Skip navigation

Articles by Derek Gilna

Seventh Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Juvenile Prisoners’ Civil Rights Case

by Derek Gilna

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by two Iowa girls who alleged they were mistreated at the Wisconsin Girls State Training School at Copper Lake. After their placement in that out-of-state facility in 2015, they said ...

Former New Jersey Prison Guard, Accused of Abusing Female Prisoners, Settles Lawsuit for $75,000

by Derek Gilna

Former New Jersey Correctional Officer Erick Melgar, accused by 16 women prisoners at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Hunterdon County of both physical and sexual misconduct from 2008 to 2009, settled his state lawsuit with a consent judgment in April 2017 for $75,000. Melgar, who was ...

Taser Misuse at California Jail Costs County $1.15 Million

by Derek Gilna

On March 5, 2018, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department in California settled a federal civil rights lawsuit that alleged deputies at the Rancho Cucamonga jail engaged in a practice of “tasing” prisoners for their own personal amusement. 

The $1.15 million settlement on behalf ...

Seventh Circuit Denies Wisconsin Prisoner’s Claims Against Medical Staff

by Derek Gilna

In an August 23, 2018 ruling, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied the deliberate indifference and state law negligence claims raised by Oshkosh Correctional Institution prisoner Donald C. Wilson, who filed a federal civil rights suit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections in 2009 over medical ...

Three Wrongfully Convicted Ohio Prisoners Receive $19.5 Million

by Derek Gilna

Eugene Johnson, Derrick Wheatt and Laurese Glover, also known as the East Cleveland Three, wrongfully convicted of the 1995 murder of Clifton Hudson, Jr., received a settlement totaling $4.5 million from Cuyahoga County, Ohio in March 2018. Eight months later they each received a $5 million ...

Illinois DOC Settles Lawsuit Filed by Deaf, Hard of Hearing Prisoners

by Derek Gilna

The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has settled a class-action suit brought by deaf and hard of hearing prisoners who said they were denied sign-language interpreters for what was called “high-stakes interactions” with prison staff. Prior to the settlement, such prisoners had effectively been denied access to ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses $6.7 Million Indemnification Award for Milwaukee Jail Rape

by Derek Gilna

On September 14, 2018, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Milwaukee, Wisconsin federal jury verdict that awarded $6.7 million in damages against Milwaukee County to a woman raped by a guard while she was housed at the county jail. [See: PLN, Feb. 2018, p ...

Alaska Supreme Court Denies Counsel to State Prisoner in Felony Case

by Derek Gilna

In a decision that appears to contradict U.S. Supreme Court precedent, not to mention its own, the Supreme Court of Alaska ruled on September 14, 2018 that a prisoner charged with violation of a prison disciplinary rule that constitutes a felony was not entitled to counsel ...

Ohio Prisoner Recovers $2,025 for Leg Injury Caused by Guard’s Pepper Ball

by Derek Gilna

Ohio state prisoner Kimani Ware won a $2,025 judgment against the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) on July 16, 2018. Following a trial, Magistrate Gary Peterson found the DRC was responsible for the injury and pain Ware suffering when he was struck in the ...

DC Corrections Council Report Slams USP Lewisburg’s “Special Management Unit”

by Derek Gilna

An April 6, 2018 report published by the District of Columbia’s Corrections Information Council (CIC) criticized the federal Bureau of Prisons’ Special Management Unit (SMU) at USP Lewisburg in Pennsylvania, citing numerous policy violations and violence. One incident involved a prisoner who lost an eye to a ...