only on the basis of a constitutional violation); Hoptowit v. Spellman, 753 F.2d 779, 785 (9th Cir.1985) (judge must order correction of specific violations and may require only that these corrections bring the conditions above constitutional minima); Newman v. Alabama, 683 F.2d 1312, 1319 (5th Cir.1982) (relief must be no broader than necessary to remedy the constitutional violation), cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1083, 103 S.Ct. 1773, 76 L.Ed.2d 346 (1983); Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1246 (9th Cir.1982) (function of court is limited to determining whether a constitutional violation has occurred and to fashioning a remedy that does no more and no less than correct that particular constitutional violation); Ruiz v. Estelle, 679 F.2d at 1144-46 (court must fashion the least intrusive remedy that will still be effective). A federal court may not enjoin a state official to follow state law. Pennhurst State School and Hospital v. Halderman, 465...

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