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Articles by Chad Marks

Pennsylvania County Pays $1.1 Million to Former Prisoner Beaten by Guards

by Chad Marks

Patrick J. Haight, 53, was being held at the Erie County Prison in Pennsylvania on a $500 bond for driving under the influence when he was viciously beaten by guards.

On May 10, 2017, Haight injured his toe and was taken to the infirmary for treatment. ...

Washington: Prisoners’ Complaints Lead to Changes in DOC’s Drug Testing Policy

by Chad Marks

After two unidentified prisoners complained that they were being punished based on faulty drug test results, the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) made changes to its testing policies.

One prisoner was subjected to a drug test in September 2018. He had been admitted to the prison in ...

Maine: Prosecutorial Misconduct in False Rape Case Results in $2.1 Million in Damages

by Chad Marks

Vladek Filler found himself on the wrong side of former Hancock County District Attorney Mary Kellett. In 2007, Filler’s wife, Ligia Filler, made allegations that her husband sexually assaulted her. Kellett ignored exculpatory evidence in her overzealousness to prosecute Filler for rape and sexual assault. After ...

New York Sheriff Loses Lawsuit, Must Report Serious Prisoner Incidents to State Agency

by Chad Marks

A sheriff in Western New York, on the losing end of a lawsuit filed by four citizens, must report serious prisoner incidents to the New York State Commission of Correction.

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard oversees the Erie County Holding Center, one of the five worst jails in ...

California: Court of Appeal Holds Possession of Marijuana in Prison Still a Felony Despite Proposition 64

by Chad Marks

Nisaiah J. Perry was serving time in a California state prison when he was charged with possession of marijuana under Penal Code Section 4573.6. He was eventually sentenced to two years for committing that offense, to run consecutive to his existing sentence.

Perry moved the court to ...

$1.6 Million Awarded to California Family After Man Dies in County Jail

by Chad Marks

On February 15, 2019, a federal jury ruled that Mark Pajas, Sr. should not have died at a jail in Monterey County, California, prompting an award of $1.6 million to his family in a wrongful death suit.

Pajas, 56, was riding a bicycle the wrong way ...

Gladiator-Style Fight Club at San Francisco Jail Results in $60,000 Settlement

by Chad Marks and Ed Lyon

For a second time, the City of San Francisco has agreed to settle a prisoner’s lawsuit stemming from a fight club orchestrated by jail deputies and induced by fear.

Former prisoner Quincy Lewis filed a federal civil rights action against several deputy jailers in ...

Federal Court Awards $3,750,000 in Damages for Sexual Assault by Prison Guards

by Chad Marks

A federal judge in Arizona awarded a former female prisoner $3.75 million in damages after she was sexually assaulted by prison guards.

On June 23, 2017, the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe,” filed a complaint in federal court alleging that guard James R. Toadvine, Jr. sexually ...

Kansas Slaps Corizon Health with Millions in Fines for Contract Violations

by Chad Marks

“They don’t care who dies, how they die or what they do to you.”

That’s what former Kansas prisoner Sarah Loretta Cook said about Corizon Health, the state’s prison medical care provider. With expected increases in the Kansas prison population over the next five years, Corizon’s contract ...

Eleventh Circuit Agrees Prosecutor is Entitled to Qualified Immunity in Retaliation Case

by Chad Marks

Douglas Echols was convicted of a 1986 kidnapping and rape in Georgia despite his protestations of innocence. After serving seven years of a 15-year sentence, a DNA test revealed that semen recovered from the victim did not match Echols. The trial court vacated his conviction and ...