b. Irregular Procedures.
Under standard Departmental Review Board procedure, a staff member prepares materials regarding a particular inmate, schedules a Departmental Review Board meeting, and then presents a transfer recommendation at that meeting. Valadez Depo. at 42. Meetings are generally held monthly, and 10 to 15 cases are considered at each meeting. Id. at 53-54. These procedures were not followed in this case. The hurried Christmas Eve meeting covered Plaintiff's case only, and involved no staff preparation or recommendation. Id. at 63-64.
Plaintiff's transfer is particularly suspect in light of Defendants' attempt to obscure the origin of the transfer order. Defendants initially represented that the decision to transfer Plaintiff to Mule Creek arose at a standard Departmental Review Board meeting on December 24, 1993, and that the decision was made after a review of the Donovan warden's December 1 recommendation that Plaintiff be transferred back to Tehachapi. It was later revealed that there was no meeting on December 24, just a telephone call from Steven Cambra
to Julio-Valadez, and the decision to transfer Plaintiff was not based on the December 1 recommendation, but on a direct order from the Director.
Valadez Depo. at 61-62; Cambra Depo. at 11. It also came out that Ed Myers, one of the alleged participants in the December 24 "meeting," had no memory of the meeting or of signing the declaration submitted to this Court.
Myers Depo. at 17.
Cambra claims he does not recall when Gomez instructed him to move Plaintiff further north, and Gomez only states it was sometime in December. Cambra Depo. at 12; Gomez Decl. According to Cambra, it is unusual for Gomez to take an interest in a particular inmate. No defendant explains the individual attention to Plaintiff's case, and the circumvention of normal Departmental Review Board procedures.
For example, Defendants do not explain why they never consulted Plaintiff in light of their stated intent to do him a favor.
c. Treatment at Mule Creek.
Plaintiff was summarily placed in a double cell despite his assertion that his medical condition required that he be housed in a single cell. Plaintiff was then given a work assignment that conflicted with all visitation hours, notwithstanding Defendants' professed desire to locate Plaintiff closer to his family.
d. History of Retaliation.
On two prior occasions, courts have found actual or probable retaliation against Plaintiff by state corrections officials.
On numerous other occasions, Plaintiff has claimed retaliation.
The timing of Plaintiff's transfer, the irregular procedures employed, the treatment of Plaintiff at Mule Creek, and the history of retaliation against Plaintiff, all point to a retaliatory motive in moving plaintiff to Mule Creek and placing him in a double cell. Defendants do not set forth-any neutral institutional objectives to justify their actions.
Rather, they claim they acted out of goodwill towards Plaintiff. Under the circumstances of this case, and for the reasons set forth above, it is doubtful, indeed, that Defendants were acting out of goodwill towards Plaintiff.
Plaintiff has demonstrated probable success on his retaliation claim.
C. Balance of Hardships
The Court must weigh possible aggravation of Plaintiff's medical condition
and chilling of Plaintiff's first amendment rights
against the state's interest in managing its own prisons.
The state's interest in managing its own prisons is substantial, and federal courts should not lightly interfere. But here, Plaintiff has demonstrated probable retaliation against exercise of his first amendment rights, and the possibility of irreparable injury to his medical condition if a preliminary injunction does not issue.
All of the foregoing constitutes this Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.
1. Defendants are enjoined, during the pendency of this action, from housing Plaintiff other than in a single cell in a Level III prison.
2. In the event of a bona fide emergency, such as a fire or earthquake, this Order does not preclude temporarily relocating Plaintiff, provided that as soon as feasible Plaintiff is restored to a single cell in a Level III prison as required by this Order, and provided, further, that the Court and opposing counsel are fully and promptly informed of all relevant details justifying the temporary relocation.
3. This Preliminary Injunction is binding on the Director of the California Department of Corrections, his officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and upon those persons in active concert or participation with him who receive actual notice of the order by personal service or otherwise.
4. No person who has notice of this Preliminary Injunction shall fail to comply with the letter and spirit hereof nor shall any person subvert the letter or spirit hereof by any sham, indirection, or other artifice.
5. The Court retains jurisdiction to modify this Preliminary Injunction at any time and from time to time on its own motion or upon the motion of any party in the interest of effectuating its intendments or in the interest of furthering the ends of justice under all applicable law.
6. The above Preliminary Injunction is effective upon Plaintiff's giving and filing a security in cash or corporate surety in the sum of $ 500.
Dated: June 27, 1994.
Stanley A. Weigel