In their letter, the inmates ask for the court’s assistance in finding lawyers to help them file a lawsuit against the state and said they feared retaliation from the staff at the prison.
In a Nov. 19 order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake agreed to accept the letter as a formal federal civil rights action, but wrote that she could not accept the complaint in its present form due to several legal issues with its format and because it was filed in the incorrect judicial district. The prison’s location puts the case under the jurisdiction of the federal court in Raleigh.
It was not immediately clear if the inmates are represented by a lawyer or if their complaint will be refiled in the correct venue.
Walker said the prison system learned of the allegations through internal grievances filed by the inmates, not from the letter to the court.
(Photo Credit: AP)