Mark v. State, No. 95-356

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtConsidered by McGIVERIN; HARRIS
Citation556 N.W.2d 152
PartiesKim MARK, Appellant, v. STATE of Iowa, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 95-356
Decision Date20 November 1996

Page 152

556 N.W.2d 152
Kim MARK, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Iowa, Appellee.
No. 95-356.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Nov. 20, 1996.

Page 153

Philip B. Mears of Mears Law Office, Iowa City, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Layne M. Lindebak, Kristin Ensign and Forrest Guddall, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee.

Considered by McGIVERIN, C.J., and HARRIS, NEUMAN, ANDREASEN, and TERNUS, JJ.

HARRIS, Justice.

Prisoner Kim Mark brought this postconviction proceeding to challenge discipline imposed on him for making false statements and for engaging in sexual misconduct. The matters for which he was disciplined came to light after Mark reported to prison officials that he had been raped by another inmate. Mark correctly claims he has a first amendment right to report a grievance to prison officials. He maintains the imposition of discipline here violated that right, and also challenges the discipline imposed under the circumstances here as contrary to public policy.

We readily agree that a prisoner may not be punished in retaliation for reporting matters of this kind to prison officials--even in cases where there is a failure of proof on the matter reported. But we decline to extend this protection so as to prohibit punishment for all matters which may come to light during investigation of the prisoner's complaint. We think the record here does not support a finding that Mark's punishment was in retaliation for reporting a rape. Hence we affirm a district court judgment dismissing Mark's challenge.

On March 22, 1992, while Kim Mark was an inmate at the Iowa state penitentiary, he reported to a prison counselor that he had been raped by a fellow inmate. An investigation was begun during which Mark was questioned about the incident. Mark told a prison official he had no sexual contact with any inmate during the previous two years. He also said he was "100% sure" his assailant was armed with a razor blade. Mark agreed to take a polygraph examination to support his report.

During an initial interview with the polygraph examiner, Mark related that he had sexual contact with another inmate on March 13, 1992. He also said he was "not sure" his assailant had a razor blade. The examiner then reported to prison officials that he would not conduct an examination, saying it "would not be productive."

As a result of his admissions and the contradictions, Mark received a disciplinary report alleging he had violated, among other things, prison rules 15 (sexual misconduct) and 35 (false statement). Mark did not offer any defense at the disciplinary hearing 1 and was found to have violated rules 15 and 35. The disciplinary committee imposed harsh punishment: fifteen days of disciplinary detention; loss of 365 days good-time credit; invocation of any suspended disciplinary sanction; and 365 days restriction to maximum security cell.

After exhausting his administrative appeals, Mark brought this postconviction proceeding alleging that being disciplined for statements made when complaining about his conditions of confinement violates his first amendment rights, as well as public policy. The district court rejected these claims and affirmed the discipline imposed. The matter is before us on Mark's appeal.

I. Because the case involves a prisoner's claim that he was disciplined in violation of his constitutional rights, we review his claim "in light of the totality of the circumstances upon which the postconviction court's ruling was made." James v. State, 541 N.W.2d 864, 869 (Iowa 1995). This is the functional equivalent of de novo review. Id. at 869-70.

II. Without doubt a prison inmate " 'retains those First Amendment rights not inconsistent with his status as a prisoner or with the legitimate penological objectives of the corrections system.' " Carter v. State, 537 N.W.2d...

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6 practice notes
  • State v. Kraai, 19-1878
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 28 January 2022
    ...instruction, named for England's Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of the Court of the King's Bench from 1671 to 1676. See Mark v. State , 556 N.W.2d 152, 154 (Iowa 1996) (citing Feddersen , 230 N.W.2d at 514–15 ). In his writings, Hale recounted allegations of rape instigated by false accusa......
  • State v. Kraai, 19-1878
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 28 January 2022
    ...instruction, named for England's Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of the Court of the King's Bench from 1671 to 1676. See Mark v. State, 556 N.W.2d 152, 154 (Iowa 1996) Feddersen, 230 N.W.2d at 514-15). In his writings, Hale recounted allegations of rape instigated by false accusations. See ......
  • Risdal v. State, No. 96-452
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 21 January 1998
    ...ruling was made." James v. State, 541 N.W.2d 864, 869 (Iowa 1995). This is functionally equivalent to de novo review. Mark v. State, 556 N.W.2d 152, 153 (Iowa III. Imprisonment does not strip inmates of all constitutional rights--including free speech rights protected by the first amendment......
  • State v. Kraai, No. 19-1878
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 14 April 2021
    ...instruction, named for England's Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of the Court of the King's Bench from 1671 to 1676. See Mark v. State, 556 N.W.2d 152, 154 (Iowa 1996) (citing Feddersen, 230 N.W.2d at 514-15). In his writings, Hale recounted allegations of rape instigated by false accusatio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • State v. Kraai, 19-1878
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 28 January 2022
    ...instruction, named for England's Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of the Court of the King's Bench from 1671 to 1676. See Mark v. State , 556 N.W.2d 152, 154 (Iowa 1996) (citing Feddersen , 230 N.W.2d at 514–15 ). In his writings, Hale recounted allegations of rape instigated by false accusa......
  • State v. Kraai, 19-1878
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 28 January 2022
    ...instruction, named for England's Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of the Court of the King's Bench from 1671 to 1676. See Mark v. State, 556 N.W.2d 152, 154 (Iowa 1996) Feddersen, 230 N.W.2d at 514-15). In his writings, Hale recounted allegations of rape instigated by false accusations. See ......
  • Risdal v. State, No. 96-452
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 21 January 1998
    ...ruling was made." James v. State, 541 N.W.2d 864, 869 (Iowa 1995). This is functionally equivalent to de novo review. Mark v. State, 556 N.W.2d 152, 153 (Iowa III. Imprisonment does not strip inmates of all constitutional rights--including free speech rights protected by the first amen......
  • State v. Kraai, No. 19-1878
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • 14 April 2021
    ...instruction, named for England's Sir Matthew Hale, chief justice of the Court of the King's Bench from 1671 to 1676. See Mark v. State, 556 N.W.2d 152, 154 (Iowa 1996) (citing Feddersen, 230 N.W.2d at 514-15). In his writings, Hale recounted allegations of rape instigated by false accusatio......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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