Within the 60-odd pages of legal correspondences generated by Godoy's prison petitions, a jailhouse official acknowledges that the augmented commisary prices for coffee and other goods are going toward the Inmate Welfare Fund. The suit notes that the state's prison system recently lost the cas of Ashker v. CDC, which established that prisons can no longer glean interest from inmate trust accounts to fund the Inmate Welfare Fund (which keeps up libraries, gyms, etc.). Godoy and his colleagues allege Pelican Bay is making up for that dried-up revenue source by unfair price-gouging.
"Such conduct constitutes a violation of the takings clause of the 5th
Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a violation of the
Federal Civil Rights act, in that it constitutes a taking of private
funds [inmate private monies] for public use [to fund the Inmate
Welfare Fund] without providing compensation therefore," reads the
suit. In other words, this case is more about the Constitution than coffee.
"The case, you can imagine, will be hotly challenged by the defendants," said Franck. "It will test an area under the 5th Amendment takings clause."
You can read the whole suit right here:
Franck describes his client, Godoy, as "a jailhouse lawyer." In a separate case that doesn't test any Constitutional amendments we know of, Franck is also representing Godoy in a lawsuit against guards at Pelican Bay the inmate accuses of shooting his eye out with a pellet gun.