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Articles by David Reutter

Former Prisoner Accepts $179,000 for Wrongful Conviction Under New Florida Law

After initially declining to accept $179,000 under Florida’s Victims of Wrongful Incarceration Compensation Act, Leroy McGee agreed to receive compensation pursuant to that statute for serving 43 months in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

McGee, 42, was convicted of a 1991 gas station robbery. He had a time ...

Alabama’s Indigent Defense System “Perfect Storm” for Ineffective Assistance

by David M. Reutter

“Alabama’s right-to-counsel system has the ‘perfect storm’ of characteristics that virtually guarantee ineffective assistance of counsel to the poor,” observed David Carroll, research director for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association.

Carroll was referring to a system that gives state court judges unbridled discretion to ...

Pay-to-Stay Jails Unsuccessful in Ohio

by David M. Reutter

Part of the legacy of the punitive criminal justice philosophy of the 1990s is pay-to-stay incarceration, which involves jails charging prisoners booking fees and per-diem fees. [See: PLN, July 2010, p.10].

The rhetoric behind pay-to-stay programs is that it is wrong for criminals to be “rewarded” ...

Democratic Chairman’s Rhetoric Supports Restoration of Voting Rights, but Actions Speak Louder than Words

by David M. Reutter

Restoration of voting rights for former prisoners is a key issue for many members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), because ex-felons are disproportionately minorities and according to conventional wisdom, minorities are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates. It would be natural, therefore, for the ...

Justice Thomas’ Wife Creates “Nonpartisan” Political Organization

by David M. Reutter

Members of the judiciary have an ethical obligation to remain impartial. When it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court, such impartiality is crucial given the impact that the Court’s rulings have nationwide. For that reason the high court historically has remained nonpartisan and distanced itself from ...

$4.3 Million Award in Preventable Death of Cook County Pretrial Detainee

by David M. Reutter

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a jury’s $4.3 million award to the estate of a pretrial detainee. The jurors found that guards at the jail in Cook County, Illinois were deliberately indifferent to the detainee’s serious medical needs, resulting in his death.

Less ...

Exorbitant Prisoner Phone Rates Pass New York Constitutional Scrutiny

by David M. Reutter

On November 23, 2009, the New York Court of Appeals – the state’s highest court – affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit arguing that the contract between the New York State Department of Correctional Services (NYDOCS) and MCI Worldcom Communications for prison telephone services violated the ...

$500,000 Settlement in Maryland Prisoner’s Death from Pepper Spraying

by David M. Reutter

A half-million dollar settlement was paid to the family of a Maryland prisoner who died when prison officials used excessive pepper spray while extracting him from his cell, and then failed to provide medical care.

After state prisoner Ifeanyi A. Iko was involved in a violent ...

Seventh Circuit: Catholic Prisoner’s Religious Diet Lawsuit Remanded

by David M. Reutter

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held a Catholic prisoner’s free exercise of religion was substantially burdened because he was denied a non-meat diet on Fridays and during Lent.
In 2003, Illinois state prisoner Brian Nelson sued Tamms Correctional Center chaplain Carl Miller, alleging violation of ...

$145,000 Settlement by New York City After Holding Immigration Detainee Beyond 48 Hours

by David M. Reutter

A $145,000 settlement by the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) provides a new twist in the area of immigration law. The main allegation in the complaint was that the DOC had violated a detainee’s rights by holding him for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ...