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Home / Opinion Digests / Criminal Law / 4th Cir.: Injunction denial required specific findings

4th Cir.: Injunction denial required specific findings

Appellant Douglas A. Hoglan, a Virginia inmate, appeals the district court’s order denying his motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the enforcement of certain provisions governing incoming prisoner mail. In particular, Hoglan challenges the institutional requirement that images with sexually explicit content contain a statement of compliance with 18 U.S.C. § 2257.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a)(2) requires district courts to make particularized findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting its decision to grant or deny a preliminary injunction. Here, while the district court’s order recognized the appropriate elements for an injunction set forth in Winter v. NRDC, 555 U.S. 7 (2008), its sole factual finding was that Hoglan acknowledges he may receive unlimited numbers of photos in the mail, though not in the quantity per envelope he prefers.

This finding alone is insufficient to support the district court’s conclusion that Hoglan failed to satisfy any of the Winter elements, particularly because it did not address Hoglan’s argument that he is irreparably harmed to the extent that the challenged provisions create financial and procedural deterrence with the combined effect of denying access to materials protected by the First Amendment. The district court also did not address Hoglan’s assertion that the institutional provisions at issue are tied to no legitimate penological interests.

Accordingly, this court is constrained to conclude that the district court abused its discretion in denying Hoglan’s motion.

Vacated and remanded for further proceedings.

Hoglan v. Robinson, Case No. 17-7169, Mar. 9, 2018. 4th Cir. (per curiam), from WDVA at Roanoke (Kiser). Douglas A. Hoglan, Appellant pro se; Mary Grace Miller for Appellee. VLW No. 018-2-049, 5 pp.

VLW 018-2-049