Saturday, June 25, 2016

Milestones: Kikimura v. Turner, 28 F.3d 592 (7th Cir. 1994)


Plaintiff is a Japanese national who is imprisoned in Illinois for attempting to engage in a terrorist attack. The warden of the prison did not allow the prisoner plaintiff to receive reading material in Japanese. The warden prohibited reading materials in Japanese because there was no one on the prison staff to read Japanese and screen the material. Plaintiff sued the warden for violation of constitutional rights, and sought injunctive relief and damages. While the suit was pending, the prison set up measures to screen the Japanese language material.

The court affirmed the trial court's denial the damages based on qualified immunity. The court, however, noted that injunctive relief may be available because the question was not moot, as the prison re-institute the policy of banning Japanese language materials. The court found that summary rejection of foreign language material was unconsitutional. Without making further determination, the court remanded the question to the district court.


Did you know the Japanese Red Army attempted to attack New York? I had no idea, and I follow Asia news. That's quite something.

The case itself is significant also. It is an unsettled question whether a language group, as distinguished from a group of common national origin or ethnicity, may have Equal Protection rights. The court remanded this question to the district court, but there is no record of further proceeding.

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