Free Expression, Due Process, Prisons/Jails - John Morris Kinter was a federal pre-trial detainee in the Cache County Jail. In January 2005, he ordered and paid for a legal dictionary that was mailed to him at the jail. When the book arrived that month, officials informed him that according to jail policy, the dictionary now belonged to the Cache County Jail and would remain at that facility after Kinter’s release or transfer.
On February 15, 2005, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorney Brian Barnard filed a federal lawsuit on Kinter’s behalf asking that the policy be declared unconstitutional because it violates inmates’ First Amendment rights and because the confiscation of books is an unconstitutional taking without due process. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Cache County Jail informally changed its policy and Kinter was allowed to take his book when he was transferred to another facility. As a result of these actions, we withdrew from the case. We will continue to monitor how Cache County Jail implements its book policy.