KINCHELOE, Mich. (FOX 2) - An inmate serving a life sentence at a prison in Michigan's Upper Peninsula says his first amendment rights were violated after guards intercepted pornography that was mailed to him.
John Alexander, 57, is seeking $60,000 from the Michigan Department of Corrections after prison guards at Kinross Correctional Facility prevented him from receiving the adult entertainment sent to him.
Alexander's friends thought it would be a nice gesture for his birthday when they sent him issues of Foreplay Magazine. YKTV, the makers of the magazine, specialize in prison entertainment - a niche market for sure.
"Now Foreplay is not what anyone would consider hard-core pornography," said Attorney Todd Perkins. "More like a Playboy or Whiskey GQ."
Perkins isn't directly involved in the case, but he did weigh in on the unique lawsuit with few previous examples.
"That's not uncommon for me. To see that and to have seen those type of lawsuits that are currently within the system and some successfully litigated to completion," he said.
But when it comes to lawsuits relating to prisoners and pornography, there's only one. It was introduced in the federal system before being dismissed.
Alexander, who is serving a life sentence for second-degree fleeing from a police officer in Wayne County, hopes to turn his suit into a class action case and is recruiting fellow inmates to join him, arguing his a first amendment issue.
He also authored a protest letter to a corrections officer, who replied the directive not to deliver the nudie mags likely came from Lansing.
Sources close to MDOC speculate the reasons the magazines were intercepted because anything close to depicting sexual violence could incite a security issue.
A spokesperson with the prison system said they were aware of the complaint but declined to comment on the case.
The case isn't the first of its kind, but there are few other examples of similar litigation being filed. Attorney Todd Perkins out of Detroit spoke to FOX 2's Jessica Dupnack about the case. She'll be live at 5:30 p.m. with the story.