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Articles by Derek Gilna

Restitution Not Owed for Arrest Costs, West Virginia Court Holds

Petitioner Michael John McGill appealed his December 2010 state conviction for escape from home confinement while on bail and the sentencing judge’s order that he pay $8,261.56 in “restitution to the State for costs associated with apprehending him following his unauthorized departure from home confinement.”

According to a decision by ...

Justice Department Reports: Correctional Populations Declining at Slower Pace

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has published two new reports, “Correctional Populations in the United States, 2012” and “Probation and Parole in the United States, 2012.” Both indicate that although correctional populations continue to drop, the rate of decrease has slowed.

Approximately 6.9 million people were under correctional supervision in ...

Seventh Circuit: Lifetime Supervision in Pornography Case Set Aside

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a “supervision for life” provision imposed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin when defendant Nicolai D. Quinn was sentenced to 97 months imprisonment for possession of child pornography.

Both the Sentencing Guidelines and statute under which Quinn ...

Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Prisoner's Law Library Access Claim

Illinois state prisoner Brian Burd filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint for damages in 2010, alleging that officials at the Sheridan Correctional Center had denied him reasonable access to the facility’s law library; consequently, he was unable to research and timely file a motion to withdraw his guilty plea ...

BOP Compromises on Plan to Transfer Prisoners from FCI Danbury

In an unexpected turnabout, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has modified its July 2013 decision to transfer all prisoners from the only federal women’s facility in the northeast, located in Danbury, Connecticut. The BOP had planned to ship 1,120 prisoners held at FCI Danbury to a recently-opened 1,800-bed facility in ...

BOP Settles Lawsuits Related to Food Poisoning at Pennsylvania Prison

As previously reported in Prison Legal News, hundreds of federal prisoners at USP Canaan, a high-security federal prison northwest of Scranton, Pennsylvania, became sick after eating salmonella-contaminated chicken in June 2011. [See: PLN, August 2012, p.31].

Although Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials denied reports of widespread food poisoning at the ...

Eighth Circuit Initially Allows Non-Delegation Challenge to SORNA, then Reverses Course

Another challenge to the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) initially met with limited success, but ultimately failed.

Lindon Roy Knutson pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender under SORNA stemming from a 1974 rape conviction but reserved several issues on appeal, including a challenge ...

Federal Prisoners Paid During Government Shutdown, but Not Prison Guards

One of the ironies of the recent 16-day federal government shutdown, which ended on October 16, 2013, is that prisoners in the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) continued to receive their paychecks while BOP workers did not. FCI Forrest City, Arkansas prison employee and local union president Jeff Roberts, and ...

Second Circuit: Bankruptcy Automatic Stay is No Excuse for Non-payment of Restitution

Philip Colasuonno, a defendant in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, was resentenced to 4 months in prison after the court found he had “willfully violated probation by failing to pay ordered restitution.” Colasuonno filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy following his initial sentencing, then argued ...

Third Circuit Reverses More Stringent Conditions of Supervised Release

In 2004, Charles F. Murray was sentenced to 95 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography and traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. As part of his sentence he was required to comply with “various special conditions of supervised release ...