Amicus brief in Prison Legal News v. Florida DOC
WASHINGTON, DC — Taking a stand against impermissible government efforts to imprison not only the body but also the mind, The Rutherford Institute has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to protect prisoners’ First Amendment right to access legal news and resources. Weighing in before the Court in Prison Legal News v. Secretary, Florida Dept. of Corrections, The Rutherford Institute partnered with the R Street Institute, Americans for Prosperity, The Cato Institute, and Reason Foundation to ask that the Court declare unconstitutional a ruled adopted by the Florida Dept. of Corrections that bans publications containing advertisements for, among other things, three-way calling services, pen pal services, and services allowing purchases to be made with postage stamps. As a result of the ban, Florida prisoners have been prevented from receiving Prison Legal News (PLN), a monthly magazine that reports on prison issues, including prison labor, sexual misconduct, race relations, and the constitutional rights of prisoners. Advertisers in PLN include law firms, correspondence schools, pen pal services, phone services, and cash-for-stamps services.
Attorneys John N. Estes, III, Donald P. Salzman, Thomas A. Parnham, Jr., and Todd D. Kelly of Washington, DC, assisted The Rutherford Institute with the Prison Legal News brief.
“With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every egregious protocol employed by government agents, ‘we the people’ are being reminded that we possess no rights except for that which the government grants,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “In other words, in the American Police State, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite.”
October 23, 2018 • Denouncing Government Efforts to Imprison the Mind, Rutherford Institute Asks Supreme Court to Protect Prisoners’ Access to Legal News