BAILEY v. LOGGINS Docket No. S.F. 24076.
32 Cal.3d 907 (1982)
654 P.2d 758
187 Cal. Rptr. 575
ARTIE BAILEY et al., Plaintiffs and Respondents, v. OTIS A. LOGGINS, as Superintendent, etc., et al., Defendants and Appellants.
Supreme Court of California.
December 10, 1982.
William J. Taylor, Margaret C. Crosby, Alan L. Schlosser and Amitai Schwartz as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs and Respondents.
Defendants appeal from a judgment mandating them, as officers of the Department of Corrections: (a) to permit publication of two articles in the Soledad prison newspaper, the Star News; (b) to formulate guidelines limiting administrative censorship of the Star News to matters which would reasonably be deemed a threat to institutional security or which described the making of a weapon or other dangerous device; and (c) to formulate regulations for expeditious review of controversies concerning inmate articles. Since defendants no longer object to publication of the articles in question, that portion of the controversy is moot. The principal questions before us concern the nature of the regulations and the adequacy of procedures for reviewing a decision barring publication of an article.
1. History of this litigation.
The Star News is an inmate newspaper written, edited and published at the state prison at Soledad. It is financed by the inmate welfare fund, not by the taxpayers.
In September of 1976 Willie Brandt, an inmate at Soledad, submitted two articles for publication in the Star News. One related to a lecture given at Soledad by Professor Amundson of the Institute of Industrial Relations at the University of California; the other concerned a lecture by Ms. Lytle, deputy legal affairs secretary to the Governor. Petitioner Bailey, inmate editor of the Star News, and Mr. Estin, the civilian journalism instructor, approved the articles for publication.
The Star News then submitted the articles to Associate Superintendent Dobreff, designated as supervisor of the content of the newspaper. He rejected the articles, as did the acting superintendent and his staff. Pursuant to the grievance procedures of the institution, editor Bailey filed an appeal from that decision requesting both that the authorities grant permission to publish the articles and that the Department of Corrections establish guidelines to govern the control of content of the newspaper.
Reviewers at the first and second level rejected Bailey's appeal. Finally, on February 1, 1977, respondent Enomoto, as Director of Corrections, sent a letter to editor Bailey explaining his ruling on the appeal, granting the request for guidelines, and adopting regulations 413.08, 413.10 and 413.11 of the department's administrative manual to govern publication of the Star News.
The guidelines adopted as department regulations provided generally that the newspaper should conform to good journalistic standards, be designed to appeal to all inmates, and avoid material offensive to racial, religious, or political groups. As noted in respondent Enomoto's letter, the guidelines prohibited the use of the newspaper to attack administration rules or policy, or to assert any grievance. They also banned the assumption of an editorial position on pending legislation, the attempt to elect or defeat any official, or an attack upon existing governmental policy.
On April 28, 1977, Bailey, as editor of the Star News, and the Prisoners Union, as a subscriber to that newspaper, brought the present mandamus action. During trial the Department of Corrections promulgated new and more complete regulations, published as regulations 720 through 726 of the department's administrative manual. The new provisions, in regulations 723 and 724, incorporated former regulations 413.08, 413.10, and 413.11 without change.
Defendants appealed and secured a stay of the trial court's order. During the appeal, the Department of Corrections revoked the detailed guidelines of regulations 720 through 726, and adopted two regulations which simply provided generally for administrative control of prison publications.
After the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment, we granted a petition for hearing. While the case was pending here, the Department of Corrections adopted additional new regulations, again numbered as regulations 720 through 726 of its administrative manual. The new regulations closely resemble the previous regulations, bearing the same numbers, in effect at the date of trial.
With the passage of time, the controversy concerning publication of Willie Brandt's articles has abated. Defendants no longer object to publication. The remaining issues raised by this case — the power of the department to reject an article submitted for publication and the process of appealing that decision — are still issues of current controversy. The order of the trial court addresses those issues and requires the department to enact new regulations. Thus although the specific dispute concerning the two articles has dissipated, the question of the validity of the trial court's order is not moot but ripe for judicial resolution.
