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Articles by David M. Reutter

Infamous Louisiana Sheriff on His Way Out

by David M. Reutter

I’m done. I’m beat up. I’m tired,” Iberia Parish, Louisiana Sheriff Louis Ackal, 75, said in November 2018, upon announcing his decision not to seek re-election. However, his words more accurately described the detainees at the Iberia Parish Jail and citizens in his community who were ...

Class Certified in Lawsuit Challenging Missouri Parole Violation Procedures

by David M. Reutter

In January 2019, a Missouri federal district court certified a class in a lawsuit alleging the state incarcerates thousands of people without providing due process before depriving them of their liberty interest during “sham” parole violation proceedings. The class could number up to 15,000.

PLN previously ...

Pennsylvania DOC’s New Mail Policy Robs Prisoners of the Personal Touch; Lawsuits Over Legal Mail Settle

by David M. Reutter

Last year the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) implemented a policy that prohibits prisoners from receiving original correspondence from their family members and friends. The policy went into effect in September 2018 in response to a 12-day statewide lockdown the prior month after an “unprecedented number ...

Right to Speedy Trial Not Triggered by Placement in Administrative Segregation

by David M. Reutter

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a prisoner’s placement in administrative segregation while under investigation for a new crime does not trigger his right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment or the Speedy Trial Act.

Before the appellate court was the ...

Settlement in Class-Action Suit Over SMU Conditions at Georgia Prison

by David M. Reutter

A Georgia federal district court has approved a settlement agreement in a class-action lawsuit challenging conditions and practices in the Special Management Unit (SMU) at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison.

The suit was filed pro se in 2015 by prisoner Timothy Gumm, and the district ...

Former Missouri Sheriff Gets Prison Time for Illegal Cell Phone Tracking

by David M. Reutter

A former Missouri sheriff who campaigned on getting tough on drug dealers was sentenced to six months in prison plus four months on house arrest after pleading guilty to identity theft and wire fraud.

The fall from grace of Cory Hutcheson, 36, the former sheriff of ...

Award in Massachusetts Prisoner’s ADA Case Includes Over $410,000 in Attorney Fees, Costs

by David M. Reutter

Following a March 10, 2017 jury award totaling $250,000, a Massachusetts federal district court awarded $410,116.87 in attorney fees and costs in a prisoner’s lawsuit raising Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims.

Prisoner William Cox, 57, who is mentally disabled, was awarded a verdict against Steven ...

DOJ Probe Finds Alabama Men’s Prisons Overcrowded, Plagued by Ongoing Violence

by David M. Reutter

In April 2019 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released the results of a three-year investigation into men’s prisons operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), finding that conditions in the facilities violate prisoners’ guarantee of protection from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth ...

Florida DOC Attorney Resigns After Posting Racially-Charged Comments

by David M. Reutter

Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) assistant general counsel Eric Giunta resigned after making “absolutely unacceptable” comments on Facebook about a video portraying systematic racism.

The video was posted by Providence College assistant theology professor Holly Taylor Coolman. It blamed the challenges facing black people and communities ...

Permanent Injunction for Hepatitis C Treatment Entered for Florida Prisoners

by David M. Reutter

A federal district court chastised the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) for its “long and sordid history of neglecting” prisoners infected with hepatitis C (HCV). Finding a “risk of such deliberate indifference reoccurring in the future,” the court entered a permanent injunction that requires the FDOC ...