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Articles by Derek Gilna

Seventh Circuit Permits Gender Dysphoria Federal Civil Rights Case to Proceed

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the district court’s dismissal of a federal civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, brought by a former prisoner in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC), who claimed that she had been denied hormonal therapy for her medically ...

Lawsuit Filed in Death of Kentucky Prisoner Held in Five-point Restraints

by Derek Gilna

A wrongful death suit has been filed in state court in Oldham County, Kentucky by the family of 30-year-old Steven Lee McStoots, who died of suffocation when he was strapped face-down on a mattress in five-point restraints at the Kentucky State Reformatory. McStoots had been forcefully removed ...

Troubles at California Jail Lead Sheriff to Forgo Reelection

by Derek Gilna

Orange County, California’s jail system has been a hotbed of abuses for many years, accumulating a reputation for lawlessness on the part of prisoners and staff members alike. [See: PLN, June 2018, p.28; Jan. 2016, p.29]. The inability of the current Sheriff-Coroner, Sandra Hutchens, to resolve problems ...

Wisconsin Paid Former Prison Employees $105,000 to Settle Harassment Cases

by Derek Gilna

Last year, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) paid $105,000 to settle a pair of federal civil rights lawsuits filed by two former employees. Both of the women claimed they were fired in retaliation for their testimony alleging sexual harassment by a supervisor at a state prison ...

ACLU Reaches Confidential Settlement in CIA Detainee Torture Lawsuit

by Derek Gilna

Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) entered into a confidential settlement with the CIA over “a torture program” designed and used against military detainees by two contractors, psychologists James Elmer Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the ...

Exonerated Prisoner Awarded $15 Million for Misconduct by Baltimore Police

by Derek Gilna

On October 5, 1994, Sabein Burgess’ life changed forever when his girlfriend, Michelle Dyson, was brutally murdered at her home in Baltimore, Maryland. Burgess discovered his girlfriend’s body, called for help and then returned to cradle Dyson’s head in his hands until police officers arrived. As horrible ...

Settlement in Class-action ADA Suit Against Shasta County, California Jail

by Derek Gilna

Everett Joseph Jewett, a disabled prisoner held in the medical unit at a jail in Shasta County, California, filed suit in federal court in 2013 alleging the facility had failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. After five ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Prevailing Prisoners Must Pay 25 Percent of Damage Awards Towards Attorney Fees

by Derek Gilna

On February 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in a 5-4 decision, that when a prisoner wins a monetary judgment in a federal lawsuit and is entitled to attorney fees as the prevailing party, he or she is obligated to pay the first 25 percent of ...

Supreme Court Reverses Ninth Circuit Ruling Banning Pretrial Full-body Shackling

by Derek Gilna

In an opinion issued May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that banned the full-body shackling of pretrial detainees, based on the issue of mootness. The decision, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, noted that the “question ...

Human Rights Defense Center Files Censorship Suit Against Illinois DOC

by Derek Gilna

The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), the parent organization and publisher of Prison Legal News, filed suit in federal court in Chicago on February 13, 2018, arguing the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) had censored or refused to deliver its publications sent to state prisoners in violation ...