957 F.Supp. 110 (E.D.Mich. 1997), 77-CV-71229, Glover v. Johnson

Docket Nº:77-CV-71229.
Citation:957 F.Supp. 110
Party Name:Mary GLOVER, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Perry JOHNSON, et al., Defendants.
Case Date:February 21, 1997
Court:United States District Courts, 6th Circuit, Eastern District of Michigan
 
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957 F.Supp. 110 (E.D.Mich. 1997)

Mary GLOVER, et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

Perry JOHNSON, et al., Defendants.

No. 77-CV-71229.

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division.

Feb. 21, 1997

Deborah LaBelle, Detroit, MI, for Plaintiffs.

Leo Friedman, Asst. Atty. Gen., Mich. Dept. of Corrections, Lansing, MI, for Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER DENYING A STAY OF THE REMEDIAL PLAN AND COURT ORDERS

FEIKENS, District Judge.

I. Summary

Defendants have moved for the immediate termination of remedial plans and court orders in effect in this case, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), Pub.L.No. 104-134, which amends 18 U.S.C. § 3626. Specifically, defendants argue that the provisions governing termination of prospective relief found at 18 U.S.C. § 3626(b)(1), (2), and (3) require termination of relief in this case.

While not stated in their motion, defendants argue in their brief that the automatic stay provision of the PLRA, § 3626(e)(2), is triggered by the filing of their motion for termination of relief. Thus all relief in this case would automatically be suspended on February 22, 1997 (that is, 30 days after the filing of defendants' brief on January 23, 1997) unless a final order ruling on the substance of defendant's motion were issued.

Because I find, in accord with my previous ruling in the companion case Hadix v. Johnson, 933 F.Supp. 1360 (E.D. Mich.1996), that the automatic stay provision of the PLRA is unconstitutional, the automatic stay provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3626(e)(2) shall not be given effect and relief shall not be suspended. I will issue an final opinion and order on the merits of defendants motion to terminate relief under §§ 3626(b)(1), (2), and (3) after full hearing and argument. The fact that the automatic stay section of the PLRA would force a hasty judgment on this important question is but one indication of that provision's failings.

II. Background

The history of this case is too long to set forward here in any detail. The following

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synopsis is offered only to demonstrate that the remedial plans which defendants seek to terminate constitute court-ordered relief, accompanied by judicial findings of fact and law. As will be concluded in section III, below, a stay of such court-ordered relief as provided by § 3626(e)(2) violates the separation of powers principles embodied in Article III of the U.S. Constitution because, in effect, such stay overturns the final judgment of a court.

This case originated nearly twenty years ago, when female inmates in the Michigan prison system filed lawsuits--ultimately consolidated and certified as a single class action--claiming denial of access to courts and denial of constitutional equal protection. After a hearing on the merits, this court found violations of both of those constitutional rights, and ordered defendants to submit a compliance plan. Glover v. Johnson, 478 F.Supp. 1075 (E.D.Mich.1979). After extensive negotiation, the parties reached agreement on a compliance plan, which this court incorporated into a final order. Glover v. Johnson, 510 F.Supp. 1019 (E.D.Mich.1981).

As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has observed, "Neither the 1979 nor the 1981 order was appealed, with the result that the finding of...

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