2. Editorial control of the prison newspaper by the department.
Penal Code sections 2600 and 2601 govern the rights of inmates in California prisons. Section 2600, the pertinent section in this case, provides that "[a] person sentenced to imprisonment in a state prison may, during any such period of confinement, be deprived of such rights, and only such rights, as is necessary in order to provide for the reasonable security of the institution in which he is confined
Consequently, established principles of constitutional law apply in defining the rights of prisoners. Among those principles is the rule that the state, having opened a forum for the expression of ideas, may not prevent members of its public from using the forum because the state disapproves of their beliefs or the content of their expression. (Wirta v. Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Dist. (1967)
The application of these principles to a prison newspaper depends upon the purpose served by that publication, the governing regulations, and the practice of the prison authorities in applying those regulations.
The department, however, chose to establish a newspaper which serves as a limited forum for prisoner expression. Understandably, the regulations emphasize the limitations, not the forum. The newspaper should serve the purpose of educating and training the inmate, disseminating information furnished by the administration, and informing inmates of events within the institution; it is designed only to "supply inmates with news happenings within the institution and department." (Reg. 721.) It should appeal to all inmates and not be devoted to the interests of one particular group. (Reg. 723.) It must conform to good journalistic standards — including accuracy, impartiality, good taste, avoidance of obscenity and defamatory matter. Commercial materials may not be published. Nor may the paper carry the name or identifiable photograph of a prisoner without that person's written approval. (Reg. 725.) The regulations further preclude material that is offensive to any race, nationality, religious faith, political party or other "group of reputable citizens." (Reg. 723.) To enforce
In spite of these restrictions, however, it is clear that an important communicative purpose is served by this institutional publication. The paper was and is freely circulated among the inmates and staff of the institution where published. In addition, subscriptions may be accepted from individuals, organizations or agencies "outside" which are involved in prison work or have a particular interest in the field. Prisoners' families are presumably included here, as one of the purposes of the publication is to develop their morale. Finally, the exchange of papers between institutions in the department is specifically encouraged by the department itself. (Reg. 772, subds. (b) and (c).)
The department's own regulations make it clear that the department contemplated that the institutional publication it authorized would include expressions of prisoners' ideas and views. Thus it saw fit to define and proscribe the kinds of ideas that would be improper. Contributors may not seek special favors from institutional or public officials; publications may not take an editorial position on pending legislative matters, current elections or attack governmental policy. Nor may the columns of the publication "be used to further the personal interest or ambitions of any inmate, employee, or official ... [or] ... to promote special privileges for inmates or to attack any law, rule, or policy to which inmates or employees may object." (Reg. 724.)
Department practice further demonstrates the expressive and communicative role of the Star News. The department has chosen to permit publication in a format which closely resembles an ordinary newspaper published outside prison walls and fully protected by the state and federal Constitutions. In applying its regulations, it has permitted numerous articles which express the views of the inmate authors. Although the trial court found that regulation 724, if broadly interpreted, "would prohibit any favorable or negative statement, express or implied, and almost any reference to any particular person, group, or idea" (italics in original), a representative copy of the Star News contained articles promoting the interests of a number of special groups, including articles entitled "Mormons," "Women's Quest for Rights Benefits All," and "Why Believe in God?" It is apparent that each of these articles expressed the views of its author and conceivably could have been excluded pursuant to a broad reading of regulation 724. The issue also contained a poem critical of the Adult Authority ("Doin a One to Ten with a Grin") and an article entitled "Warden's Opposition Sinks Plans for Con's Meet-Confer Rights," titles which might be
The trial court further found the paper contained an editorial page prepared by the inmate editor, a credit section containing no indication that the department retained editorial control, and a disclaimer specifically stating that the views expressed in the paper are solely those of the individual authors. In sum, the factual findings of the court below support the conclusion that the department regulations permitted expression of inmates' views on topics falling within the approved purposes of the newspaper.
We therefore cannot accept defendants' attempts to characterize the Star News as a publication which does not fall within constitutionally protected expression. As we have seen, although "one primary purpose" of the publication is to teach inmates the skills of journalism and printing (reg. 721), the Star News is not merely a class assignment or a "practice" newspaper. It is distributed within and without the prison, and used by the administration and the inmates to communicate to the readers.
