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Articles by David Reutter

Federal Jury Awards $30,501 to Indiana Prisoner in Retaliation Lawsuit

by David M. Reutter

In October 2022, the federal court for the Southern District of Indiana confirmed payment to a state prisoner of $30,501 in damages, which was awarded for retaliation he suffered when seeking protection from other prisoners.

The prisoner, Jason Seth Perry, was held at Wabash Valley Correctional ...

COVID-19 Stimulus Garnished From Federal Prisoner, but Only After Eighth Circuit Says ‘Not So Fast’

by David M. Reutter

On March 28, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit ruled that money may not be withdrawn from a federal prisoner’s trust account, even to satisfy court-ordered restitution, without first determining the source of the funds.

The Court’s decision concerned the strange case ...

Ninth Circuit: New Suit Not Required After Curing Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

by David M. Reutter

On May 23, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a prisoner whose complaint was dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies need not file a new suit after completing that task. Rather, a supplemental pleading is sufficient, the Court said, ...

Split Seventh Circuit Declines to Rehear Appeal of Illinois Prisoner With Serious Mental Illness Left in Solitary for Three Years

by David M. Reutter

Is it unconstitutional to deprive a mentally ill prisoner of exercise for three years? In Illinois, the answer is no, according to two of three judges on a panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit – a decision the full Court then ...

$3,500 Settlement in Medical-Care Claim Arrives Too Late for Illinois Prisoner Felled by COVID-19

by David M. Reutter

On November 21, 2021, a federal lawsuit filed by an Illinois prisoner against officials with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) was dismissed, after the state agreed to pay $3,500 to settle his claims that staff’s persistent refusal to provide proper medical care for an arm ...

South Carolina Judge Halts State Executions by Electrocution and Firing Squad

by David M. Reutter and Ed Lyon

On September 6, 2022, the Richland County Court of Common Pleas granted an injunction in a challenge brought by four condemned South Carolina prisoners to 2021 state legislation making electrocution the default method of execution unless a prisoner opts instead for lethal injection ...

Michigan Supreme Court Says Prisoner’s Possession of Cell Phone by Itself Doesn’t Show Threat to Security

by David M. Reutter

On April 28, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court held that possession of a cell phone by a prisoner may not justify an enhanced sentence under the state criminal code unless the facts also establish that the prisoner’s conduct actually threatened prison security. That drew a sharp ...

North Dakota Prisoner’s Conviction for Assault on Guard Vacated Due To Erroneous Jury Instruction

by David M. Reutter

On May 26, 2022, the SupremeCourt of North Dakota vacated a state prisoner’s conviction for aggravated assault of a guard because the trial court committed error by instructing the jury on the wrong law under which he was charged.

While held at the North Dakota State ...

DOJ Finds Unconstitutional Conditions at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman

by David M. Reutter

On April 20, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a report finding conditions at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman likely violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the prisoners held there. DOJ is reportedly working with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) ...

Tenth Circuit Vacates Oklahoma Prisoners’ Witness Tampering Conviction

by David M. Reutter

On April 5, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a conviction for federal witness tampering requires an affirmative answer to two questions: (1) Did the defendant contemplate a particular proceeding in which the witness would testify and (2) was it ...