Federal Panel Calls for Review of Arkansas Inmate's Isolation

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A federal appeals court says the case of an Arkansas prisoner who has spent 13 years isolated from other prisoners should be given a second look.

Today, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered another review of David Williams' administrative segregation status since 1995.

Williams is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.  He's spent nine years isolated from the general prison population in Arkansas and more than three years segregated in Utah.  The appeals court ruled that a lower federal court was wrong to rule against his claims that his due process rights were violated.

Williams was convicted of capital murder in 1980 and was found guilty in 1982 of murdering another inmate.  For that he was kept in punitive segregation through mid-1993.

Between 1983 and 1995, he spent most of his time in general population but was attacked by another inmate and put into administrative segregation.  The next year, he was sent for his own protection to a prison in Utah.  He returned to Arkansas in 1999 and has remained in administrative segregation at various state prisons since then.

State prison officials said that the attack on Williams was caused in part by his drug activity, but they didn't dispute his statements that he had behaved during his confinement.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)