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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Nearly $11 Million Settlement Reached in Suit by BOP Prisoners Held Without Heat, Electricity During New York Winter Storm

by Douglas Ankney

On August 18, 2023, an agreement was reached by Defendant officials with the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) paying $10,936,250 to settle claims brought in a class-action lawsuit by prisoners and detainees who suffered for a week without electricity or heat at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) ...

Four Dead in One Month in San Bernardino County Jails, $3,232,500 in Settlements Paid So Far

by Douglas Ankney and Casey J. Bastian

A spate of jail deaths in California’s San Bernardino County dating back to 2017 has led to at least four legal settlements totaling $3,232,500. Two additional settlements netted another $35,000 for detainees allegedly beaten by guards. Meanwhile one of the most recent jail ...

$470,000 Settlement After Texas Jail Nurses Fabricate Vital Signs for Detainee Who Died

by Douglas Ankney

On September 14, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dealt a death blow to claims filed by the estate of a Texas jail detainee against the county that held him when he died. But all was not lost for the Estate of Savion ...

California Felony-Murder Reform Shaves 11,000 Years Off 600 Prisoner Sentences

Douglas Ankney

According to an analysis from California’s Office of the State Public Defender (OSPD), reforms to the state’s felony-murder statutes had a dramatic effect by August 3, 2023. By then the agency had found sentence reductions granted to 602 state prisoners, since state lawmakers passed SB 1437 in 2018 ...

Seventh Circuit Says Lack of Expert Testimony Dooms Illinois Prisoner’s Medical Neglect Claim

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit offered an Illinois state prisoner a hard lesson on July 27, 2023, affirming dismissal of his medical neglect claim against prison contractor Wexford Health Sources, Inc., for lack of evidence that expert testimony could have provided.

While playing ...

First Circuit Lets BOP Take Prisoner’s Entire $10,956.36 Trust Account Balance for Restitution

Douglas Ankney

Prisoners beware: On June 5, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit refused to stop the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) from “turn[ing] over the full amount” in a prisoner’s trust account to be applied toward “his outstanding restitution obligation.”

In 2019, Christopher Saemisch was ...

South Carolina Pays $200,000 to Jail Detainees Exposed to Toxic Fumes

by Douglas Ankney

In June 2023, the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund paid $8,700 to each of 23 former detainees at Berkeley County’s Hill-Finklea Detention Center (HFDC)—a total of $200,100—to settle claims they were exposed to toxic fumes while in custody.

According to the complaint they filed, the detainees were ...

Seventh Circuit Upholds Disciplinary Sanction Revoking Over 15 Years of Indiana Prisoner’s Good Time

by Douglas Ankney

When Indiana state prisoner Tony Love participated in a brawl, he was apparently unaware of the severity of the consequences he faced. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made sure he knew, ruling on July 7, 2023, that the loss of more than ...

Fifth Circuit Says Both Texas Prisoner’s Dismissed Suit and His Lost Appeal Count as “Strikes”

by Douglas Ankney

On July 10, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed Texas prisoner Anthony Prescott’s appeal, once again explaining the requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) that applications to waive filing fees and proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) must be denied where a prisoner plaintiff ...

BOP Slammed for Prisoner Abuse in Now-Shuttered Segregation Unit at USP-Thomson in Illinois

by Douglas Ankney

A report on July 6, 2023, from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs (WLCCR&UA) exposed abuses suffered by prisoners at the hands of Bureau of Prisons (BOP) guards while confined in the now-closed Special Management Unit (SMU) at the U.S. Penitentiary (USP) in ...