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Prisoner Detained for Months After Hurricane Katrina Not Deprived of Access to Courts

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By FindLaw Staff on June 22, 2010 11:06 AM

Terry v. Hubert, No. 09-30559, involved an action alleging violations of plaintiff's First Amendment right to access the courts and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.  The court of appeals reversed the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity, holding that the undisputed evidence showed that defendant-warden neither violated plaintiff's right of access to the courts nor violated any clearly established law in connection with the detention.

As the court wrote:  "In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Appellee James Allen Terry, Jr.,
was arrested for looting and detained at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center (EHCC) for approximately seven months. Upon his release, Terry brought a 28 U.S.C. § 1983 action against EHCC's Warden, Cornel Hubert, alleging violations of his First Amendment right to access the courts and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. The magistrate judge denied the Warden's motion for summary judgment, finding issues of fact as to whether the Warden was entitled to qualified immunity. Because the undisputed evidence shows that the Warden neither violated Terry's right of access to the courts nor violated any clearly established law in connection with the detention, he was entitled to immunity from suit. We REVERSE and REMAND for entry of judgment in the Warden's favor."

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