Skip navigation

Articles by Derek Gilna

Missouri Prisoner Awarded $111,000 in Second-Hand Smoke Case, DOC Bans Smoking

by Derek Gilna

Ecclesiastical Denzel Washington, a former death row prisoner who is now serving a life sentence, won a jury verdict against the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) and various prison officials totaling $111,000. Following the April 2017 verdict, Washington negotiated a settlement banning the sale and ...

Sixth Circuit Reverses Injunction Against Delousing and Group Strip Searches at Ohio Jail

by Derek Gilna

On November 2, 2018, the Sixth Circuit reversed a permanent injunction and summary judgment order entered by a federal district court in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action filed by former prisoner Tynisa Williams against the City of Cleveland, challenging group strip searches and mandatory delousing at ...

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 terminated ...

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 of ...

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 jury ...

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.26; ...

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, at ...