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Articles by David Reutter

Louisiana High Court Abandons Ab Initio Precedent in Favor of “Victim’s Rights”

by David M. Reutter

Confronted with the appeal of a defendant who died on November 10, 2022, the Supreme Court of Louisiana reversed its own precedent and refused to abandon his prosecution. With that, the Court decided that the doctrine of abatement ab initio is “obsolete and inconsistent with our ...

Eighth Circuit Affirms Over $278,000 Awarded to Minnesota Jail Detainee Held on Bad ICE Referral Policy

by David M. Reutter

On November 30, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a $30,001 jury award and a fee award over $248,000 to a Minnesota jail detainee who alleged she was falsely imprisoned by Anoka County’s discriminatory policy of referring all foreign-born arrestees to ...

California Halted from Re-Integrating “Sensitive Needs” Prisoners Into General Population

by David M. Reutter

California’s Superior Court for Sacramento County issued a Writ of Mandate on September 30, 2022, ordering the state Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to “immediately cease” transferring prisoners under a controversial new housing policy.

This case was brought by state prisoner Israel Villarreal. His petition ...

Sixth Circuit Revives Claim Over Michigan Prisoner’s Fatal Overdose on Allegedly Smuggled Fentanyl

by David M. Reutter

On August 10, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a district court’s grant of summary judgment to employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC) in a case accusing them of failing to protect a prisoner who suffered a fatal overdose ...

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Jail Detainee’s Urine Not a ‘Noxious or Filthy Substance’

by David M. Reutter

In an opinion issued on November 22, 2022, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that urine is not a “noxious or filthy substance.” Therefore, the Court affirmed dismissal of vandalism charges against a detainee for urinating on a jail’s floor.

Angel O. Perez Narvaez was ...

Third Circuit Unbothered by Pennsylvania’s Discrimination Against Sex Offenders in Denying Parole to Halfway Houses

by David M. Reutter

In a precedential ruling displaying galling cowardice, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ordered summary judgment on November 9, 2022, against a group of sex offenders whose class-action suit claimed their civil rights were violated when the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) denied ...

Fourth Circuit: Religious Headwear Policy Violated Virginia Prisoner’s Rights

by David M. Reutter

On November 7, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that a Virginia prisoner successfully pleaded that a policy of the state Department of Corrections (DOC) substantially burdened his religious beliefs. That sent the case back to the district court to determine ...

A Lesson in Pleading: Utah Jail Suicide Complaint Fails for Alleging Failure to Train Rather than Failure to Provide Care

by David M. Reutter

On May 3, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for defendant jailers in a lawsuit seeking damages for a Utah detainee’s suicide. Not only bad for the survivors of the unfortunate man, the case also offers a lesson in ...

Sixth Circuit Says Ohio Prisoner’s Lack of Tablet Access May Have Prevented Grievance Exhaustion

by David M. Reutter

Technology giveth and technology taketh away – even in prison. That was the conclusion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on October 26, 2022, when it reversed dismissal of an Ohio prisoner’s civil rights action, finding a viable dispute regarding exhaustion of ...

$2.375 Million Settlement in Over-Detention Suit at Santa Clara California Jail

by David M. Reutter

On December 16, 2022, the federal court for the Northern District of California entered final approval of a settlement agreement in a class-action suit alleging Santa Clara County continued to hold detainees in jail after the county District Attorney (DA) declined to prosecute them. The agreement ...