- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - A U.S. judge in Chicago has ruled that an Illinois inmate was engaging in expression protected by the First Amendment when he staged a hunger strike over alleged mistreatment.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports that Judge John Robert Blakey wrote in a ruling this week that “not all expressive conduct” is protected but that Kevin Birdo’s hunger strike was.

Birdo alleges that officials at the Stateville Correctional Center ignored his requests to be separated from a mentally unstable cellmate and that the cellmate eventually assaulted him.

Birdo says he went on a hunger strike from October 2012 to April 2013. During that time, he says prison staff mistreated him, including by trying to force-feed him around 70 times.

Illinois’ attorney general’s office is defending prison officials and declined comment.

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Information from: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin , https://www.chicagolawbulletin.com

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