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this week I will be advocating for Johnny who 20 years ago was sentenced to life in prison. 20 years has passed, and Johnny has been able to overcome the negativity in his life and overtime become a role model to his fellow prisoners. Johnny has since then received a degree and is currently working in the prison’s kitchen due to his exceptional behavior while being incarcerated at the facility. While working in the kitchen one day Johnny found himself in the middle of fight that occurred in the mess hall. Now, Johnny was not involved in no way, shape or form, but was still handed down a “cruel and unusual punishment” of 6 months in isolation, better known as solitary confinement, the removal of reading material, soda, etc. 

I first want to say that in Mauro v. Arpaio the courts ruled that a ban of personal possessions such as adult magazines was a violation of the first amendment. The court in this case then applied the four prong test and concluded that the ban of the personal possession were in fact invalid and a violation to the prisoners’ rights. (Maddex, 1999)

Regarding, Johnny’s time in solitary confinement; I want to say that Johnny has already, been sentenced for his crime and has for past 20 years respectfully been carrying out. I also believe Johnny’s rights to due process were violated as well. In Ayers v. Ryan the district court ruled in favor of overseeing a “fact intensive inquiry” to see if 180 solitary confinement punishment meant that due process was in fact needed. (Maddex, 1999) Johnny should be heard in court and be able defend himself.  


Maddex Jr., J. L. (1999). Correctional Case Law: 1997-1998. Criminal Justice Review (Georgia State University), 24(1), 107–114. https://doi-org.ezproxy1.apus.edu/10.1177/073401689902400135


On behalf of my client, I would argue that the constitutional rights of Johnny, especially his 8th amendment right was/has not been violated. I would argue that in Hamelin v Michigan (1991), the Courts held that the 8th amendment only prohibits “grossly disproportionate” sentences/punishments. My client made the decision to order a 24 hour lock down of all prisoners for 10 days, prohibit items that are considered “treats”, and ordered the most violent prisoners to solitary confinement, which included Johnny. This decision was made with everyone’s safety in mind. There is an unknown killer(s) in the prison population who killed a fellow inmate and injured prison guards. The decision to send not only Johnny to solitary confinement, but the rest of the serious felons was made with the intention of finding out exactly who was responsible for the death. The killing of the inmate and the injuries of the prison guards cannot go unpunished, as this would set a precedent for other prisoners, that this type of crime can occur without any repercussions. The intent of my client was to enforce strict movements of prisoners so another violent confrontation among prisoners could be prevented, as intelligence gathered in the investigation after the fatal incident found that other killings were imminent.  As Warden, his number one responsibility is the safety of all his prisoners and employees. Since implementing said changes (punishments) not one inmate or employee that been injured or killed, all inmates have received their 3 meals a day, medical attention, and weekly exercise. I believe I have proven that my client has kept all personnel safe and his decision was not grossly disproportionate to the event that occurred.

Lastly, I would also mention in Solem v. Helm, the Court held that under the 8th amendment right of prohibiting cruel and unusual provision, it only barred barbaric punishments, such as being stoned to death. Johnny, and his fellow prisoners received all their prisoner basic rights, such as access to medical care for diagnosis and treatment, professional medical  judgment and administration of the treatment prescribed, 3 meals a day, and the minimum hours of yard exercise. I believe I have clearly proven that my client has not violated anyone’s 8th amendment right. 



I am representing the warden for this week’s forum discussion. The decision and course of action the warden imposed to the prisoners did not violate the rights of Johnny. The punishment for the prisoners was “usual and legal” and the warden did not violate any policy or prisoners’ rights. In Roper v Simmons (2005) the Court considered whether it was cruel and unusual punishment to execute a prisoner for a crime he committed when he was a minor.  In previous decisions, the Court had found it unconstitutional to execute persons who were less than 16 at the time of their crime but had upheld executions of those 16 and 17 at the time of their crimes. Johnny was treated the same as those who were in the same prison category for similar offenses and all prisoners still had all humanitarian necessities available. Prisoners were not denied water (hot or cold), light, appropriate meal portions, legal documents or medical care. Prisoners were allowed access to medical care for diagnosis and treatment; A professional medical judgment; and Administration of the treatment prescribed by the physician.  The warden ensured no laws were being broken for his decision on implementing such punishment and the last thing he needed on top of a deceased prisoner and injured prison staff were lawsuits coming from this.  


APUS, 2019. Week 7 Lesson, Constitutional Law. Retrieved from http://apus.intelluslearning.com/v3/course-widget/923/#/document/132402565/1/66a3fa1ffd4cb9282e786dc6a5ba0aaa/f792b07ddf23873ac08933dcabf86b63/browse_published_content/9747/76446/77909/2/lesson/lesson?hideClose=true&tagId=48422&external_course_id=393939&external_course_name=LSTD301%20D001%20Sum%2019

APUS, 2019. Week 7 Lesson, Constitutional Law. Retrieved from https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/group/security-and-global-studies-common/Universal/LSTD/301/elf/lesson-7/elf_index.html