Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Indiana Prisoner Sues Prison Abolition Group, Wins $1,097 Default Judgment

by Mark Wilson

On July 28, 2022, an Indiana prisoner was granted a $1,097.00 default judgment against the nonprofit prison abolition group, Critical Resistance, in a state small claims action.

Defendant is a longtime prison abolition advocacy group with chapters in Oakland, Los Angeles, New York City and Portland. Founded in 1997 by Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore – two leading women in the 1960s civil rights struggle – Critical Resistance has undertaken successful campaigns to stop prison and jail construction, fight increased sentencing and demand improved conditions of confinement.

“These campaigns – [undertaken] in coalition with other organizations – temporarily halted the construction of the Delano II prison, effectively stopping California’s prison boom” in 2001, the group’s website claims. It has since helped stop a new jail planned for New York City’s Bronx borough in 2009 and a replacement jail in San Francisco in 2015, as well as getting plans shelved to build two new Los Angeles County jails in 2019.

On February 17, 2022, Indiana prisoner Michael Drogosz filed a pro se Small Claims action against Critical Resistance in LaPorte County Superior Court. The basis for the claim is not clear, but the complaint was served upon Critical Resistance at its Oakland headquarters on March 1, 2022. However, the organization did not defend against the action.

So on July 28, 2022, LaPorte Superior Court Magistrate John A. Link found that, despite being properly served, Critical Resistance “failed to respond or timely file any Affidavits, Exhibits or evidence on its behalf’ in the case. Accordingly, the judge made “a finding of Default Judgment against the Defendant and in favor of the Plaintiff in the sum of $1,000.00 pursuant to Indiana Code §24-5-0.5.” To that was added $97.00 in court costs, for a total judgment of $1,097.00.” See: Drogosz v. Critical Resistance, Ind. Super. (LaPorte Cty.), Case No. 46D04-2112-SC-2177 (Ind. 2022).

Drogosz, 36, is serving a 70-year sentence for a February 2010 shootout with Starke County Sheriff’s deputies attempting to serve an arrest warrant on suspicion he stole a bird from an Illinois pet shop. No one was reportedly injured in the melee, but Drogosz’s childhood friend, John Brooke, was later sentenced to 22 years in prison for harboring him. Brooke’s girlfriend, Kimberly Hitchins, got six months to three years, as well. The bird was recovered in Chicago.


Additional sources: CBS News, WKVI

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Drogosz v. Critical Resistance