Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Ruling from Judge Bissonnette

For Immediate Release

On May 19, 2009, Judge Andrew P. Bissonnette, of the Dodge County Circuit court, in case number 2007-CV-00392 WI DOC v Lilly, issued a 64-page Decision and Order (D&O) terminating the forced feeding of Warren Gamaliel Lilly, Jr.. Lilly, for five years, has been hunger striking and was being forced fed by the DOC. His is the longest running hunger strike in Wisconsin history and perhaps in the history of the United States.

Judge Bissonnette’s D&O effectively acknowledged Lilly’s right to, if he so chooses, hunger strike unto his death. LIlly has been hunger striking since May 2004 in protest of Wisconsin’s race and class biased justice system. Lilly states that Black Wisconsinites are imprisoned at 16 to 20 times the rates of white Wisconsinites, and that similar rates are also seen in the imprisonment of the mentally ill and the illiterate. He says it’s those who are least capable of defending themselves and the poor who now populate Wisconsin’s prisons.

Germane to Bissonnette’s D&O was the question of whether or not Lilly was being tortured. Excerpts from the D&O follow.

“The Court has ordered the termination of all force feeding orders of Mr. Lilly and has enjoined any future such orders.” Cover letter to D&O.

“Exhibit 9 is an article documenting the tough steps taken by the U.S. military at the detention center in Guantanamo. It includes extensive discussion of the use of the restraint chair. In fact, it includes a descriptive paragraph that is eerily similar to the circumstances Mr. Lilly has related to the Court [and are depicted in Exhibits 1 and 2 which are graphic videos of Mr. Lily’s force feedings], ...”. D&O pages 20 - 21. Bold added for emphasis.

“Some commentators equate any use of the restraint chair in and of itself to a form of torture. The Court doesn’t necessarily agree with that broad of a statement in every circumstance, but certainly Mr. Lilly’s complaints about he particular duration and method of using the restraint chair, and its effects on him physically in this case, contributes to the Court’s finding of compelling circumstances warranting the termination of the force feeding order”. D&O page 16.

“Forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable. Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment. Exhibit 8, Declaration of Malta at 21”. D&O page 17.

“28) That the DOC most recently was engaging in a practice of employing four SWAT team members, [a camera operator], and an officer, and an RN [and sometimes two] in extended feedings taking more than two hours, of Mr. Lilly, three times a day, and seven days a week. Therefore, that the taxpayers cost of violating his constitutional right to be free of unwanted medical care is somewhere in the vicinity of $200,000 and $300,000 dollars per year; ...”. D&O page 59.

To date, by the best estimates available the DOC has spent over one million dollars (1,000,000) forcibly feeding Mr. Lilly. Additional information is available, on the costs and other issues at

Visit Lilly's blog or contact him at

Warren G. Lilly, Jr.
DOC # 447655
Dodge Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 700
Waupun, WI 53963-0700