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Articles by David M. Reutter

Tennessee Jail Sexual Assault Lawsuit can Proceed, Federal Court Rules

by David M. Reutter

A Tennessee federal district court has held the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department and Sheriff Esco Jarnagin can be held liable for the sexual assault of a pretrial detainee. The ruling was based on long-standing deficient conditions at the Hamblen County Jail (HCJ).

The Tennessee Corrections Institute ...

$30,000 Settlement for Pennsylvania Pretrial Detainee Subjected to Excessive Force

by David M. Reutter

A $30,000 settlement was reached in a lawsuit alleging that guards at the Clinton County Correctional Facility (CCCF) in McElhattan, Pennsylvania used excessive force on a pretrial detainee. The suit also claimed that medical staff failed to treat him for his injuries.

Joel R. Snider was ...

Mumia Abu-Jamal to Receive New Appellate Hearing

by David M. Reutter

“In order for the criminal justice system to stand, justice must be completely just,” Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker wrote in an order granting former death row prisoner and PLN columnist Mumia Abu-Jamal an opportunity to appeal his 1981 conviction for killing ...

$60,000 Settlement for Female Pennsylvania Prisoner in Sexual Assault Suit

by David M. Reutter

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit claiming a female prisoner at Pennsylvania’s Lackawanna County Prison (LCP) was “repeatedly sexually harassed and assaulted by numerous corrections officers over the course of a decade.” The suit alleged a “culture acquiescing to the sexual harassment and sexual ...

$118,000 Attorney Fee Award in Pennsylvania DOC Public Records Case

by David M. Reutter

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania awarded $118,458.37 in attorney fees in a public records suit brought by Uniontown Newspapers. The award followed the court’s finding that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) had acted in “bad faith” by not producing the requested records.

Reporter Christine Haines ...

$30,000 Settlement in Pennsylvania Jail Excessive Strip Search Suit

by David M. Reutter

Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County Prison (LCP) paid $30,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging a female pre-trial detainee was strip searched four times over her three-day stay at the facility.

Rebecca Brown was arrested on March 25, 2016 and taken to LCP. She was strip searched upon being ...

Florida: No Qualified Immunity for Jail Medical Staff in Prisoner’s Death

by David M. Reutter

Florida federal district court has held that a doctor and nurse at the Orange County Jail (OCJ) were not entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit filed by the estate of a pretrial detainee who died at that facility.

Max Gracia, Jr., 22, was treated ...

Interim Attorney Fees Awarded in Kentucky Good Time Lawsuit

by David M. Reutter

In December 2018, a Kentucky federal district court awarded interim attorney fees and costs totaling $228,445.08 in a class-action lawsuit alleging state prisoners were denied Educational Good Time (EGT) credit earned since July 15, 2011.

The suit was originally filed in Franklin County Circuit Court ...

Former Louisiana Warden Nate Cain, Son of Infamous Burl Cain, Pleads Guilty

by David M. Reutter

“Yes, sir,” said Nathan Burl Cain II.

With that reply in March 2019, the former warden of Louisiana’s Avoyelles Correctional Center, now known as the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center, abruptly ended his federal trial on corruption charges. Facing 17 counts of wire fraud and one count ...

End of Gubernatorial Terms Bring Pardons, Commutations

by David M. Reutter

Following the 2018 elections, outgoing governors in at least 10 states and others who remained in office resolved some outstanding clemency applications by issuing pardons and commutations.

In January 2019, then-Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner – who lost his 2018 re-election bid to J.B. Pritzker – granted ...