Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Yang v. Missouri Department of Corrections

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 15, 2016

Richard Yang, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Missouri Department of Corrections; George Lombardi, Director, MDOC; John Doe; Tom Clements, Director of Division of Adult Institutions; Mariann Atwell, Director, Division of Offender Rehabilitative Services; Patricia Cornell, Deputy Division Director; Fred Johnson, Deputy Warden, Potosi Correctional Center; Don Roper, Warden, Potosi Correctional Center; Omer L. Clark, Deputy Warden, Southeast Correctional Center; William (Bill) Stange, Deputy Warden, Southeast Correctional Center; Allan Hughes, Committee Member, Southeast Correctional Center; Angela Riddell, CCA, Southeast Correctional Center; Dwayne Kempker, Deputy Director, Division of Adult Institutions; K. Malloy, Functional Unit Manager, Potosi Correctional Center; G. Phagley, Committee Member, Potosi Correctional Center; Cindy Griffin, Functional Unit Manager, Potosi Correctional Center, Defendants-Appellees.

          Submitted: April 14, 2016

         Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - Cape Girardeau

          Before COLLOTON and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges, and MOODY, [1] District Judge.

          COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

         Richard Yang, an inmate in Missouri, appeals the dismissal of his lawsuit against several officials of the Missouri Department of Corrections under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Yang alleged that the officials violated his constitutional rights when they censored his Chinese-language mail and denied him the ability to place telephone calls to China. The district court[2] granted summary judgment for the officials, and we affirm.

         I.

         Yang was born in China in 1940. He moved to the United States in 1984 and is now a citizen. Yang has been incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corrections since 2005, when he was sentenced to twenty years in prison for second-degree murder.

         Yang's first language is Mandarin Chinese. He can speak, read, and write English, although he claims he cannot fully express himself in English. Yang's relatives remain in China, and none of them understands English.

         When he was first imprisoned, the Department allowed Yang to correspond in Chinese. But from late 2007 to some point in 2008, and again after January 2011, Department officials refused for security reasons to deliver Yang's incoming and outgoing mail written in Chinese.

         The officials restricted Yang's Chinese-language mail pursuant to the Department's censorship and mail policies. Those policies provide for censoring of mail that poses a threat to the security of the penal institution. Items written in a "language that staff are unable to interpret with current available resources" are said to present such a threat. Thus, all mail in a foreign language is sent to a committee that determines whether an employee-interpreter is available by reviewing the Department's "institutional translator list." If an employee can interpret the mail, it is sent to that employee for review and screening before delivery to its intended destination. But if no employee on the list can interpret the mail, the committee censors the mail and informs the inmate of the basis for its decision.

         At all times relevant to this litigation, no Department employees could read or translate Mandarin Chinese. Because several employees knew Spanish, however, the Department screened other inmates' Spanish-language mail during the periods when Yang's Chinese-language mail was rejected.

         Yang twice complained about the treatment of his mail through the Department's grievance process. He explained that his family was unable to understand English, requested permission to send and receive Chinese-language mail, and demanded that the Department provide an interpreter who could review the mail and clear it for delivery. Department officials denied Yang's grievances.

         Yang also sought to place telephone calls to his family and friends in China. Before February 2012, the Department prohibited all international calls. After that date, international calling was permitted, but Yang temporarily remained unable to call people in China due to technical difficulties. The Department's international-calling provider resolved those issues, and Yang may now call his family in China.

          Throughout his time in prison, Yang has been able to place domestic telephone calls and to send and receive English-language mail. Yang mailed a couple letters in English to his family in China. Yang also attempted to contact a few acquaintances in the United States by mail and telephone. The recipients of Yang's communications, including family members in China, neither responded to his letters nor accepted his phone calls.

         In May 2012, Yang, proceeding pro se, brought a ยง 1983 action against the Department and several officials. Yang alleged that the defendants had infringed his rights under the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause by denying him the ability to correspond in Chinese or to place telephone calls to his family and friends in China. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.