Sixth Circuit partially reinstates prisoner's civil rights action
Kevin King sued a number of employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections, arguing that they violated his First Amendment rights by transferring him to higher security prisons because he engaged in a constitutional rights claim against the Department and offered to help other prisoners do the same. The Appellate Court had previously held that simply transferring King to a different prison was not illegal retaliation, but that putting him under tighter security, with corresponding limitations on his activities, was an illegal response to the exercise of constitutional rights.
A bench trial was held in Kalamazoo, where the trial judge, Robert Holmes Bell, ruled that no employee had violated King's civil rights. On appeal, the higher court reversed Bell's decision with regard to three particular employees. The case was remanded to Bell's court to address the civil rights violations alleged against these three.