993 F.2d 1079 (4th Cir. 1993), 92-6328, Hause v. Vaught

Docket Nº:92-6328.
Citation:993 F.2d 1079
Party Name:Stephen Mark HAUSE, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Ralph VAUGHT, Director; Joey Johnson, Captain, on behalf of Horry County and in their individual and/or official capacities at Horry County Detention Center, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:May 07, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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993 F.2d 1079 (4th Cir. 1993)

Stephen Mark HAUSE, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Ralph VAUGHT, Director; Joey Johnson, Captain, on behalf of

Horry County and in their individual and/or

official capacities at Horry County

Detention Center, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 92-6328.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

May 7, 1993

Argued Feb. 5, 1993.

Page 1080

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Louis C. Ricciardi, Student Counsel, Appellate Litigation Clinical Program, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, argued (Steven H. Goldblatt, Director, John J. Hoeffner, Supervising Atty., Nancy Y. Tong, Student Counsel, Appellate Litigation Clinical Program, Georgetown University Law Center, on brief), for plaintiff-appellant.

Clifford Leon Welsh, McCutcheon, McCutcheon & Baxter, P.A., Conway, SC, argued (John B. McCutcheon, Jr., McCutcheon, McCutcheon & Baxter, P.A., on brief), for defendants-appellees.

Before WILKINSON, LUTTIG, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.


WILLIAMS, Circuit Judge:

Stephen M. Hause brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988) challenging his conditions of confinement while a pretrial detainee at the Horry County Detention Center, Conway, South Carolina. The district court, adopting the recommendation of a magistrate judge, granted summary judgment for the Defendants, all of whom are officials at the Detention Center. Finding no error, we affirm.


Hause was detained at the Detention Center for three separate periods: from December 3 to December 19, 1989; from January 5 to March 1, 1990; and from March 9 to April 25, 1990. He raises five claims with regard to his confinement. First, he contends that the Detention Center's restrictions on the receipt of outside publications violated the First Amendment. Second, he contends that the legal assistance offered by the Detention Center was insufficient to provide him with meaningful access to the courts. Third, he urges that the Detention Center's requirement that detainees, when necessary, assist in cleaning the common areas of their cell-block violates his Fourteenth Amendment right to be free from punishment prior to conviction. Fourth, Hause contends that the Detention Center's policy of placing all incoming inmates (including himself) in administrative segregation upon entry into the Center violates inmates' Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. Fifth, Hause urges that the Detention Center disciplined him for violating Center rules without giving him constitutionally adequate notice of the Center's rules.

Hause initially sought both damages and injunctive relief. The district court determined that the claim for injunctive relief was moot, a determination that Hause does not challenge on appeal. Hause does challenge the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Defendants on his claims for damages. We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo. Higgins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 863 F.2d 1162, 1167 (4th Cir.1988).


Hause challenges the Detention Center's policy of not permitting detainees to receive books and periodicals in the mail. He urges that the policy infringes upon his First Amendment right to receive information and ideas, as outlined in Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753, 762-63, 92 S.Ct. 2576, 2581-82, 33 L.Ed.2d 683 (1972). See Mann v. Smith, 796 F.2d 79, 83 & n. 3 (5th Cir.1986). The Detention Center allows detainees to correspond with their attorneys and families but, aside from this correspondence, it limits their contact with the outside world to the newspapers and books in the prison library and to cable television, which is available in each cell block. 1 At the time of Hause's confinement, the Detention Center was a new, state-of-the-art facility whose libraries had not been fully stocked due to delays caused by Hurricane Hugo.

In Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545, 99 S.Ct. 1861, 1877, 60 L.Ed.2d 447 (1979), the Supreme Court recognized that pretrial detainees retain constitutional protections despite

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their confinement. Nevertheless, "[a] detainee simply does not possess the full range of freedoms of an unincarcerated individual." Bell, 441 U.S. at 546, 99 S.Ct. at 1878. A detainee's First Amendment rights may be restricted in the interest of prison security. In Bell, for example, the Court upheld regulations that "permitted inmates to receive books and magazines from outside the institution only if the materials were mailed directly from the publisher or a book club." Id. 441 U.S. at 549, 99 S.Ct. at 1879. The Court concluded that the regulations were a "rational response by prison officials to an obvious security problem," namely, the smuggling of contraband. Id. 441 U.S. at 550, 99 S.Ct. at 1880.

