Northern Nevada Correctional Center inmate removed from position as law clerk for passing contraband


Abarra v. State of Nevada (Nev. Supreme Ct. – Feb. 5, 2015)

“In February 2011, a correctional officer at Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC) found appellant David Abarra, an NNCC inmate, carrying 21 pills, a contraband pornographic magazine that included a note stating that an unspecified item or service would be “the usual price,” and another inmate’s completed W-2 form. NNCC charged Abarra with, among other things, unauthorized trading or bartering and providing legal services for a fee. Abarra pleaded guilty to bartering but pleaded not guilty to providing legal services for a fee (an “MJ29″ violation).”

“At a disciplinary hearing, Abarra stated that although he was guilty of passing contraband, the “usual price” note was in reference to the magazine itself and that he was returning the W-2 to another prisoner as part of his work as a prison law clerk. The NNCC convicted Abarra of the MJ29 violation and, as punishment, removed him from his position as a law clerk.”

Abarra challenged the MJ29 discipline through an informal grievance, followed by a first-level formal grievance.  Abarra filed a complaint in district court asserting five claims.  The district court dismissed his claims asserting that Abarra failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.  The Nevada Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part.

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