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Articles by David Reutter

California Jail Enters Settlement Agreement Resolving DOJ Investigation into ADA Violations

by David M. Reutter

California’s San Luis Obispo County entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 23, 2021, resolving alleged violations at the county jailof the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ch. 126, § 12101 et seq.

DOJ initiated an investigation ...

Sixth Circuit Says Kentucky DOC Chief Too “High Up the Chain of Command” to Be Liable for Prisoner’s Negligent Death

By David M. Reutter

Granting qualified immunity (QI) to acting Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner James Erwin on October 8, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said he did not have supervisory liability for a state prisoner’s death allegedly caused by the negligence of privately ...

Federal Judge Allows Retroactive Benefit Reduction for Incarcerated Veteran

by David M. Reutter

On January 20, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may make a post-incarceration decision to reduce benefits retroactively for a veteran imprisoned over the statutory minimum period, which is currently 60 days.

Before the ...

ACLU Wins FOIA Case at Michigan Supreme Court, Which Says Records May Be Exempted Only by Statute, Not Regulation

by David M. Reutter

In a decision reached on February 4, 2022, the Michigan Supreme Court handed the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a light to shine on the detention of a native U.S. citizen and Marine Corps veteran who was apprehended by federal Immigration and ...

Eleventh Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Jail Guards Who “Did Nothing” in Face of Florida Detainee’s Suicide Threats

by David M. Reutter

Finding that two guards at Florida’s Bay County Jail (BCJ) did “essentially nothing to prevent” a pretrial detainee from committing suicide, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a lower court’s denial of qualified immunity (QI) to them on February 15, 2022.

The ...

After $10 Million Settlement in Pennsylvania Jail Mugshot Class-Action, Fewer-Than-Expected Claims Leave Windfall for Expungement Program

by David M. Reutter

In September 2021, after closing out a $10 million settlement in a class-action suit alleging its county jail violated the privacy rights of detainees by making their expunged criminal records available online, Bucks County, Pennsylvania was left with about $80,000 in unclaimed funds when fewer claims ...

HRDC Sues Centurion for Records Related to Vermont Prisoner Care

by David M. Reutter

Fresh off a court victory that held “state contracts with a public entity” require private firms hired by the Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC) to release records relating to legal actions and settlements, PLN’s publisher, the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), sued Centurion of Vermont ...

$40,000 Settlement Reached in HRDC Challenge to Nebraska Prison Censorship Policy

by David M. Reutter

On June 10, 2022, the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (DCS) agreed to pay $40,000 and make several policy changes to resolve a lawsuit filed by the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), publisher of PLN, challenging the agency’s publications policy.

HRDC sued DCS in federal ...

Seventh Circuit Refuses to Hold Wexford Liable for Prisoner’s Pain from Medical Transports in “Black Box” Restraint

David M. Reutter

For prison officials and healthcare providers who refused to grant an Illinois prisoner an exemption from wearing “black box restraints” during medical transport, a federal district court in the state also refused to find an Eighth Amendment violation, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh ...

Seventh Circuit Holds Jail Guard Not Deliberately Indifferent to Illinois Prisoner’s Withdrawal from Smuggled Pills

by David M. Reutter

In a decision published on June 21, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held a guard was not deliberately indifferent to a prisoner’s symptoms of heroin withdrawal when the prisoner died from pills she smuggled into Illinois’ Champaign County Satellite Jail (CCSJ). ...