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Articles by David M. Reutter

California: Denial of Bed During Jail Disturbances Not a Constitutional Violation

by David M. Reutter

On January 11, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a grant of summary judgment to the defendants in a civil rights action alleging a pretrial detainee was denied a bed during his three-and-a-half-day stay at the Los Angeles County Inmate Reception Center (IRC).

Maurice ...

Fourth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of South Carolina Prisoner’s Suit Over Safekeeper Status

by David M. Reutter

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment to officials who allegedly denied a pretrial detainee substantive and procedural due process when placing him in safekeeper status.

Dustin Robert Williamson, who was 20 at the time, was being held at South ...

Washington State Prisoner Properly Denied Visitation with Daughters

by David M. Reutter

In an unpublished opinion, the Washington Court of Appeals held on December 18, 2018 that a prisoner was properly denied visitation with his daughters, who were victims of his crimes.

John M. Pino pleaded guilty in 2009 to three counts of first-degree child molestation. His 150-month-to-life ...

Third Circuit: Female Jail Guard Loses Discrimination, Wrongful Termination Case

by David M. Reutter

On December 31, 2018, in an unpublished ruling, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a summary judgment order in a lawsuit that alleged employment discrimination. The appellate court found that officials at Pennsylvania’s Franklin County Jail (FCJ) had properly terminated the plaintiff, a ...

Class Action Challenges Theft of Millions of Digital Music Files from Florida Prisoners

by David M. Reutter

A class-action lawsuit accuses the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) of confiscating prisoners’ “lawfully purchased property without compensation” so the department and its vendor, JPay, could realize profit through a new contract. 

The suit concerns prisoners’ loss of music files accessible only via their MP3 ...

Search for Mental Health Care Ends Tragically at Florida Jail

by David M. Reutter

County jails are ill equipped to care for people with mental health issues. That fact was not known to Vicki Futch, 80, when she called Florida’s Putnam County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) for help because her son, Gregory Allan Futch, 54, was “out of his mind.” ...

Wrongful Death, Whistleblower Suits Filed After Prisoner Dies at New Orleans Jail

by David M. Reutter

Two lawsuits, one alleging wrongful death and the other a whistleblower claim, were filed in 2018 against Louisiana’s Orleans Parish Jail (OPJ), the Orleans Parish Sheriffs Office (OPSO) and Sheriff Marlin Gusman, as well as the jail’s private medical provider, Correct Care Solutions (CCS) – which ...

Kentucky Prison Guards Settle Sexual Harassment Suit for $1.5 Million

by David M. Reutter

A $1.5 million settlement was reached in a lawsuit alleging a male sergeant at Kentucky’s Little Sandy Correctional Complex (LSCC) sexually harassed four female guards. The settlement ended an appeal that followed a $1.6 million jury award.

“We think this shows the seriousness of the verdict,” ...

$4.75 Million Settlement for Pennsylvania Teenager’s Withdrawal Death in Jail

by David M. Reutter

The death of a teenager is a sad event. But when it was entirely preventable, it becomes tragic.

The death of Victoria Jeanette Herr, 18, just four days after being booked into Pennsylvania’s Lebanon County Correctional Facility (LCCF), is yet another example of poor healthcare and ...

Protesters Rally Against Private Prison Contractor GEO Group

by David M. Reutter

Activists protesting President Trump’s immigration policies are also rallying against a company that profits from immigrant detention: The GEO Group. The activists have been protesting at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities as well as GEO-run detention centers.

At $471 million, GEO Group’s contract with ICE ...