Tallahassee Democrat by James Call
October 26, 2019
The cost of censorship in prison for state taxpayers is $1.2 million.
Prison Legal News, a criminal-justice magazine for inmates, was awarded $1.2 million in attorney fees October 22, by a federal district court in Tallahassee. The nine-year old lawsuit centered on the Florida Department of Corrections rejection of all issues of the 72-page publications based on the content of its advertisements.
Florida is the only state, which censors the 30-year old publication because of ads for phone services, pen-pals and postage stamps.
Four years ago, the district court held that DOC’s censorship guidelines did not violate First Amendment rights but that they did violate Prison Legal News’ due process rights when officials failed to provide adequate notice the magazine was rejected.
In his 36-page order, U.S. District Court Judge Mark E. Walker awarded $1,148,210.89 in fees plus $33,448.57 in litigation expenses to PLN, published by Lake Worth Beach-based the Human Rights Defense Center.