WASHINGTON – A Frederick County man who killed his parents cannot sue jail officials who he said violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to let him publish a manuscript on how to escape from a detention center.
The Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Bruce Wayne Koenig on Monday, the second time in two months it has refused to hear his case.
Koenig, 50, who is currently serving double life terms for the 1994 murders of his parents, also claimed that officials at the Frederick County Detention Center violated his right against unreasonable search and seizure, his right to defend himself and his right to due process.
Lawyers representing the detention center employees who were sued by Koenig dismissed his charges as “nonsense.” He is “one of those inmates who have nothing better to do than sue,” said Kevin Karpinski, an attorney for several of the jail workers.
Koenig said his troubles began in April 1996, when detention center employees found a manuscript titled “The Plan” in his incoming mail. The manuscript described an inmate’s escape from a detention center by attacking a correctional officer using a pen.
Following the discovery of the manuscript, Koenig was subjected to strip searches every time he left or returned to his cell. Koenig claims that he was also denied telephone calls to his family, and was subjected to “unreasonable” searches of his cell.
In one of those searches, Koenig alleged that a file vital to his defense was removed from his cell. Because Koenig defended himself for some time in his murder trial, he was allowed to use the law library for five additional hours every week and to keep legal materials related to his defense in his cell — privileges not given to other prisoners.
Koenig said he had been working on “The Plan” for nearly a year and that it had been “examined by, and discussed with, several members of the sheriff’s office staff on numerous occasions.” He said he was writing the manuscript for “the sole purpose of attempting to raise funding” for his pretrial investigation.
Koenig filed suit in federal district court against several detention center employees, including a nurse and a medical contractor, in September 1997. His case was rejected by the lower court, prompting his appeal to the Supreme Court in August this year.
Koenig’s appeal was rejected in October, after which he filed for a rehearing, which was rejected Monday.
Karpinski said Koenig was never prevented from publishing his manuscript, as he claimed, and that the searches of his cell were not unreasonable.
According to court documents, the extra searches were ordered because the volume of legal material that Koenig was allowed to keep in his cell could have been used to hide contraband. And given the charge of double murder against Koenig, the manuscript “raised a legitimate concern about security in the detention center,” leading to the strip searches, Karpinski said.
Donald Crawford, who is also representing detention center employees, said the charges filed by Koenig were “just a blatant attempt to counteract the decisions made against him” by the courts.
Koenig was sentenced in November and is currently being held in Baltimore’s Reception Center. He could not be contacted for this article.