Nevada Department of Corrections v. Cohen

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 08-15-2011
  • Case #: 08-17091; 09-1573
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Senior Circuit Judge Hug for the Court; Circuit Judges Silverman and Graber
  • Full Text Opinion

The Nevada Department of Corrections does not violate 14th Amendment Due Process of inmates when it provides notice of and opportunity to comply with a typewriter ban that reasonably advances a legitimate security goal.

The cases consolidated in this appeal involved suits by the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”) against inmates in violation of a recent prohibition disallowing inmate possession of typewriters following multiple violent crimes wherein typewriter parts were used as weapons. Inmates appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of NDOC. Inmates Greene and Browning claimed “that the typewriter ban was enacted with unconstitutional motive and in retaliation for inmate lawsuits over prison conditions” and should fail for its inability to prove that NDOC acted to “advance a legitimate correctional goal.” They also argued the ban was “unconstitutional because it denie[d] them access to the Nevada Supreme Court.” The Ninth Circuit first held that the typewriter ban advanced institutional security and therefore was a legitimate security measure. Second, the Court held that Greene and Browning’s claim failed to show actual injury in regards to the ban on typewriters, therefore no violation of access to the courts occurred. Inmate Downs presented a 14th Amendment Claim, arguing that “NDOC violate[d] the Due Process Clause . . . when it prescribes and enforces forfeitures of property '[w]ithout underlying [statutory] authority and competent procedural protections.” The Court rejected this claim, finding that Nev. Rev. Stat. § 209.239 “provides for the regulation of personal property of offenders.” Further, Downs “was notified of the change in the regulation and given adequate opportunity to comply with it,” and as such, was afforded all the process due to him given his inmate status. AFFIRMED.

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