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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

“Less Lethal” Tasers Continue to Kill Dozens of Prisoners

by Christopher Zoukis

Tasers have become a popular addi­tion on the utility belts of U.S. law enforcement officers. The devices, which fire small darts connected by wires to a stun gun, deliver a jolt of electricity that causes a paralyzing neuromuscular response – basically, they hurt a lot and ...

New York Prisoner Assaulted by Guard Settles for $16,250

by Christopher Zoukis

A man serving a 60-day sentence in a New York jail agreed to settle his federal lawsuit for $16,250 against a guard who smacked him twice in the mouth. A total of $13,750 of the settlement was designated for attorneys’ fees, leaving $2,500 for ...

False Arrest of Florida Attorney by Fort Lauderdale Police Results in $600,000 Verdict

by Christopher Zoukis
Samuel Yeboah, who was arrested after he requested to observe a roadside sobriety test being performed on his client, was awarded $600,000 against the City of Fort Lauderdale for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

On April 29, 2005, Officer Colin Cowderoy stopped a vehicle driven by ...

Litigation Heats Up Over Extreme Temperatures in Prisons, Jails

by Matt Clarke and Christopher Zoukis

During a heat wave in the summer of 2017, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Medium Security Institution in St. Louis, Missouri and chanted “shut it down,” after a video showing prisoners at the jail begging for relief from soaring temperatures went viral. But in Texas and elsewhere, prisoners have taken their complaints of extreme – and sometimes deadly – heat to court.

Under a 1977 Texas statute, county jails must keep interior temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees. But over 70 percent of Texas’ 141,000 state prisoners are held in facilities that lack air conditioning, and Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) spokesman Jason Clark said prison officials would not consider retrofitting those facilities with climate control, as that would be “extremely expensive.” Of the state’s 105 prisons, only 30 are fully air-conditioned.

The TDCJ pointed to a study indicating the cost of retrofitting just four prisons with AC would run about $350 million – an amount that exceeded the construction costs for four of the state’s 2,500-bed maximum-security facilities. Yet the TDCJ has managed to air condition administrative areas in its older prisons to ensure the comfort of ...

$132,300 Awarded to Florida Prisoner After Hand Crushed in Cell Door

by Christopher Zoukis

A female prisoner whose hand was injured when it was caught in a closing cell door was awarded $132,300 by a Florida jury. 

V. Holloman was being held at the St. Lucie County Jail when guards arrived to conduct a cell search. She claimed that ...

Louisiana Prisoner Beaten by Prison Guards Settles Civil Rights Claim

by Christopher Zoukis

Bryan Demouchet, who was assaulted by multiple prison guards while he was handcuffed during his imprisonment at Rayburn Correctional Center in Louisiana, reached a settlement with those allegedly responsible. The amount agreed upon was undisclosed.

     On February 16, 2007, Demouchet was issued a disciplinary incident report ...

California Prisoner Threatened and Maltreated by Prison Guards Settles

by Christopher Zoukis

Christopher T. Jackson, a prisoner at Lancaster State Prison, California, agreed to settle his civil rights claim against a guard who allegedly retaliated against him with threats, insults, and excessive searches.

     In 2005, Jackson had filed a lawsuit against several prison guards at Lancaster for their ...

Mother of California State Prisoner Receives Settlement in Wrongful Death of Son

by Christopher Zoukis

Ella Aaron, the mother of a prisoner incarcerated in California's Lancaster State Prison, agreed to a settlement with prison officials over deliberate medical indifference leading to the wrongful death of her son, Rodney Newell.

     In March 2005, while Newell was imprisoned at Lancaster, he began ...

Mother of Utah Prisoner Who Starved to Death in County Jail Accepts Settlement

by Christopher Zoukis

The mother and estate of Carlos Umana, a prisoner being held in the Salt Lake County Adult Detention Facility in Utah, agreed to a settlement with state and prison officials after Umana starved himself to death after the prison refused to provide his medication.

     On October ...

$400,000 Settlement Accepted by Michigan Parolee Over Force by Police, Parole Officers

by Christopher Zoukis

Michael J. Trethewey, who was assaulted by police and parole officers for an alleged parole violation, accepted a $400,000 settlement in compensation for his medical expenses and injuries. Approximately $270,000 of that was allotted for attorney's fees.

     Trethewey, who had been released from ...