By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
What irritates the legislature most is that Muecke has cost the state money--about $3 million so far--while forcing it to comply with his rulings. Muecke has appointed "special masters" to monitor the state's prisons and make sure his rulings are being carried out by Lewis, the corrections director.
Now, in response, the legislature has attempted to put a clamp on all prisoner lawsuits, including those that have merit, such as the Casey and Hook cases.
Last month, for example, the legislature passed a law prohibiting the payment of "special masters" with state funds.
Legal experts say the law will almost certainly be found to be an unconstitutional incursion on the powers of the federal judiciary. And virtually all serious observers say it will do nothing to solve the real problem--vast numbers of frivolous prisoner lawsuits.
Christina Acker is undeterred by the efforts of the governor, attorney general, the legislature, the Congress. "These rather naive people think they can squash this, but they can't," she says.
So far, Acker's gotten notices to pay filing fees for six lawsuits she has pursued recently in state court. In each case, the court ordered that 20 percent of the funds in her prison account be immediately garnished.
But Christina Acker says she has no money in her prison account.
"Twenty percent of nothing is still nothing," she notes.
Christina Acker has other things on her mind, anyway. She plans on suing a judge soon, she says during a phone interview. So please excuse. Christina Acker has to get back to the law library.
"I have absolutely nothing to lose," she says.
"There is nothing that can stop me.