Saturday, April 11, 2009

Court Sanctioned Barbarism: Fifteen Days of Torture


In January 2008 Judge A. P. Bissonnette affirmed a non-existent order supposedly issued by Judge A. B. Torhorst1, of the Racine County Circuit Court in May 2004, allowing the DOC to forcibly feed me. Moreover, in a backdoor deal with the DOC, Bissonnette disallowed force feedings on Sundays cynically cutting the DOC's expenses due to my strike by one seventh but claiming a paternal interest in relieving the thrice-a-day, seven-day-a-week stress of the force feedings on me and the security staff.

That backdoor deal became the source of all my troubles. You see Bissonnette's order also cut my barely subsistence intake by one seventh. To an astute mind this would imply an impending weight loss, unfortunately there were no astute minds in the DOC Health Service Units (HSUs) to which I would be subjected over the next year.

First up to bat (from Jan. 2008 to Jun. 2008), and striking out, was the Jackson Correctional Institution's (JCI) HSU. I was transferred to JCI immediately after Bissonnette signed his No-Sunday-Feedings order. Note that January is the coldest month of the winter and that I was imprisoned in a cage with a high temperature of around fifty-five degrees. Needless to say my weight dropped. Of course the JCI HSU immediately looked past the obvious and accused me of purging the force feeding formula.

To prevent the suspected purging the JCI HSU extended the force feeding sessions from fifteen minutes to two hours. Now instead of forty-five minutes a day the procedures took six hours, which, because the intubation tube was left in my nasal passage the entire time, caused internal damage that lead nasal passage bleeding.

The extended sessions also meant the extraction-team (x-team) had to stay suited-up for the full six hours and, of course, draw overtime for the duty. At roughly $20 per hour per person the extra cost of the extended sessions rapidly built, up. After months of such treatment my net weight gain was 1.4 pounds which, suspect, was attributable mostly to a difference in the scales used to weigh me. With staff and administrative overtime the JCI venture came to over $16,457 per pound gained. The JCI HSU admitted its defeat (not its stupidity), issued me a blanket for warmth, which I'd asked for back in January, and resumed the fifteen minute feeding sessions.

Shortly thereafter I was transferred to the New Lisbon Correctional Institution (NLCI) (from Jun. 2008 to Oct. 2008) where, regrettably for me, no one had told the NLCI HSU staff that the JCI HSU had stopped the extended force feedings.

NLCI, to assure my compliance with the extended feedings, first maced then tazered2 me. I took the NLCI HSU to court and got an injunction against the violence and the extended intubations. The injunction limited the feedings to fifteen minutes or less and limited the time the intubation tube could remain in my person to nine minutes or less. Unbeknownst to me the NLCI HSU, in order to meet the court's nine minute limit, switched force feeding formulas from the high density Ensure-Plus (350 calories per 8 oz.) to the low density Ensure-HP (230 calories per 8 oz.). To understand the full impact of this change consider that until January 2008 I was force feed eight 8-oz. cans of Ensure-Plus per day (8 * 350 cals.. = 2,800 cals..) for seven days a week (7 * 2,800 cals.. = 19,600 cals..). After January I was force fed only six days a week (6 * 2,800 cals.. = 16,800 cals..). With the surreptitious switch to Ensure-HP my daily caloric intake dropped (8 * 230,cals.. = 1,840 cals..) with a commensurate drop in weekly intake (6 * 1,840 cals.. = 10,400 cals..).

On the tail of this formula botch up I was transferred to Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI) (from Oct. 2008 to Feb. 2009) where my weight began to precipitously drop. At first I assumed the weight drop was due to the colder cage I was imprisoned in than at NLCI but later I noticed the nurses were force feeding me Ensure-HP instead of Ensure-Plus. Knowing that if my weight continued to drop the morons at the WCI HSU would, as did those at the NLCI HSU, assume I was the agent of the drop I notified them of the formula change and its consequences. Not only did the HSU ignore the notification it immediately began accusing me of purging the formula!

Not wanting to go through the same nonsense as before at NLCI I notified the court and again the court stepped in and ordered the WCI HSU to use the correct formula. However, despite the court's intervention, the WCI HSU did not immediately switch to the correct formula until my weight dropped to around 125 pounds. The WCI HSU then declared they were faced with an "emergency" medical condition and began to aggressively treat the weight loss by abusing me. They'd allowed months to pass of improper treatment then began an unnecessarily aggressive campaign of extended and extra force feedings.

Judge Bissonnette's Complicity

On February 201 2009 attorney Gloria Thomas of the Wisconsin DOC Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) sent to Judge Bissonnette a copy of my article 'Notes from Starvin' Naked Marvin: A Call to Arms3 . She concluded "Lilly's determined to disrupt the orderly administration of the WI DOC, ...". Well, duh!

