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Articles by David Reutter

$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) ...

Florida Prison Psychiatrist Resigns; License Revoked Over Sex with Patient

by David M. Reutter

Prisoners often believe that prison health care personnel are second-rate and incompetent, and likely couldn’t find work in non-correctional settings. The December 2, 2009 resignation of a Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) psychiatrist whose license was revoked lent credence to that belief.

Emanuel John Falcone was ...

Florida’s Civil Rights Restoration Process Insufficiently Funded

by David M. Reutter

With Florida continuing to face budget shortfalls due to the economic crisis, Governor Charlie Crist is looking for ways to slash government spending. However, his efforts are drawing fire from those who question cutting the budget of the Florida Parole Commission (FPC).

When Crist became governor, ...

DNA Exonerations in Georgia Result in Disparate Compensation Awards

by David M. Reutter

The disparity in compensation awards for prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence in Georgia demonstrates the need for evenhanded compensation laws.

Five wrongly convicted prisoners, Clarence Harrison, Robert Clark, Douglas Echols, Samuel Scott and Willie Otis “Pete” Williams, spent a combined 82 years in Georgia prisons for ...

Guilty Pleas in Angola Horse Selling Scheme

by David M. Reutter

A federal investigation uncovered a fraudulent scheme at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in which horses were sold to private parties, bypassing required public auctions. Two indictments were handed down that resulted in guilty pleas.

On September 19, 2007, a federal grand jury returned an ...

CMS Nurse Denied Summary Judgment for Failure to Treat Prisoner for Heat Illness;$400,000 Settlement Following Sixth Circuit Ruling

by David M. Reutter

In February 2009, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of summary judgment to a Correctional Medical Services (CMS) nurse in a lawsuit that accused her of failing to properly treat a Michigan prisoner for heat sickness, which left him a quadriplegic.
On July ...