The Court subsequently held in Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89, 107 S.Ct. 2254, 2261, 96 L.Ed.2d 64 (1987), that "when a prison regulation impinges on inmates' constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests." In Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 404, 109 S.Ct. 1874, 1876, 104 L.Ed.2d 459 (1989), the Court applied Turner in upholding restrictions placed on the receipt of outside publications by convicted prisoners. Although Thornburgh did not involve pretrial detainees, the concern for security is the same for pretrial detainees as for convicted inmates. Bell, 441 U.S. at 546 n. 28, 99 S.Ct. at 1878 n. 28. We therefore apply the same legal standard for detainees as for convicted inmates with due regard for the particular circumstances of pretrial detainment. See id. 441 U.S. at 552, 99 S.Ct. at 1881. Accordingly, we shall apply the Turner standard to determine the constitutionality of the Detention Center's restrictions on receipt of publications.

In Turner, the Supreme Court applied what amounts to a two-part test. First, "there must be a valid, rational connection between the prison regulation and the legitimate governmental interest put forward to justify it." Turner, 482 U.S. at 89, 107 S.Ct. at 2261 (internal quotation omitted). The Court emphasized that the governmental interest must be legitimate and neutral. Id. at 90, 107 S.Ct. at 2262. Once a rational connection to a legitimate governmental interest has been established, the second inquiry is whether the challenged regulation is reasonably related to that interest. In evaluating reasonableness, a court must consider whether "there are alternative means of exercising the right that remain open to prison inmates," as well as "the impact accommodation of the asserted constitutional right will have on guards and other inmates, and on the allocation of prison resources generally." Id.

[T]he absence of ready alternatives is evidence of the reasonableness of a prison regulation. By the same token, the existence of obvious, easy alternatives may be evidence that the regulation is not reasonable, but is an "exaggerated response" to prison concerns. This is not a "least restrictive alternative" test: prison officials do not have to set up and then shoot down every conceivable alternative method of accommodating the claimant's constitutional complaint. But if an inmate claimant can point to an alternative that fully accommodates the prisoner's rights at de minimis cost to valid penological interests, a court may consider that as evidence that the regulation does not satisfy the reasonable relationship standard.

Id. 482 U.S. at 90-91, 107 S.Ct. at 2262-63.

Plaintiffs bear the burden of showing that the challenged regulation is unconstitutional. Covino v. Patrissi, 967 F.2d 73, 79 (2d Cir.1992); see O'Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 350, 107 S.Ct. 2400, 2405, 96 L.Ed.2d 282 (1987). Some courts have placed upon prison officials the burden of showing that prison regulations serve some legitimate penological purpose. See Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 414 n. 12, 109 S.Ct. at 1882 n. 12. (reserving issue of burden of proof, but noting that district court had imposed initial burden of production on prison officials); St. Claire v. Cuyler, 634 F.2d 109, 114-15 (3d Cir.1980) (state need only produce evidence showing "the exercise of first amendment rights would create a potential danger to institutional security," at which point burden shifts to plaintiffs to show that

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regulations are unconstitutional). 2 Hause, however, concedes that the Detention Center's policies are rationally related to the legitimate, neutral penological interest of preventing the use of publications to smuggle contraband and start fires. Thus, assuming Defendants had some burden of production, that burden has been satisfied.

Hause's challenge focuses on whether the Detention Center's ban on outside publications was reasonably related to the objective of preventing smuggling and fires. His principal argument is that an "obvious, easy alternative" to Detention Center policy existed that would have accommodated both the Detention Center's security concerns and his own desire for access to information: a "publishers-only" rule. Hause initially makes a facial attack on Detention Center policy based on cases such as Bell that have upheld a publishers-only rule as constitutional. Bell, 441 U.S. at 548-49, 99 S.Ct. at 1879-80 (describing challenged rule). Neither the Supreme Court nor this court, however, has ever held that a publishers-only rule is a minimum constitutional standard. We decline to do so here.

Hause also argues that a publishers-only rule offers an "obvious, easy" alternative under the facts of this case. In so doing, he fails to consider a central principle implicit in the Turner analysis. Bell, Turner, and Thornburgh all emphasize the deference owed to prison administrators in their management of penal facilities. Bell, 441 U.S. at 547, 99 S.Ct. at 1878; Turner, 482 U.S. at 89, 107 S.Ct. at 2261; Thornburgh, 490 U.S. at 407-08, 109 S.Ct. at 1878-79....

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