Neither can the publication be described as a "house organ." The current regulations offer a choice — the prison may "publish some form of newspaper or `house organ'" (current reg. 720, subd. (a); see reg. 720), and scrutiny of the regulations and of the practice of the administration demonstrates that it has chosen the alternative of a limited-purpose newspaper.
The issue before us, consequently, is whether a prison newspaper intended to serve and serving as a limited forum for prisoner expression enjoys any protection under the First Amendment or correlative California provisions. Two federal decisions address the First Amendment issue directly. In The Luparar v. Stoneman, supra,
In Pittman v. Hutto (4th Cir.1979)
The cases do not support defendants' contention that because a "prison is most emphatically not a `public forum'" (Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Union (1977)
We also reject the claim that the state as publisher enjoys the same total control over the content of the newspaper as a private publisher. (See Miami
In conclusion, departmental regulations and institutional practices have established an inmate newspaper which clearly does permit expression and communication of prisoners' views within the purview of the somewhat limited purpose for which the paper was established. Because both regulations and practice contemplate the paper will include expression of ideas, decisions to exclude particular articles which have been judged publishable by the editor must be scrutinized under the First Amendment.
Second, in applying and enforcing regulations, the department should act in a neutral, nonarbitrary, even-handed manner. Regulations such as sections 723 and 724 which permit the expression of opinion but at the same time permit exclusion of articles because the opinions expressed may be said to attack any privilege, rule, law or policy, or to further any personal interests, risk being applied in a manner which is not neutral with regard to elements of protected expression. (Cf. Pell v. Procunier (1974)
Since the regulations considered at trial are no longer in effect, and in the absence of any remaining controversy over publication of any particular article, it is not necessary to determine whether any past or current regulation is invalid facially or as applied. Instead, we need only emphasize to prison administrators
3. Appeal of departmental decisions.
Newspaper articles often must be published within a few days of the event they describe, or the articles will lose all value as reportage of current events; delay is often as effective a form of censorship as suppression of the article.
Both the appeals procedure in effect at the time of the rejection of the Brandt articles, and the modified procedure in effect now, provide for three levels of appeal, and permit a period of 45 days between the initial grievance and the final decision (with additional time for extraordinary cases). Neither set of regulations distinguishes cases involving rejection of newsworthy articles from other prison grievances. We therefore agree with the trial court that the prison grievance and appeals procedure is not one suitable for occasions when timeliness and First Amendment considerations are implicated, and that the department should enact rules providing for immediate review.
The department regulations and practices evidence an intention to allow publication of a prison newspaper which serves several purposes: aiding the education and morale of the prisoners; providing information from the administration
We emphasize that the department may regulate the content of the newspaper, and may ban the publication of particular articles, if it perceives a threat to institutional security. The department may also assert its authority to achieve other legitimate penological objectives, such as vocational training of the person working on the paper and the publication of news important to the inmate community. And in all such matters, the courts give deference to determinations by prison officials that restrictions are essential to protect a legitimate state interest. (Pell v. Procunier, supra,
In deference to the responsibilities and authority of the department, we reverse the order of the trial court mandating the enactment of new regulations limited to protection of institutional security. In the absence of any remaining controversy over the publication of any specific articles, we think it sufficient to explain to the department that in the drafting and enforcement of regulations governing the content of the newspaper it should act in a consistent and even-handed manner, and with due regard for the First Amendment values.
We agree, however, with the trial court that the present regulations are deficient in failing to provide a speedy method of appealing and reviewing a department decision barring publication of an article. Because articles may cease to be newsworthy in a short period of time, expeditious review is essential, and the regulations should be revised to provide such review.
The portion of the order of the superior court directing publication of the two articles at issue, and requiring the department to enact administrative regulations ensuring expeditious review of administrative decisions barring publication of particular articles, is affirmed. The portion of the order directing enactment of new administrative regulations which would permit censorship only of articles which could reasonably be deemed a threat to the security of the institution or which describe the making of a weapon, explosive, poison, or destructive device, is reversed. Each party shall bear its own costs on appeal.
Reynoso, J., concurred.
