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Articles by Derek Gilna

D.C. District Court Reaffirms Access to Counsel for Guantanamo Detainees

In a September 6, 2012 memorandum opinion, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia once again asserted an “obligation to assure that those seeking to challenge their Executive detention by petitioning for habeas relief have adequate, effective and meaningful access to the courts.” In doing so, the district ...

Solitary Confinement for Death Row Prisoners a Blot on U.S. Justice System

Although more and more states have abolished the death penalty in recent years, with six states doing away with capital punishment since 2007, the death penalty still has strong support in certain elements of society, notably among lawmakers. However, there should be little dispute as to the growing body of ...

Wrongful Immigration Detention Suit Reinstated by Second Circuit, Dismissed on Remand

Viterbo Liranzo, born in the Dominican Republic, was a U.S. citizen through section 321 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which conferred derivative citizenship on children of U.S. citizens. He was required to apply for a certificate of citizenship, but did not do so. Instead, he applied for and received ...

Report: BOP Fails to Monitor Effects, Conditions of Segregated Housing

In May, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report critical of the federal Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) use of segregated housing. The report found that the percentage of prisoners held in segregated housing, including Special Housing Units (SHUs), Special Management Units (SMUs) and Administrative Maximum (ADX), had ...

Supreme Court Holds Padilla Not Retroactive

In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010) [PLN, Aug. 2010, p.11], the U.S. Supreme Court held that attorneys have an obligation to advise their non-citizen clients that they face the collateral consequence of deportation if they plead guilty to a felony.

Roselva Chaidez, a non-citizen permanent resident, pleaded guilty ...

Canadian Prisoners Receive $3.5 Million in Settlements

Thirty-four prisoners in the Canadian province of British Columbia have obtained a total of $3.5 million in settlements from the government between January 2008 and March 2012. The largest settlement, for a prisoner's traumatic brain injury resulting from an assault by another prisoner, was $2.64 million. Most of the other ...

California Jail Installs New Microgrid to Cut Energy Costs

California Jail Installs New Microgrid to Cut Energy Costs

by Derek Gilna

The Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, California has installed an $11.7 million "microgrid" system to help power the 4,000-bed facility, which is the fifth-largest jail in the nation. Previously, the jail had installed a 9,000-solar panel array ...

"Mere Possession" of a Prison Shank Constitutes a "Crime of Violence"

"Mere Possession" of a Prison Shank Constitutes a "Crime of Violence"

by Derek Gilna

In 2010, federal prisoner Jermaine Mobley was sentenced to 37 months by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for possessing a shank – a prohibited object in prison as defined by ...

Suicides at CCA-run ICE Detention Center Spark Investigation

Human rights organizations monitoring complaints regarding conditions of confinement for prisoners held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities were likely not surprised when they received news that two detainees had committed suicide at the Eloy Detention Center outside Phoenix, Arizona. The April 2013 deaths of Jorge Garcia-Mejia, 40, and ...

Louisiana Supreme Court Rejects Ex Post Facto Challenge in Sex Offender Supervision Case

The Louisiana Supreme Court has reversed the judgment of a state appellate court and reinstated the "lifelong supervision" of Rudy Trosclair, who had contested that condition on ex post facto grounds. At the time of Trosclair's conviction, La. Rev. Stat. Section 15:561.2 required any person convicted of a sex offense ...