When imprisoned neo-Nazi Matt Hale sued the federal Bureau of Prisons over restrictions on his mail, he sought nearly $10 million in damages.
Now, his losing legal efforts could cost him.
The Bureau of Prisons is asking a federal judge to require Hale, 46, to pay more than $5,200 to cover various costs related to the litigation.
Hale, who is being held at the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX), in Florence, Colorado, a prison best known as “Supermax,” sued because his mail — incoming and outgoing — was being screened by prison officials.
Hale is serving a 40-year prison sentence for hiring a man to kill U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow in Illinois and considers himself "Pontifex Maximus" of the World Church of the Creator, which for a time was one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in America. Since Hale’s imprisonment, the church has morphed into the Creativity Movement, which promotes what it sees as the inherent superiority and "creativity" of the white race — about the only tenets there are to its supposed "theology."
Because of the restrictions on Hale in the maximum-security prison, officials at Supermax screen Hale’s mail, frequently stopping him from sending out messages to supporters and from receiving information about the Creativity movement.
A judge in April rejected Hale’s lawsuit, finding that Creativity didn’t pass legal or Constitutional muster as a religion. It’s a decision Hale is appealing.
But, because Hale initiated the litigation and lost, he could be on the hook for costs borne by the Bureau of Prisons related to the lawsuit.
In a bill filed in the civil suit in federal court in Colorado, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) says it shelled out $2,888 in fees and disbursements for printing and $2,338.35 to cover expenses related to taking depositions.
The proposed bill covers everything from the cost of videotaping and transcribing depositions (the BOP deposed Hale and Hale took the depositions of four people), the price of pulling together roughly 30,000 pages of documents in response to Hale’s various requests and sorting through stacks or potentially privileged documents and communications to determine what could be made public.
Along with the bill, the Bureau of Prisons detailed how the restrictions on Hale’s mail worked.
About 400 pieces of mail from various writers, identified in court records as impermissible because of the restrictions on Hale, along with at least a half-dozen letters deemed to contain threats or possible threats, were withheld from Hale.
Prison officials also stopped in the mail two copies of Nature’s Eternal Religion, considered by Creativity followers as a Bible, and Hitler Democrat, a book written by former SS Col. Leon Degrelle and published by Willis Carto, a Holocaust denier and racist who died in 2015.
Hale is scheduled to be released from federal prison on December 30, 2037, when the "Pontifex Maximus” will be 65.