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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Eighth Circuit Strands Missouri Prisoners Sentenced to Life Without Parole as Juveniles in ‘Opaque’ Review Process

by Douglas Ankney

On August 30, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that Missouri’s parole review process does not violate the constitutional rights of prisoners who were sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) as juveniles. The decision came after a rehearing of the full Court ...

Idaho Lowers Cloak of Darkness Over Execution Protocols

by Douglas Ankney

On March 23, 2022, Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a new law to shield the identity of drug suppliers for state executions by lethal injection.

House Bill 658 was written by the state’s Attorney General and Department of Correction (DOC). It won complete approval in the ...

Hawaii Governor Finally Appoints Coordinator for State DOC Oversight Commission

by Douglas Ankney

It took him three years to do it, but Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) finally appointed a director for the state Correctional Systems Oversight Commission (CSOC). On April 4, 2022, former New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) Monitor Christin Johnson assumed the role created by the ...

California Supreme Court Rules Proposition 57 Early Parole Review May be Denied for Any Violent Felony Conviction, Even If Not “Primary Offense”

by Douglas Ankney

On January 3, 2022, the Supreme Court of California held that the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) did not abuse its authority when it promulgated regulations excluding from nonviolent-offender parole review any prisoner currently serving a sentence for a violent felony, even one not designated ...

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Denial of Compassionate Release Where One Factor Isn’t Satisfied Even After Assuming Other Factors Were

by Douglas Ankney


On September 28, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied the appeal of a federal prisoner in Florida, whose application for compassionate release satisfied the first factor enumerated by statute, saying that one factor carried no more weight than others referenced in ...

Virginia Prisoner Awarded $5,000 in Suit Alleging Retaliation for Reporting Abuse by Guard, But So Far Unable to Collect

by Douglas Ankney

On November 4, 2020, U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel C. Hoppe of the Western District of Virginia recommended an award of $5,000 plus costs to prisoner Plaintiff Erin D. Proctor in his claiming former Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) guard Robert Jefferson abused him and then retaliated against ...

Vermont Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Habeas Petition from State Prisoner Given Run-Around by DOC

By Douglas Ankey
A Vermont prisoner’s valiant effort to hold the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to account died a maddening bureaucratic death in state court on April 4, 2022.

The facts underlying the case began in April 2017, when DOC placed state prisoner Anthony Davey on community-reentry furlough status. ...

Connecticut Supreme Court Requires Special Credibility Instruction for Jailhouse Informant Even If Defendant Allegedly Confessed Elsewhere

By Douglas Ankey

In a decision released on December 1, 2020, the Supreme Court of Connecticut held that a special credibility instruction is required for a jury when hearing testimony from a jailhouse informant regardless of the location where the defendant allegedly confessed.

When Billy Ray Jones was tried for ...

Hawaii Supreme Court Orders New Parole Hearing for Prisoner Held Since 1979

by Douglas Ankney

Over 42 years after he was sentenced to Life with Possibility of Parole (LWPP), a pro se Hawaii prisoner took a step closer to the promise contained in his sentence on October 22, 2021, when the state Supreme Court reinstated his claim that he was wrongfully denied ...

Washington State Supreme Court Holds that Denying Wheelchair-Bound Prisoner Access to Water and Toilet Facilities Violates State Constitution

by Doug Ankney

In an opinion issued on October 7, 2021, the Supreme Court of Washington ruled that holding wheelchair-bound prisoner Robert Rufus Williams in a cell that lacked a sink or toilet violated the Washington State Constitution.

The now-79-year old Williams was convicted of multiple offenses, including a brutal ...