Frivolous Lawsuits by Inmates

America’s jailbirds don’t give up. Disappointed by the criminal justice system, this plucky lot still has faith in the civil side. Last year, the states spent $81 million defending what state attorneys general called frivolous lawsuits. Here are a few favorites:

  • A Virginia inmate tried to sue himself for $5 million on the grounds that he had gotten drunk and caused himself to violate his religious beliefs by committing a crime. Because he had no money, he wanted the state to pay the $5 million.
  • A convicted New York rapist sued the state, claiming he lost sleep and suffered headaches and chest pains after being given a “defective haircut” by an unqualified barber.
  • A Nevada inmate sued when he ordered two jars of chunky peanut butter at the Nevada State Prison canteen and received one chunky and one creamy.
  • A San Quentin death row inmate sued California, claiming his civil rights were violated because his packages were sent via UPS rather than the U.S. Postal Service.
  • An Oklahoma inmate alleged his religious freedoms were violated but could not say just how, because the main tenet of his faith was that all its practices were secret.
  • An Arizona inmate sued when he was not invited to a pizza party that prison employees held for a guard leaving his job.
  • An Indiana prisoner sued because he wanted to obtain Rogain for his baldness.
  • An Ohio inmate sued for being denied possession of soap on a rope.
  • An Oklahoma inmate sued because he was forced to listen to country music.
  • A Colorado con sued for early release because “everyone knows a con only serves about three years of a 10-year sentence.”