A Puzzling Decision? Judge Rules Against Lawyer-Prisoner’s First Amendment Jigsaw Suit
Posted Aug 8, 2012 6:54 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A lawyer sentenced to prison for participating in stock fraud has lost a lawsuit seeking the right to a jigsaw puzzle in prison.
U.S. District Judge John Gleeson of Brooklyn ruled against inmate Alan Berkun’s First Amendment claim, the New York Post reports.
“Berkun has failed to show that his possession of a jigsaw puzzle is expressive and therefore constitutionally protected,” Gleeson wrote. ”Even if the reassembled image itself were protected by the First Amendment, Berkun has not shown how the act of assembling the pieces is in any way expressive conduct.”
Government lawyers said the prison was justified in banning the puzzle because it could “cause unnecessary clutter, pose a fire hazard, and/or limit Berkun’s living area,” according to a prior New York Post story. Berkun ordered the puzzle from Amazon.com.