I would, though, rely not on the First Amendment of the federal Constitution but on sections 2, subdivision (a) and 3 of article I of the California Constitution. (See In re Reynolds (1979)
Further, I do not agree that Penal Code section 2600 permits any restraints or abridgments of speech, press, and petition rights that can be justified only by referring to "good" journalistic standards or "valid" penological objectives. In my view the Legislature has required that those standards and objectives be based on either security or public protection.
I respectfully dissent.
The majority substantially restricts the right of the Department of Corrections to regulate the content of inmate articles submitted for publication in a prison newspaper. In my view, inmates have neither a constitutional nor statutory right to publish their articles in such a newspaper. Accordingly, prison authorities should have broad discretion to select among, and edit or reject, those articles submitted for publication without later being required to justify their actions on institutional, social or penological grounds. Nor would I require the department to formulate elaborate review procedures directed at second-guessing prison officials' discretionary decisions on publication matters.
The editing and printing of the Star News is conducted as part of the institution's vocational and educational program, and inmates prepare and edit the newspaper, supervised by a civilian journalism instructor. The regulation of the
According to the department's administrative manual, the purposes of publishing Star News are to educate and train participating inmates, develop good morale among inmates and their families, disseminate administrative information to inmates, and report activities within the institution and department.
Present regulations permit the publication of a newspaper upon authorization of the warden or superintendent, and further allow inmate staff participation if specifically approved by the warden or superintendent. Current regulations also provide that the warden shall designate a civilian employee as supervising editor to manage planning and publication, that such employee shall be responsible for content, that no material shall be published "which could threaten prison security or order or interfere with program objectives or subject the institution, as publisher, to public censure or disrepute," and that articles shall not attack any individual, serve as a vehicle for grievances or complaints, promote personal opinions, take positions on matters pending before the Legislature, or urge support or defeat of any public official. The regulations further exclude obscene, pornographic, and defamatory matter and materials offensive to any race, nationality, religious faith, or similar group. Provision is also made for inmate appeal of the decisions of the supervising editor.
The majority holds that the department's regulations are overbroad and grant powers of censorship which invade the constitutional and statutory rights of prison inmates. As will appear, I believe that the department acted properly both in vesting prison officials with ultimate control over the content of inmate's articles, and in promulgating the regulations at issue.
The majority relies primarily upon cases holding that once a governmental entity establishes a public forum for the expression of ideas, it cannot selectively ban those expressions of which it disapproves. (E.g., Wirta v. Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Dist. (1967)
Given the limited purpose of the Star News, the bus advertising, school newspaper and other First Amendment cases cited by the majority are wholly inapposite. Moreover, none of these cases involves governmental limitations upon the expression of ideas by prisoners. A restricted prison setting is a very unique environment. Large numbers of prisoners, closely confined, generate discipline problems with potential for violence. Prisons can be very dangerous areas, and in my view those charged with prison administration must have broad discretion to administer prison affairs and to select among, and edit or reject, those articles submitted for publication in a prison newspaper.
An analogous situation arose in Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Union, supra,
The same due deference to the responsible prison administrators which was mandated by Jones, supra,
The majority suggests that freedom from censorship is among those rights protected by Penal Code section 2600. By its terms, section 2600 allows prison authorities to deprive inmates "of such rights, and only such rights, as is necessary in order to provide for the reasonable security of the institution ... and for the reasonable protection of the public." Significantly, however, the section does not purport to create new rights, but only to preserve preexisting ones. It bears emphasis that prior to their confinement, inmates as law-abiding private citizens enjoyed no right of publication on demand, or freedom from editorial censorship. Rather, whether in public or private publications, private citizens are required to meet whatever publication or editorial standards are demanded of them. The Supreme Court has reminded us that "The choice of material to go into a newspaper, and the decisions made as to limitations on the size and content of the paper, and treatment of public issues and public officials — whether fair or unfair — constitute the exercise of editorial control and judgment." (Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo (1974)
Moreover, there are reasonably adequate alternative means of communication available to the inmate. If he seeks to disseminate his views and opinions among his fellow inmates, he may express them orally in the prison yard, dining hall or workshop. If his eye is on the larger audience outside the prison, he can write or express his views through personal visits with his family, the clergy, attorneys, or friends. (See Pell, supra, 417 U.S. at pp. 824-825 [41 L.Ed.2d at pp. 502-503].)
