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Articles by Anthony Accurso

Tenth Circuit Revives Kansas Prisoner’s Claim That He Was Denied Access to Court

by Anthony W. Accurso

On April 18, 2022, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed dismissal of a suit filed by Kansas prisoner Kenneth D. Leek, holding that he met the standard for alleging an access-to-the-court claim in his complaint.

Leek, a prisoner in the state Department ...

GTL Ordered to Pay $18.675 Million in Attorney Fees and Costs in Prison Phone Class Action

by Anthony W Accurso

On August 30, 2022, the federal court for the Northern District of Georgia granted final approval to a class-action settlement in a suit accusing prison telecom giant Global Tel*Link (GTL) of unjust enrichment by seizing funds from prisoner phone accounts after as little as 90 days ...

Record Deaths at Rikers Island Blamed on Guards’ Absenteeism, Abuse and Corruption

by Anthony W. Accurso and David M. Reutter

After 16 detainee deaths in 2021[See: PLN, Feb. 2022, p.1], the carnage continued at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex in 2022, leaving 19 more people dead. Having recorded an average of just six deaths a year from 2017 through ...

New York City Jails Admit Illegally Recording Over 2,200 Attorney-Client Phone Calls

by Anthony W. Accurso

On the last day of 2021, the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) revealed a stunning privacy breach: Over 500 detainees in city jails had their calls to their attorneys recorded. Worse, the recordings were then turned over to prosecutors.

The Constitution guarantees the privacy ...

Mississippi Attempts to Offload Prisoner Healthcare Costs Onto Medicaid

by Anthony W. Accurso

On April 21, 2022, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) signed H.B. 936, a new law creating “special care facilities” to house and provide healthcare for about 600 “medically frail” state prisoners eligible for parole whom the state Department of Corrections (DOC) refuses to release because they ...

Fifth Circuit Upholds Nearly $13.5 Million Restitution Order Against Federal Prisoner

by Anthony W. Accurso

On February 25th, 2022, winning turnedout to be losing for a federal prisoner when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a massive restitution order issued by a district court in Texas, saying the prisoner had provided jurisdiction with his own successful challenge ...

New York OIG Report Reveals 1,600 State Prisoners Punished Over Faulty Drug Tests

by Anthony W. Accurso

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the State of New York released a report on January 4, 2022, concluding its “Investigation of New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision [DOCCS] Incarcerated Individual Drug Testing Program,” following reports that DOCCS punished 1,600 prisoners ...

Seventh Circuit Affirms Use Of “Some Evidence” Standard in Reviewing Federal Prisoner’s Disciplinary Violations

by Anthony W. Accurso

In an opinion reached on December 6, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a district court’s ruling that a federal prisoner’s disciplinary sanctions were valid so long as there was “some evidence” to support the underlying violations. Importantly, where the evidence ...

Prison Telecom Giant GTL Agrees to $67 Million Settlement in Class-Action Over Inactive Account Seizure Policy

by Anthony W. Accurso

Prison phone services provider Global*Tel Link (GTL) agreed to a settle a long-running class-action on December 20, 2021, with changes to company policies and up to $67 million to compensate customers for seizing funds in any account that remained inactive for 90 days. Though the amount ...

Criminal Sheriffs

How Unchecked Power and No Oversight Gives Rise to Abuses

by Anthony W. Accurso

On December 15, 2000, Derwin Brown was returning from a party when he was gunned down. He was holding flowers he had purchased for his wife, Phyllis, when assailants opened fire, striking him at least 10 ...