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Articles by Brandon Sample

Ninth Circuit: Refusal to Allow Cross-Examination of Lab Technician Violates Due Process

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held it was a violation of due process for a district court to deny a criminal defendant the right to cross-examine a lab technician who tested a urine sample that showed positive for illegal drugs, when the sample was clearly ...

Ohio Jail Officials Face Federal Charges, Investigation

A federal grand jury has returned indictments against two Lucas County, Ohio jail guards in connection with the death of a prisoner. Additionally, Lucas County’s sheriff and another jail employee face charges of lying to investigators.

According to the indictment, guards John Gray and Jay Schmeltz beat and choked ...

BOP Warden Does Not Have Authority to Reduce Prisoner’s Sentence Under Rule 35(b)

A federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) warden does not have authority to reward a prisoner’s cooperation with prison officials with a reduced sentence under Fed.R.Crim.P. Rule 35(b), the First Circuit held on May 23, 2008.

Edward B. Ellis, a federal prisoner serving 20 years, provided ...

Third Circuit Upholds Ban on UCC Materials; Sixth Circuit Disagrees

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) may lawfully ban the receipt and possession of materials related to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held on July 29, 2008. In a more recent ruling, however, the Sixth Circuit upheld a preliminary injunction barring the Michigan DOC ...

Notice Required for Rejected Packages BOP Warden Denied Qualified Immunity

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has affirmed the denial of qualified immunity for a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) warden accused of denying a prisoner procedural due process in connection with the rejection of two packages.

While Vernon Bonner was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution ...

New York’s Correction Law § 24 Held Unconstitutional by US Supreme Court

New York’s Correction Law § 24 Held Unconstitutional by US Supreme Court

by Brandon Sample

New York’s Correction Law § 24, which prevents prisoners from bringing 42 U.S.C. § 1983 actions for damages against prison officials in New York courts of general jurisdiction, violates the Supremacy Clause of the ...

FBI And States Expand Collection Of DNA To The Innocent

DNA collection is expanding to individuals arrested or detained as state and federal law enforcement officials seek to solve more crimes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) joined 15 states in April 2009 that collect DNA from individuals awaiting trial. In addition, the FBI will now collect DNA from detained ...

Maryland Prisoners Receive Kosher Food

Beginning on April 9, 2009, The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) started providing kosher meals to state prisoners with religious dietary needs.

The decision to provide kosher food came after a meeting between the Secretary of the DPSCS and representatives of the Jewish community last summer ...

Oklahoma Prisoner Awarded $65,000 for Inadequate MSRA Care

On March 12, 2009, Chief U.S. District Judge Claire Eagan entered judgment in the amount of $65,000 against an Oklahoma state prison Health Services Administrator (HSA) accused of failing to provide a prisoner adequate medical treatment.

While incarcerated at the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center (NOCC), Richard Potts contracted ...

Sixth Circuit Overturns $625,000 Verdict for Ohio Prisoner Sexually Abused by Guard

In what one judge described as a “legal travesty,” on March 13, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit overturned a jury verdict in favor of a prisoner who had been sexually abused by a prison guard.

While incarcerated at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, Michelle ...