FDOC'S REMOVAL OF MEDIA PLAYERS CHALLENGED IN COURT ( By Melvin Perez). A Civil Rights lawsuit filed pursuant to 42 United States Code, Section 1983 challenging the Florida Department of Correction's (FDOC) removal of Mp3 and Mp4's was filed in the Federal Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division. The Federal lawsuit was filed by the Florida Justice Institute and the Social Justice Law Collective and was filed as a class action on behalf of all FDOC prisoners. The lawsuit alleges that FDOC confiscated the lawful purchased digital music and audio books of thousands of Florida prisoners. It also contends that after years of selling digital music and audio books to prisoners-and realizing millions of dollars in profits from those sales-the FDOC has now implemented a statewide policy forcing Florida prisoners to surrender their digital media players and all of their lawfully purchased music and audio books, without just compensation. The lawsuits alleges that as a direct result, FDOC violated the provisions of the Takings and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution. "In effect, the Florida Department of Corrections has stolen millions of dollars of digital music and books from the incarcerated people in its custody," said the Florida Justice Institute Executive Director Dante Trevisani. "This was done merely to obtain a more profitable contract, at the direct expense of the incarcerated people and their families.". According to the lawsuit, the FDOC induced prisoners to purchase the non-confiscated digital music and books by explicitly promising them that they would own any purchased media files forever. The promises had their intended effect. As from 2011 to 2017, FDOC prisoners purchased nearly 6.7 million digital media files at a cost of roughly $11.3 million to those prisoners and their families. However, this promise quickly became meaningless when the FDOC had the opportunity to enter into a more profitable contract with a new vendor. "These men and women relied on the representations made by the FDOC and its vender that, once purchased, they would own these songs and books for the duration of their incarceration," said Social Justice Law Collective attorney Josh Glickman. ""The FDOC'S confiscation of these individuals' lawfully purchased property-for no reason other than to turn a profit-is unconscionable." The lawsuit seeks as relief among other things that a preliminary and permanent injunction is granted that will restore the prisoners' access, while in prison to the digital media files they purchased through the digital media player program.
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