None of the prisoners' rights cases relied upon by the majority is dispositive of the issue before us. Procunier v. Martinez (1974)
Finally, Pell v. Procunier, supra,
A prison newspaper may serve many valid and diverse purposes such as educating inmates, promoting prison morale, encouraging rehabilitation, lessening tensions, improving inmate-guard relations, recognizing literary merit, and providing a balanced reading diet. But the determination of the goals to be served and the means for implementing them is a matter which should be entrusted to the sound discretion of the prison administrators.
Mosk, J., concurred.
I dissent separately — and very briefly — because I approach the problem from a slightly different angle than does Justice Richardson's dissent.
I might mention at the outset that the practical effect of the majority decision is likely to be nil. There is obviously enough leeway in the court's criteria — threat to the security of the institution and proper penological purposes — to enable a sophisticated prison administration to regulate the content of a prison newspaper pretty much as it wants, provided it is done in slightly less hamhanded
That problem aside, it seems to me that the majority starts from an erroneous premise: That in permitting a "newspaper" to be published the current Department of Correction's regulations create a "forum for the expression of ideas." Once that proposition is accepted, the balance of the court's opinion follows along well-established First Amendment paths from which I would be the last to stray.
I believe, however, that the premise is wrong. A look at the department's administrative manual convinces me that the current regulations do not intend that "prison newspapers" serve the lofty purpose assumed by the majority.
I readily concede that these standards would be outrageous were they imposed to restrict the rights of a hypothetical private newspaper publisher. I further concede that even if one subtracts from those rights the restrictions permitted by section 2600 of the Penal Code, these standards are overbroad. My point is, rather, that the hypothetical newspaper issued by our hypothetical publisher is generically different from the type of publication which the administrative manual has in mind. What the majority has done, in effect, is to tell defendants first, what type of publication they ought to permit and, second, that they are not doing it right.
The majority's concept of the type of paper which defendants are to allow presumably conforms to some platonic ideal of a newspaper the very contemplation of which evokes First Amendment magic — Peter Zenger, Near v. Minnesota, New York Times v. Sullivan, The Pentagon Papers case, Nebraska Press Association v. Stewart, and so on. If defendants purported to authorize publication of that kind of a newspaper, the First Amendment consequences which the majority visits on them would, of course, be justified.
Two analogies may clarify my point. First: suppose that as part of a prison course in writing the instructor had asked the students to write an essay on "Why My Trial Counsel Was Incompetent." Suppose further that an inmate refused to write on that subject, but handed in an essay on "The Concept of Peace in Early Celtic Literature." Would anyone doubt that the instructor could take appropriate action to try and make the student conform to the demands of the course? The student's mission was to write within the confines of a theme prescribed by the instructor and he failed to do so. Surely he cannot appeal to "free speech" or cry "censorship" to avoid a failing grade. To me the prison paper is no different: its mission is to educate, to rehabilitate and to inform within clearly designated limitations. It is not intended as a "forum for the expression of ideas."
Second: try a variation on the theme of Danskin v. San Diego Unified Sch. Dist. (1946) 28 Cal.2d 536 [171 P.2d 885]. Suppose the school in question had made its auditorium available for the limited purpose of holding a debate tournament. Can it be doubted that it could constitutionally condition the license on the contestants' being required to stick to the resolutions being debated and getting the hook if they wander all over the lot to express their political views to a captive audience?
Admittedly neither of these two analogies is perfect. The reason, I suspect, is that the type of prison newspaper permitted by the department is sui generis and simply will not fit into the standard First Amendment mold.
I also admit the obvious: reasonable persons can differ on the threshold question whether the paper is established as an educational-rehabilitative exercise or as a marketplace for ideas. I would respectfully urge that in straining to find the latter to be the case, the majority is not likely to further First Amendment values. It is recognized that the department is under no compulsion to permit the publication of newspapers within our prisons. It has, however, made a stab in that direction but, for its pains, has been subjected to a rolling barrage of First Amendment artillery. If the department can live with the guidelines promulgated
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