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Articles by Brandon Sample

SORNA's Registration Requirements Do Not Apply to Convictions Involving the Transfer of Obscene Materials to a Minor

By Brandon Sample

On January 14, 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided that the registration requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) do not apply to convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 1470, which prohibits the transfer of obscene materials to minors.

Matthew ...

Eleventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Suit Alleging Retaliatory Attack by Guard

By Brandon Sample

On April 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of a failure to protect suit filed by a federal prisoner who claimed that he was attacked by a guard for participating in a prison investigation.

"John Doe" sued Harley Lappin, ...

PLRA's IFP Restrictions Do Not Apply To Civil Commitments

By Brandon Sample

Sex offenders that are civilly committed upon completion of their sentences are not "prisoners" within the meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit decided October 19, 2009.

Dustin Merryfield was civilly committed under the Kansas Sexually Violent ...

No Due Process Right In Avoiding Temporary Lock-Up; Unsanitary Bedding Actionable

By Brandon Sample

On April 10, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part the dismissal of a suit challenging a prisoner’s placement in Temporary Lock-Up (TLU) and prison officials’ refusal to provide sanitary bedding.

Reggie Townsend, a Wisconsin state prisoner, ...

No FTCA Claim for Property Erroneously Mailed Home By BOP; Failure to Protect Claim Cognizable

No FTCA Claim for Property Erroneously Mailed Home by BOP; Failure to Protect Claim Cognizable

by Brandon Sample

The United States is immune from suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for loss of property that resulted from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) mailing a prisoner’s property home instead ...

Discovery and Explanation Required Before Converting Motion into Motion for Summary Judgment

By Brandon Sample

Before converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, district courts must first give pro se parties (i) the opportunity to take relevant discovery, and (ii) an explanation of the consequences of a grant of summary judgment, as well as what can be done ...

Family of California Immigration Prisoner Who Died Due to Untreated Cancer Gets $3.68 Million

The family of an illegal immigrant who died from untreated penile cancer was awarded $1.73 million in damages against state prison officials by a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury on November 10, 2010. Federal defendants named in a separate lawsuit settled the family’s claims in April 2011 for an ...

Federal Cell Phone Ban Becomes Law; California Bill Vetoed, then Re-Introduced

Legislation barring the possession or use of cell phones by federal prisoners, the Cell Phone Contraband Act (S.1749), was signed into law by President Obama in August 2010.

The legislation comes in response to a rising number of cell phone confiscations by the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). In 2009, ...

Ohio: Mixed Verdicts Against Guards Involved in Prisoner’s Death

On December 3, 2010, Lucas County, Ohio Sheriff James Telb was acquitted of all criminal charges related to the death of a prisoner.

Telb and three sheriff’s employees were indicted after Lucas County jail prisoner Carlton Benton, 25, died on June 1, 2004 after being taken to a hospital unconscious ...

First Circuit Reverses Finding that Sexual Interest in Adolescents Not Disorder Warranting Civil Commitment

On June 4, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro ordered the release of a federal prisoner the government had sought to civilly commit as a sexually dangerous person. In ordering the release, Judge Tauro concluded that the government had failed to show that the prisoner suffered from a ...