Wilgus v. Peterson, Civ. A. No. 4263.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
Writing for the CourtRodman Ward, Jr., and Robert G. Carey, Wilmington, Del., Special Counsel to defendants
Citation335 F. Supp. 1385
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 4263.
Decision Date05 January 1972
PartiesGlen WILGUS et al., Plaintiffs, v. Russell W. PETERSON, individually and as Governor of the State of Delaware, et al., Defendants.

335 F. Supp. 1385

Glen WILGUS et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Russell W. PETERSON, individually and as Governor of the State of Delaware, et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 4263.

United States District Court, D. Delaware.

January 5, 1972.


335 F. Supp. 1386

Ernest S. Wilson, Jr., Sheldon N. Sandler, John S. Grady and David A. Leen, Wilmington, Del., for plaintiffs.

Rodman Ward, Jr., and Robert G. Carey, Wilmington, Del., Special Counsel to defendants.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW RELATING TO AN APPLICATION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER

STAPLETON, District Judge.

This is a civil action brought by six inmates at the Delaware Correctional Center under the Civil Rights Act.

335 F. Supp. 1387
42 U.S.C. §§ 1983(3), 1985(3) and 1986; 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) and (4). It is presently before me on a motion of the plaintiffs for a "protective order" enjoining "defendants and their agents from confiscating or tampering with legal files maintained by individual plaintiffs containing communications from counsel and pleadings herein, and in other actions."

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Plaintiff Glen Wilgus is incarcerated in the Delaware Correctional Center serving a sentence imposed by the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. He is confined in the maximum security section of that institution.

2. Prior to September 2, 1971, Wilgus had in his cell in Block B a substantial number of books and papers, some of which related to various legal proceedings in which he was involved. The books and some of the papers were kept in two cardboard boxes in his cell. The remaining papers were locked in a drawer attached to his bed.

3. On September 2, 1971, there was a riot in the maximum security section of the prison. During the course of that riot substantial property damage was done in the common areas of this section. Conditions in these areas at the time were chaotic. Glass, linens, books and other debris were strewn over the floors. It took five staff members and a number of inmate volunteers approximately two days to clean out this debris.

4. No substantial damage was done during the riot to the personal property of inmates located in their cells.

5. After order was restored, Wilgus was transferred from his cell to administrative isolation. Subsequently he was transferred to the hospital. Approximately three weeks after the riot he was transferred to a cell in Block C of the maximum security section.

6. At some time shortly after Wilgus was transferred to administrative isolation, his personal belongings were taken from the cell and at least a substantial portion of them were placed in two large paper garbage bags, each of which was more than half filled. A watch and bracelet were delivered to the officer in charge of the section. These actions were standard procedure upon the transfer of an inmate from his cell to administrative isolation.

7. The two bags containing personal belongings of Wilgus, along with bags containing personal belongings of approximately fifteen other inmates similarly transferred, were placed in a closet off the hobby room. This closet was locked. Lt. Tucker, the cook, and their night shift counterparts had keys to the closet. The door had a small, approximately 6" × 8" window located a little below eye level for the average person. It had been broken in the riot. Jagged glass was still around the perimeter.

8. During the period prior to Wilgus' transfer to Cell Block C, Lt. Tucker, who was in charge of maximum security at the time, went into the closet three or four times in order to return the personal belongings of other inmates who had been transferred back. On each of these occasions he saw the two bags containing Wilgus' belongings, each of which was a little over half filled.

9. When Wilgus was transferred to Cell Block C he asked for the return of his personal belongings. His watch and bracelet were returned to him from Lt. Tucker's desk. He was taken to the closet to get his other belongings. At this time one bag was about half filled and the other bag only had sufficient contents to cover its bottom. The floor, however, was strewn with paper.

10. The personal property of Wilgus returned to him at this point was less than all of the personal property which he had prior to September 2, 1971. Among the missing property were a number of books and some papers relating to various legal proceedings in which Wilgus had been involved.

11. The missing property has not been returned to Wilgus since that time.

12. After these episodes, Lt. Tucker provided Wilgus with a lock for the

335 F. Supp. 1388
drawer in his cell. He gave Wilgus the only key to this lock

13. The present action was filed on November 3, 1971. Since that time Wilgus has maintained a file relating to this action. This file contains copies of record papers as well as correspondence to and from counsel.

14. Wilgus fears that his file regarding this case will be confiscated or "tampered with" unless the requested protective order is granted. This fear is based upon the above related episodes and his belief that his papers have been rearranged in his absence on several occasions since his return to Cell Block C.

