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Articles by Derek Gilna

Florence Strip-Search Decision Sends Iowa Case Back to Square One

The recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, 132 S.Ct. 1510 (2012), which held that every detainee, even one held on a non-indictable offense, who will be admitted to the jail’s “general population” may be ...

El Paso Prisoner Receives $80,000 Settlement

Former El Paso County prisoner Brock John Behler received a settlement of $80,000 from El Paso County, Colorado to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging the use of excessive force by former Deputy Dennis Grivois. The 2009 lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado, stated ...

7th Circuit Limits Use of FOIA Requests in Case Against Federal EPA

The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, is a valuable tool in piercing the veil of secrecy that often surrounds government investigations and decision making. After Appleton Paper Inc, or API, and other companies were accused of polluting the Fox River near Green Bay, Wisconsin, API sought, through a FOIA ...

DC Circuit Affirms Order Denying FOIA FBI Disclosure to Kentucky Prisoner

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has affirmed the district court denial of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of prisoner Benny Lee Hodge,
who had sought document disclosure from the FBI of 569 pages of “a complete and thorough search of all filing systems and ...

7th Circuit Reaffirms Voluntariness of BOP’s Inmate Financial Responsibility Program

In a ruling of significance to the approximately 218,000 prisoners in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the Seventh Circuit has reaffirmed that a federal prisoner cannot be ordered by his or her sentencing court to participate in the BOP’s Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP).

Federal prisoner Ondray McKnight ...

DC Court Disbars Former Federal Prosecutor for Misconduct

On March 8, 2012, for the first time in over ten years, a former federal prosecutor was disbarred for “egregious” misconduct during the prosecution of several high-profile murder cases in the 1990s.

According to a 2010 investigation by USA Today, at that time there had been “201 documented cases since ...

U.S. Citizens Mistakenly Snared, Deported by DHS and ICE

An increasing number of American citizens have been questioned, detained and even deported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as a result of databases that incorrectly identify them as undocumented immigrants.

According to the New York Times, “Detentions of citizens are ...

Tenth Circuit: Terrorism Prisoners Lack Liberty Interest in Transfer to ADX

Omar Rezaq, Mohammed Saleh, El-Sayyid Nosair and Ibrahim Elgabrowny, convicted of terrorism-related offenses and confined at the federal supermax ADX facility in Florence, Colorado, filed suit contending they had a liberty interest in “avoiding transfer without due process to the high-security prison.” The district court denied relief, which was affirmed ...

GAO Examines How BOP Can Reduce Prisoners’ Time in Prison

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a study on the Bureau of Prisons’ authority to shorten a federal prisoner’s sentence. The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) was found to have three principal authorities with respect to sentence reduction: prisoners can earn up to twelve months off for ...

Supreme Court Adopts Strickland Prejudice Standard for Rejected Plea Bargains

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has extended Strickland guarantees of effective legal representation to defendants entering into plea bargains. According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who delivered the majority opinion of the Court, “The reality is that plea bargains have become so central to the administration of ...