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  • mcprison mcprison Jul 20, 2001 12:30 PM Flag

    sex offenders, 2

    In addition, 17 other South Bay inmates have asked to have similar claims attached to a habeas corpus
    case currently under way before Palm Beach Circuit Judge Peter Blanc. That case, Jerry A. Charles v.
    Kathleen Kearney, filed in March 2000, involves Charles, a Ryce Act detainee who was placed in
    solitary confinement at South Bay. Kearney is secretary of the Florida Department of Children and
    Families, which has administrative responsibility for the Sexually Violent Predator Program established
    by the Ryce Act.

    Public defenders from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, who are representing the inmates seeking
    to attach their claims to Charles, say their goal is to restrict what they call Wackenhut's indiscriminate
    use of solitary confinement at South Bay. Palm Beach County Public Defender Ken Johnson says that
    solitary confinement is used at South Bay "whenever, wherever and indefinitely."

    The Charles case remains active even though Charles was released from solitary in April of last year,
    after Judge Blanc issued a "show cause" order on his behalf. In May 2000, the state moved to dismiss
    the suit, arguing that Charles' release from solitary rendered the case moot.

    But in July, Blanc denied the state's motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Wackenhut practices
    were "capable of repetition," in a manner "not subject to judicial review." In December, Blanc granted
    Charles' original habeas petition, thus retroactively confirming that the solitary confinement was a due
    process violation. And he denied a new state motion to dismiss, again continuing the case on the
    "capable of repetition" grounds.

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