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Articles by David M. Reutter

Wisconsin Prisoner In Vegetative State After Suicide Attempt Wins New Trial on Jury Instruction Error

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a jury’s judgment in a civil rights action alleging guards at Wisconsin’s Madison County Jail (MCJ) were deliberately indifferent to a detainee's medical care. The court found the jury was improperly instructed to determine if the defendants’ actions were ...

Illinois Prisoner’s Negligence Lawsuit Alleging Injuries from Wart Treatment Timely Filed

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of state law negligence claims based upon a prisoner being forced to self-apply a medication that was not supposed to be dispensed to patients. The court, however, affirmed the dismissal of a deliberate indifference claim.

The court’s ...

Kentucky Consolidated Local Government Entitled to Sovereign Immunity

The Supreme Court of Kentucky held that the Louisville Metro Government (LMG) and its employees are entitled to sovereign and qualified in a lawsuit alleging violation of Ky. Rev. Stat. 71.040.

The court’s December 17, 2020, opinion was issued in an appeal brought by the Estate of James Hatcher.

Hatcher ...

Eleventh Circuit Says COVID-19-Wracked Miami Jail Can’t Be Forced to Give Prisoners Soap, Masks

On May 5, 2020, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a Florida district court’s preliminary injunction that required officials at Miami’s Metro West Detention Center (Metro West) to employ numerous safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and imposed extensive reporting requirements.

Metro West ...

More States Restore Felony Voting Rights

In 2019, Colorado, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Nevada enacted legislation to restore voting rights to felons who have been released from prison but are still under such supervision, the latest of 24 states to make similar moves since 1997. Still, a 2016 estimate by the nonprofit ...

PLN Awarded Injunction in Arizona Prison Censorship Suit

by David M. Reutter

In November, 2019, PLN was awarded injunctive relief in a lawsuit challenging the Arizona Department of Corrections’ (ADC) “policy prohibiting sexually explicit material” as a violation of the First Amendment.

As we previously reported, ADC censored the October 2104, April 2017, May 2017 and June 2017 ...

$850,000 Settlement in Florida DOC Prisoner’s Gassing Murder

by David M. Reutter

The Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) agreed to pay $850,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging guards murdered a prisoner at Franklin Correctional Institution (FCI).

The suit stemmed from the September 19, 2010, death of Randall Jordan-Aparo. His death was initially covered up by guards, but Aubrey ...

18-Month Prison Sentence for Former Alabama Sheriff in Food Bank Scam

by David M. Reutter

The former sheriff of Alabama’s Pickens County was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for a scam to defraud a food bank and his church, and pocketing leftover funds to feed detainees.

David Abston was sheriff for 32 years. As allowed by Alabama law, he ...

$250,000 Settlement in Assault Upon Luzerne County Detainee

by David M. Reutter

A former Pennsylvania pretrial detainee who sustained serious injuries from a guard’s use of excessive force received a $250,000 settlement.

As guard Christopher Refner was making rounds at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on June 28, 2016, he smelled marijuana and began to investigate. He determined ...

Veteran Dies After Beating by Guards at North Carolina Jail

by David M. Reutter

Guards at North Carolina’s Wayne County Detention Center (WCDC) abused and beat to death a mentally ill veteran who was arrested for breaking the window out his neighbor’s truck in May 2017, a civil rights complaint alleged.

Graydon “Jerry” Parker, III, 54, served two years in ...