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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

Trump Calls Prison Reform “Very Important” as First Step Act Passes in the House

by Christopher Zoukis

Does “tough on crime” President Donald J. Trump support prison reform? If his comments at a January 2018 listening session can be believed, the answer is a qualified “yes” – qualified because his focus is mainly on reentry services, not on prison conditions or sentencing reform.

Jared ...

Federal Judge Dismisses Class-action Suits Over Jail Phone Rates, Commissions

by Christopher Zoukis

On August 10, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers dismissed four related class-action lawsuits in which prisoners challenged the rates and commission kickbacks associated with jail phone service contracts.

A group of attorneys representing California prisoners held in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Contra Costa and ...

15 Years to Life for Jailers Who Beat Mentally Ill Prisoner to Death

by Christopher Zoukis

Three former California jail guards were convicted of second-degree murder for fatally beating a mentally ill prisoner who suffered what prosecutors called an “agonizing and painful” death. In January 2018, the three men were each sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.

The guards, Jereh ...

Prisoners Help Train Future (K9) Law Enforcement Officers

by Christopher Zoukis

Post-9/11, the demand for highly-trained explosives investigators has grown significantly; law enforcement agencies nationwide have hurried to recruit officers who have received specialized training in the detection of bombs and accelerants. And in an ironic twist, prisoners play a central role in the training of this new ...

$330,000 Awarded to Brooklyn Woman and Minor Nephew over False Arrest and Two Years of Malicious Prosecution

by Christopher Zoukis

A Brooklyn woman and her 16-year-old nephew, who were charged with harassing a police officer and obstruction, then compelled to attend around 20 court appearances over two years before the charges were finally dropped, were awarded $330,000 in damages by a New York jury.

     On May ...

Federal Jury Awards Michigan Woman $1,048,000 over Retaliatory Arrests

A Michigan woman who police arrested twice on charges of filing a false police report of rape was awarded just over $1 million after a federal jury found that the arrests were in retaliation for her criticism of the detective who investigated her rape complaint.

     Linda Sonte Everson, a ...

Federal Jury Awards Texas Man $169,128 in Excessive Force Claim Against Sheriff’s Deputy

by Christopher Zouki

Richard Uekert, who suffered a fractured nose and teeth from a San Patricio County sheriff’s deputy, was awarded $169,128 by a federal jury after it determined that the deputy used excessive force.

     On October 10, 2010, Uekert was arrested for public intoxication and taken to the ...

New York Man Falsely Arrested and Maliciously Prosecuted Settles Suit with Nassau County Officials

by Christopher Zoukis

A New York man—whose partner reported to police that he made threats on her life and who was subsequently arrested and jailed before the charge was dismissed— agreed to a settlement with Nassau County, officers, and officials.

     On March 27, 2010, Richard Hunt and Rachel Giannetti ...

Massachusetts Settles Claim by U.S. over Gender-Biased Prison Guard Exam

by Christopher Zoukis

The state of Massachusetts agreed to stop using the Caritas physical abilities test in the selection process of its prison guards upon a judicial finding that it negatively discriminated against women — and it agreed to work with the federal government to develop a new and fairer test. ...

$30,000 Settlement Reached for New Jersey Prisoner Assaulted by Guards

     Lester Seeley, who was allegedly assaulted by several guards while being held in the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey, agreed to a $30,000 settlement with the county.

     According to Seeley, he suffered an unprovoked attack by several guards on December 15, 2007, resulting in permanent ...