Colorado's grievance procedure is designed to intentionally mislead the prisoners who have to follow it into believing that they have to comply with certain provisions, such as the relief requested, or face being barred from suit due to "failure to exhaust" administrative remedies which is required before any civil action addressing prison conditions can proceed in court, by the Prison Litigation Reform Act 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a).
Colorado's Grievance Procedure AR 850-04IV-E-3-C-2 states: "The grievance officer may deny the grievance on procedural grounds, without addressing the substantive issue, if the grievance is incomplete, inconsistent with a former step, incomprehensible, illegible, requests relief that is not available, fails to request relief, or in any other way fails to comply with the provisions of this regulation, when the grievance is denied for a procedural error, the grievance officer shall certify in the response that the offender has not exhausted the grievance process."
First, there are many conjectures that I could make as to whether this Administrative Regulation oversteps its bounds by diminishing First Amendment rights, however I won't do that at this time. What I will do is simply prove the claim stated in the opening of this paper by presenting a brief history of jurisprudence of 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a).
42 U.S.C. 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act reads: "No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under 42 U.S.C. 1983 … or any other federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted."
Once again: "(T)he modifier 'available' requires the possibility of some relief." When the facts demonstrate that no such potential exists, the inmate has no obligation to exhaust the remedy."
"Next, an administrative scheme might be so opaque that it becomes, practically speaking, incapable of use. In this situation, some mechanism exists to provide relief, but no ordinary prisoner can discern or navigate them. As the solicitor general put the point: when rules are "so confusing that no reasonable prisoner can use them 'then' they're no longer available" Tr. Of Oral Arg 23
"And finally the same is true when prison administrators thwart inmates from taking advantage of a grievance procedure through machination, misrepresentation, or intimidation. In Woodford v. Ngo, we recognized that officials might devise procedural systems (including the blind alleys and quagmires just discussed) in order to "trip up all but the most skillful prisoners. As [appellet] courts have recognized, such interference with an inmates pursuit of relief renders the administrative process unavailable. And then, once again 1997(a)(e) poses NO bar." Ross v. Blake, - u.s. - , 136 S.ct. 1850, 1959-60 (2016)
Essentially, if for any of these reasons the grievance procedure is made unavailable, the prisoner need only to exhaust the process, i.e. file all steps, remain consistent with your relief, and comply with time lines. In actuality this was decided in 2001, before Woodford or Ross in Booth v Churner, 532 U.S. 731; 121 S.ct 819(2001). In Booth it was decided that an inmate seeking a remedy outside the scope allowable in the procedure in Booth that was monetary damages, he must still go through the process and complete all steps. Once he has completed all steps of appeal, he has exhausted all "available" remedies, and when officials misrepresent that fact, we have 3 supreme court cases to show otherwise.
Furthermore, all this has already been established, not only in the supreme court, but the 10th circuit and Colorado district courts. In Gandy v Raemisch, 2014 u.s. Dist. Lexis 43668, and affirmed by Gandy v. Barber, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 3285 (10th Cir. Colo., Feb 23, 2016). Here Anthony A. Decesaro, Colorado's administrative head over the grievance procedure and, step 3 grievance officer, concluded that because Mr. Gandy had requested "written acknowledgement of retaliation and compensation," which are prohibited as allowable remedies by AR 850-04, that "[He] have not exhausted [his] administrative remedies in this matter based on your failure to satisfactorily request relief allowable." The case goes on to say "The defendants (CDOC employees) cite no authority for the proposition that an inmate's request for relief that exceeds that available under the grievance procedure results in a failure to exhaust, and indeed, Supreme Court precedent establishes just the opposite. In Booth v. Churner…" "To the contrary, the record reflects that Mr. Handy timely filed [his grievance] as a challenge to his allegedly retaliatory transfer out of AVCF, properly pursued that grievance through steps 2 and 3, and thus fully exhausted it."
The failure to correct this misleading policy with so much solid evidence against it, in eluding first hand knowledge by the 2 most capable people in CDOC, Rick Raemich and Anothny A. Decesaro, more than 2 years later can only be seen as intentional. For prison officials to intentionally mislead prisoners in an effort to manufacture a way to defeat their claims in court is a violation of the 1st amendment rights to petition the government for the redress of grievances; access to the court. This is especially true because congress has made administrative procedures a mandatory prerequisite to suit.
What body of the United States government would violate such a fundamental right of modern and civilized society? Could they have some vested interest in preventing claims from reaching full litigation? Could it be to prevent the public from becoming aware of even worse infringements on society and humanity? One only needs to see what really goes on inside of an "MCU" or "SHU", then examine the fact that the prison litigation reform act bars damages for "mental pain and anguish," and that the u.s. military's most recent change in tactics is towards what's called "effects based warfare" aimed at taking actions to influence the way the enemy thinks and makes decisions. If it were illegal to practice psychological torture techniques on its slave citizens, where else would they be able to develop these tactics?
Addition to Grievance Campaign
Colorado's grievance procedure, AR 850-04 violates 1st Amendment rights by knowingly and intentionally misleading prisoners. Among other things, requesting a remedy that exceeds that available under the AR does not result in failure to exhaust as stated in AR 850-04. This has been clearly established in the District of Colorado 10th Cir Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court; please see: Gandy v. Raemisch, 2014 U.S. Dist Lex is 43668 (Dist Colo. March 31, 2014) affirmed by 10th Cir, Booth V. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 121 S. Ct. 1819(2001); and Ross v. Blake, - u.s. - , 136 S. ct. 1850 (2016).
This violates our right to access the courts under the 1st amendment. Please fix this policy immediately to consider grievances exhausted in accordance with these decisions.