Wednesday's New York Legal News Round Up
Second Department--Defamation Is As Defamation Does

Pro Se Inmate Litigants-Part Deux

I would like to introduce you to yet another extremely litigious pro se inmate, Harry Franklin.  Back in 1983, Mr. Franklin was a thorn a certain district court judge's side, to say the least.  At the time that this decision was written, Mr. Franklin had filed well over 100 pro se claims.

The judge lamented the course of his lengthy relationship with Mr. Franklin in the first paragraph of Franklin v. State of Oregon, 563 F. Supp. 1310 (D. Ore. 1983):

This is another chapter in the Harry Franklin saga. No longer am I tempted to call it the final chapter, as desirable as that would be to me. I mention mournfully that only the finality of death-his or mine-would enable the other of us to use the term “final” in that way. And, of course, if mine comes first, I have no doubt that another judge will someday express lamentations such as these. They will be packaged and labeled, by reason of tradition, as opinions.

Mr. Franklin's numerous and humorous claims addressed in this decision, as described by the judge, included the following:

  • Franklin alleges that while he was held in segregated confinement in the Yamhill County jail, an officer neglected to give him daily half-hour out-of-cell walks. This allegation is somewhat surprising because in other filings Franklin alleges he is crippled.
  • Franklin alleges prison guards abridged his “right to be supplied” with T-shirts.
  • Franklin sues prison guards who allegedly “wear clopping heels on their boots, which causes plaintiff to feel he's in a Natsy [sic] prison camp.”
  • In a novel use of a discrimination lawsuit, Franklin complains about the racial diversity of the Parole Board. Not only does Franklin's complaint not state a claim for relief but his supporting affidavit shows that this action is entirely vexatious. Franklin must find a forum other than this federal court in which to ventilate his small-minded apartheid philosophy.
  • Franklin complains the OSP staff violated his right to free speech by disciplining him for commenting on a guard's allegedly out-of-wedlock birth.
  • Franklin seeks $2 million general and $1 million punitive damages for the mental frustration he says a Portland television station caused him when one of its programs allegedly misidentified a “14 wheeler tractor and trailer rig” as an “18 wheeler.”
  • Franklin wants to be Governor of Oregon. Or.Rev.Stat. § 137.280(1)(a) stands in his way.
  • Franklin sues “Ronal Reagan and his constiuants [sic]” for $8.9 million for “violation of undue restraint.” Franklin complains that an unspecified executive order requires Oregonians to wear seat belts and that the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee endorsed a model drunk driving bill.
  • Franklin complains that he lost sleep on three occasions because OSP's steam heater pipes snap and pop.
  • Franklin alleges he endures “Harassment by Water.” Specifically, Franklin complains that the sprinkling of the prison yard during the summer months makes it a difficult for him to find a dry place to lie down.
  • Franklin complains that OSP rules on cleanliness conflict with his constitutional right to accumulate an unlimited number of newspaper clippings.
  • According to Franklin, OSP's superintendent ordered officers to “strip cells of all boxes” thereby violating his “writes [sic] to have and to hold file cartons.”
  • Franklin contends that the superintendent violated his “right to be at piece [sic] and/or treated better” by placing him in S & I near a vile-mouthed inmate. This complaint is rather disingenuous coming from one who was disciplined for his use of foul language.
  • Franklin sues Oregon's Governor, Attorney General, legislators, and judges for failing “to pass Legislation which would keep our System such as The Courts, &/or Jails from being so corrupt.”
  • Franklin claims a corrections officer falsely “arrested” him for destroying public property. Apparently, Franklin decorated the crutch the OSP infirmary gave him with slogans touting his gubernatorial campaign. The OSP disciplinary board declined to punish Franklin for this overzealous electioneering.
  • Quite literally, Franklin seeks his just desserts. Apparently, the OSP food service bakes desserts in aluminum rather than stainless steel pans. Franklin will not eat desserts served from aluminum pans for fear that “scrapings” from the pans will “settle in [his] Human Joints.”

Whew.  I'm tired.  I'm not sure if it's from laughing or from cutting and pasting the vast number of priceless (and pointless) allegations. 

Our tax dollars at work, dear readers.  Our tax dollars at work.


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John Pusinsky

How can one man/woman hold the courts hostage like this?

A limit should be placed on the number of lawsuits a person can file each year. The limits should be determined by the number of past lawsuits filled and the work load of the courts. As for prisoners, they should have all potential lawsuits reviewed by a committee made up of their peers and if found unobjectionable the lawsuit then proceeds to a retired Judge or lawyer who has the final say if the suit should proceed.

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