15. Wilgus is a "writ writer." He has filed numerous court petitions on his own behalf and on behalf of other inmates.

16. Under the prison regulations inmates are entitled to keep legal papers in their cells. They are limited under these regulations to three law books at any one time, but this regulation is not generally enforced. There are no prison regulations which restrict the activity, or are designed to discourage the practice of "writ writing."

17. It has not been shown that any of the named defendants have directed that Wilgus' personal belongings be confiscated or tampered with. Superintendent Anderson and Lt. Tucker, the two officials who testified, have not given such a directive and have no knowledge of such a directive being given. Except as hereafter noted with respect to Superintendent Anderson, it has not been shown that any of the named defendants have heretofore had knowledge of any confiscation or tampering with Wilgus' papers. Superintendent Anderson and Lt. Tucker had knowledge prior to the present application of Wilgus' claim that not all of his property was returned following his transfer to Block C. There is no evidence that these two officers...

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8 practice notes
  • Downs v. Department of Public Welfare, Civ. A. No. 73-1246.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • December 28, 1973
    ...n. 9 (4 Cir. 1966); Jennings v. Davis, 339 F.Supp. 919, 921 (W.D.Mo.1972), aff'd, 476 F.2d 1271, 1274 (8 Cir. 1973); Wilgus v. Peterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1390 (D.Del.1972); Hernandez v. Noel, 323 F.Supp. 779, 783 (D.Conn.1970); Leslie Tobin Imports, Inc. v. Rizzo, 305 F. Supp. 1135, 1141 W......
  • Florida Medical Ass'n v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ETC., No. 78-178-Civ-J-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • July 11, 1978
    ...Corp., 349 F.Supp. 1254, 1257 (D.Del.1972); Dillon 454 F. Supp. 331 v. Berg, 347 F.Supp. 517, 519 (D.Del.1972); Wilgus v. Peterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1389 (D.Del.1972). Ancillary jurisdiction, in short, is the "common sense solution" to how a federal court of limited subject matter jurisdic......
  • United States Steel Corp. v. MULTISTATE TAX COM'N, No. 72 Civ. 3438 (CHT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 17, 1973
    ...commission, were enjoined from enforcing illegal fixing of rates, through the modern civil rights cases such as Wilgus v. Peterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1389 (D.Del. 1972). The cases cited by defendants in support of their argument — Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459, 65 S......
  • Waffenschmidt v. MacKay, No. 84-4012
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 21, 1985
    ...knowingly violate its orders. See Ex parte Lennon, 166 U.S. at 555, 17 S.Ct. at 660-61; Alemite, 42 F.2d at 832. Cf. Wilgus v. Paterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1389-90 (D.Del.1972). MacKay's actions in this case are a paradigm of how a defendant can enlist the aid of out-of-state individuals in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Downs v. Department of Public Welfare, Civ. A. No. 73-1246.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • December 28, 1973
    ...n. 9 (4 Cir. 1966); Jennings v. Davis, 339 F.Supp. 919, 921 (W.D.Mo.1972), aff'd, 476 F.2d 1271, 1274 (8 Cir. 1973); Wilgus v. Peterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1390 (D.Del.1972); Hernandez v. Noel, 323 F.Supp. 779, 783 (D.Conn.1970); Leslie Tobin Imports, Inc. v. Rizzo, 305 F. Supp. 1135, 1141 W......
  • Florida Medical Ass'n v. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ETC., No. 78-178-Civ-J-S.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • July 11, 1978
    ...Corp., 349 F.Supp. 1254, 1257 (D.Del.1972); Dillon 454 F. Supp. 331 v. Berg, 347 F.Supp. 517, 519 (D.Del.1972); Wilgus v. Peterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1389 (D.Del.1972). Ancillary jurisdiction, in short, is the "common sense solution" to how a federal court of limited subject matter jurisdic......
  • United States Steel Corp. v. MULTISTATE TAX COM'N, No. 72 Civ. 3438 (CHT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • September 17, 1973
    ...commission, were enjoined from enforcing illegal fixing of rates, through the modern civil rights cases such as Wilgus v. Peterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1389 (D.Del. 1972). The cases cited by defendants in support of their argument — Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459, 65 S......
  • Waffenschmidt v. MacKay, No. 84-4012
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 21, 1985
    ...knowingly violate its orders. See Ex parte Lennon, 166 U.S. at 555, 17 S.Ct. at 660-61; Alemite, 42 F.2d at 832. Cf. Wilgus v. Paterson, 335 F.Supp. 1385, 1389-90 (D.Del.1972). MacKay's actions in this case are a paradigm of how a defendant can enlist the aid of out-of-state individuals in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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