On February after receiving this letter Judge Bissonnette conspicuously and conveniently absented himself from the bench allowing attorney Thomas to seek a "emergency" order from Dodge county Judge Pfitzinger allowing the DOC to forcibly abuse me. This was done even though a careful reading of doctor Paul Sumnitch's affidavit did not suggest that my condition was critical and could not await Judge Bissonnette's return.

Pfizinger’s order either knowingly, or because Thomas violated her duty as an officer of the court to inform Pfizinger of previous rulings, violated the Saenz ruling and several rulings issued by Bissonnette. Thomas had a plain and positive duty to inform the court of such rulings, she pointedly did not. In particular the Saenz ruling affirmed my due process right to a hearing before Judge Pfitzinger. The DOC, under Saenz had a one-shot right to an ex-parte ruling to initiate the order to force feed but after that ruling the patient retained a due process right to be notified and represented at all future hearings on the matter. Further, since the Saenz ruling was against a Dodge court judge, it is almost impossible that Pfitzinger could have been ignorant of the import of the Saenz ruling on the order he issued.

The Torture Sessions

Initially the torture sessions began with me being force fed within the court ordered nine minute limit then left in the restraint chair for an hour alone in my cage three times a day. When you consider that I was naked, had been fed 2.2 pounds of cold formula, and was left for an hour strapped in a metal chair in a room with a temperature of fifty-five degrees or less, it quickly becomes apparent that the sessions were not about restoring my weight or maintaining my health, they were about breaking my hunger strike.

In an attempt to stop such mistreatment I taught my self to purge the formula even though held in the restraint chair which was supposed to prevent purging. After any feeding I could purge thirty to fifty percent of the formula, this of course caused my weight to continue to drop. I offered to stop the purging and to help to get my weight back in what I considered a safe range if the WCI HSU would forego the use of the restraint chair. Their response to my offer was the Pfitzinger order which upped the allowed mistreatment.

Under the Pfitzinger order the WCI HSU dripped the formula into my body over a two hour period, this was in violation of the Bissonnette order which allowed only nine minutes or less of intubation to preserve my health. The Pfitzinger order also allowed the WCI HSU to hold me in the restraint chair for two hours per session. To insure that I was maximally uncomfortable the door to my cage was left open to the hallway which had connecting doors to the outside and the outside doors were opened. The temperature of my cage dropped to under forty degrees during some of the two~hour feeding sessions. When I asked to be covered from the cold the security staff responded that security concerns would not allow it, and HSU staff responded that if I was cold I could wear clothing and resume eating. (Oddly, when I transferred to DCI for emergency treatment following WCI's maltreatment, the first thing done when DCI force fed me was to cover me with a blanket!).

The WCI HSU continued this maltreatment from February 23rd to the 28th, during this time I continued to purge thirty to fifty percent of the formula and my weight continued to drop. Finally, after the noon force feeding on the 28th, the WCI HSU declared my condition an emergency condition beyond their abilities and dumped me at the Dodge Correctional Institution's Infirmary for emergency medical care.

Continued Duplicity of Bissonnette

Bissonnette's duplicity did not end with his conspicuously convenient absence. One would think that upon his return to the bench, if his absence had not been feigned, that he'd especially take note of emergency orders issued in his brief absence, remarkably he did not.

On March 5, 2009 during another of his ambush hearings (five minutes before an unscheduled hearing a guard rouses me and takes me to the phone and says I think its you lawyer or somebody), I stated that Pfitzinger's order violated both Saenz and his rulings Bissonnette said, "I haven't review it yet". This was almost some two weeks after its issue and his return to the bench!

Yet when I, in writing, pointed out how his convenient absence had allowed Pfitzinger's violation of my rights and the court rulings he quickly rescinded Pfitzinger order. Had I maintained my hunger strike during the interval between the issuance of the Pfitzinger order and Bissonnette's rescission of the order I, no doubt, would now be dead.

As I review what I’ve written I’m saddened by my inability to portray the brutality and barbarism to which I was subjected. To be bound for two hours in a metal chair completely helpless, exposed to freezing temperatures, naked and enraged at the mistreatment but helpless to stop it. To sit shivering on a slab on cement thinly covered by what they euphemistically call a mattress, vigorously rubbing your hands, arms, legs, and feet for an hour after each force feeding session trying to restore warmth to your body and knowing that in less than two hours you'll be resubjected to the same mistreatment, and all the time knowing its a violation of the law. Knowing that the courts only move slow for you and that even if you could talk to a judge it wasn't very likely that the mistreatment would be ordered stopped soon enough to help.

To truly understand, to empathize with what happened to me you must see the videos made of those sessions from February 14 through February 28, 2009. I speak to my torturers and ask why its being done when its obvious it does not work and is doing me harm. Their answers will astound, sadden, sicken, and enrage you, and I hope move you to action against a system that has gone rogue.

Warren G. Lilly

No comments:

Post a Comment