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Articles by David Reutter

Fifth Circuit: Texas Prison Property Rules Withstand Scrutiny Under Religious Free-Exercise Clause

by David Reutter

On October 4, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit considered the question: When is cleanliness not next to godliness? In answer, the Court said that the Texas prison system’s rules for storage of a prisoner’s personal property may not be broken, even if ...

Seventh Circuit Revives Indiana Prisoner’s Claim He Was Wrongfully Fired From Prison Commissary for Attending Religious Service

by David M. Reutter

On August 2, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed dismissal of an Indiana prisoner’s claim that he was wrongfully terminated from his job in the prison commissary when he missed work for a religious service he thought he had permission to ...

Illinois Supreme Court Orders State DOC to Fund Required Treatment and Housing for Sex Offender’s Conditional Release

by David M. Reutter

On September 22, 2022, the Supreme Court of Illinois agreed with a former state prisoner that when the state sets conditions for release that he can’t afford, it is obliged to help him meet them as long as it retains him under its custody. In the ...

Fourth Circuit Reinstates North Carolina Prisoner’s Suit Over Flesh-Eating Infection

by David M. Reutter

On April 19, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a prisoner’s civil rights complaint, reviving his claims that North Carolina prison officials ignored a flesh-eating infection that left him seriously injured. In the process, the Court also laid ...

SCOTUS Helps Revive Malicious Prosecution Claim Against Chicago Police Officers

by Kevin Bliss and David M. Reutter

On July 14, 2022, in a case on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit agreed that a “result opposite” was dictated to the opinion it had issued in a malicious prosecution case the year ...

$1.455 Million Settlement for Discrimination Against Black Minnesota Jail Guards Barred from Watching Floyd Killer

by David M. Reutter

On August 9, 2022, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) of Minnesota’s Ramsey County approved a payment of $1.445 million to settle a lawsuit alleging Black guards at the county lockup were segregated from the area where Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was being held after his ...

Pennsylvania Guards and Their Attorneys Spanked for Discovery Abuse in Prisoner’s Excessive-Force Suit

by David M. Reutter

On May 18, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania imposed sanctions for discovery abuse upon defendant state prison guards and their counsel, in a lawsuit alleging the guards employed unwarranted and excessive force upon prisoner Corey Bracey.

Bracey’s suit claimed that ...

More Drugs Seized by Florida DOC During COVID-19 Lockdowns Than Before

by David M. Reutter

Contraband statistics obtained from the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) during pandemic lockdowns debunk officials’ theory that visitors and mail are the main source of smuggling into state prisons. Instead the August 2022 report says the numbers point to one source: staff members and guards.

From ...

Second Circuit Reinstates N.Y. Prisoner’s Excessive Force Claim, Finding Grievance Procedure ‘Unavailable’ in Mental Health Unit

by David M. Reutter

On September 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a New York prisoner was excused from exhausting administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. Why? Because his transfer to mental health confinement ...

Alabama Supreme Court Says Prisoner Who Didn’t Return From Work Release Punishable Under Felony Escape Statute

by David M. Reutter

On September 16, 2022, in an important decision for Alabama prisoners on work-release programs, the state Supreme Court held that “willful escape” from such a program “is punishable under the escape statutes in the Alabama Criminal Code.” And it found that the Code implicitly repealed provisions ...