Daniel Manville said he has had just about enough. As the director of the Civil Rights Clinic at Michigan State University, he has to travel from the Metro area to Western Michigan to the far west side of the Upper Peninsula in order to meet with clients.
That’s hard enough.
But when he started hearing that prisons were going to shorten the hours during which attorneys could meet with clients, and that some were not going to provide private meeting space for confidential conversations, Manville said that burden was too much.
He said he first had a problem when he was visiting a prison in Adrian. He was told then that he couldn’t use a private conference room to meet with his client.
“The woman working the desk said, ‘We don’t have a key for that room,’ but that’s just ludicrous,” Manville said. The captain produced a key, but when he couldn’t track down an officer to provide personal protection for Manville, the meeting had to take place with the door open.
Manville didn’t make much of it, and wrote off the experience as a fluke. But then he visited another prison, where he was told that there would no longer be visiting hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, even for attorneys.
That’s unworkable, he said.
So he’s suing the director of the Michigan Department of Corrections, and wardens at three prisons. He filed Monday in the Eastern District.
“All I am asking for is for them to be reasonable, which is in some cases asking a lot of the Department of Corrections,” Manville said. “In more than 20 years I have never had a problem with being able to meet with a client. It’s getting to be unreasonable.”
Manville said that he was told that budget cutbacks have caused the prisons to shorten visiting hours.
Among the other named plaintiffs are attorneys Gerald Lorence, Craig Davis, Dory Baron, Lee Somerville and Nick Suciu. The case is Civil Rights Clinic, et al. v. Washington, et al.