United States v. Ragen, 11129.

Decision Date21 May 1954
Docket NumberNo. 11129.,11129.
Citation213 F.2d 294
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit

Clyde Wagner, pro se.

Latham Castle, Atty. Gen., William C. Wines, Asst. Atty. Gen., Raymond S. Sarnow, A. Zola Groves, Asst. Atty. Gen., of counsel, for appellee.

Before DUFFY, SWAIM and SCHNACKENBERG, Circuit Judges.

SWAIM, Circuit Judge.

The plaintiff, Clyde Wagner, a prisoner in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet, Illinois, filed this action in the District Court against the defendant, Joseph E. Ragen, Warden, alleging that Ragen, as warden, had deprived the plaintiff of certain property without due process and had also deprived the plaintiff of certain rights in violation of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1981 et seq.

The alleged actions of the defendant to which the plaintiff objected were the warden's refusal to permit the plaintiff "to draw inventions and send them to the Federal Government"; the refusal to permit the plaintiff "to register inventions in the U. S. Patent Office" or "to consign his inventions to different Manufacturers" who wished to manufacture and sell them; and, finally, the claiming and seizing by the defendant for the state of personal property of the plaintiff consisting of oil paintings which the plaintiff had painted while he was in prison. The plaintiff was in prison under a sentence of 100 years for shooting a police officer.

The complaint asked that the court declare the rights of the plaintiff; that the defendant be enjoined from further denial of plaintiff's rights; and that the plaintiff be awarded damages for the past denial of such rights. The plaintiff claims that the District Court had jurisdiction of this action because Warden Ragen had deprived him of rights guaranteed to him by the Federal Constitution and by the Civil Rights Act.

The federal courts have held that they do not have the power to control or regulate the ordinary internal management and discipline of prisons operated by the states. Siegel v. Ragen, 7 Cir., 180 F.2d 785, 788. In U. S. ex rel. Morris v. Radio Station WENR, 7 Cir., 209 F.2d 105, a prisoner in an Illinois state penitentiary complained that Negroes were discriminated against by not being permitted to participate in radio programs which were transcribed at the prison for later broadcasts. In that opinion we said, 209 F.2d at page 107: "Inmates of State penitentiaries should realize that prison officials are vested with wide discretion in safeguarding prisoners committed to their custody. Discipline reasonably maintained in State prisons is not under the supervisory direction of federal courts. Kelly v. Dowd, supra. 7 Cir., 140 F.2d 81 `We think that it is well settled that it is not the function of the courts to superintend the treatment and discipline of prisoners in penitentiaries, but only to deliver from imprisonment those who are illegally confined.' Stroud v. Swope, Warden, 9 Cir., 187 F. 2d 850, 851. A prisoner may not approve of prison rules and regulations, but under all ordinary circumstances that is no basis for coming into a federal court seeking relief even though he may claim that the restrictions placed upon his activities are in violation of his constitutional rights."

In a companion case, Morris v. Igoe, 7 Cir., 209 F.2d 108, this court held that while Morris was a prisoner in the Cook County Jail in the custody of Sheriff Babb and Warden Scanlan his constitutional rights were clearly not violated by the officials censoring the Chicago newspapers for which the petitioner had subscribed. In Adams v....

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25 cases
  • Negrich v. Hohn
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    • October 7, 1965
    ...Stroud v. Swope, 187 F.2d 850, 851-852 (C.A.9, 1951), cert. den. 342 U.S. 829, 72 S.Ct. 53, 96 L.Ed. 627; United States ex rel. Wagner v. Ragen, 213 F.2d 294, 295 (C.A.7, 1954), cert. den. 348 U.S. 846, 75 S.Ct. 68, 99 L.Ed. 667. Even if such measures had as one of their purposes the securi......
  • Butler v. Bensinger
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • June 14, 1974
    ...Cir. 1964); Taylor v. Burke, 278 F.Supp. 868 (E.D.Wis.1968) (alleged seizure of a family photograph album); United States ex rel. Wagner v. Ragen, 213 F.2d 294 (7th Cir. 1954) (alleged seizure of prisoner's oil paintings). See also United States ex rel. Morris v. Radio Station WENR, 209 F. ......
  • Ferguson, In re
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • April 24, 1961
    ...whatever federal constitutional guarantees which may exist for the protection of inmates in state prisons. Cf. United States ex rel. Wagner v. Ragen, 7 Cir., 213 F.2d 294, 295; Nichols v. McGee, supra, D.C., 169 F.Supp. 721, 724-725. We are, accordingly, reluctant to apply federal constitut......
  • Palmer v. Thompson
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • August 29, 1967
    ...with respect to race and sex. Federal Courts are reluctant to interfere in the administration of state prisons. United States ex rel. Wagner v. Ragen, 7 Cir., 213 F.2d 294; Adams v. Ellis, 5 Cir., 197 F.2d 483; Curtis v. Jacques, D.C., 130 F.Supp. 920; and United States ex rel. Yaris v. Sha......
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