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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Court Denies Arizona DOC’s Motion to Terminate Monitoring of Prisoners’ Out-of-Cell Time

by Douglas Ankney

On September 16, 2019, federal judge Roslyn O. Silver signed an order that denied, in part, a motion filed by the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) to terminate monitoring of out-of-cell exercise time for prisoners housed in maximum-security units.

The ADOC moved to terminate its obligation to ...

DEA Turning Probable Cause into a Lost Cause

by Douglas Ankney

For over 20 years, the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) has run multiple bulk records collections. According to a report from the Inspector General (“IG”), the DEA targeted phone calls placed to “drug nexus” countries. (Almost anywhere in or out of the country is defined as a drug ...

BJS Releases Annual Data Collection on Capital Punishment for 2017

by Douglas Ankney

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (“BJS”) released its data collection on capital punishment for 2017. The BJS obtained data relating to every person under sentence of death in the federal government (excluding military prisoners) and in the 34 states that authorize the death penalty.

Here are some ...

Man Mistakenly Released 13 Years Ago Won’t Have to Return to Prison

by Douglas Ankney

Connecticut man arrested for his unintentional failure to serve a 13-year-old federal prison sentence was released from custody in March 2019.

Philadelphia native Demetrius Anderson had not only remained free for those 13 years after completing his sentence at a Connecticut state prison in 2006, he also ...

$3.1 Million Settlement for Washington Jail Detainee’s Death

“Will You Get Back Up?”

by Douglas Ankney

In November 2017, Piper Travis was arrested for failure to appear on two misdemeanor counts of stealing a TV and a $3.48 bag of Easter candy from a Walmart in Washington state. On November 20 the 34-year-old from Whidbey Island was booked ...

Seventh Circuit: Non-Medical Prison Staff Entitled to Qualified Immunity

by Douglas Ankney

On August 1, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that non-medical correctional staff were entitled to qualified immunity in a lawsuit alleging they had failed to provide a medical accommodation to a prisoner that had neither been ordered by the medical department nor was obvious ...

Ex-Offenders Work for Organization that Repairs and Sells Vehicles at Low Cost

by Douglas Ankney

In 1999, Marty Schwartz started Vehicles for Change (VFC) – a nonprofit that repairs donated vehicles and sells them to low-income families for $700 to $850. The charity provides reliable vehicles to solve “the No. 1 barrier for employment for low-income residents – which is [lack of] ...

York County, Pennsylvania Reaches $550,000 Settlement in Lawsuit Involving Woman Murdered by Ex-Boyfriend

 by Douglas Ankney

According to a report released on July 23, 2019, by, a $550,000 settlement was reached in a § 1983 lawsuit brought against York County, its Prison Board, and numerous officials by the family of a woman killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2012.

CherylAnn J. Dowell was ...

Sixth Circuit Defines ‘Serious Physical Injury’ for 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) Purposes

by Douglas Ankney

 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has defined the term “serious physical injury” in the text of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Michael Gresham is a state prisoner serving a 75-year sentence in a Michigan prison. He filed a § 1983 action against several prison ...

Alaska Pays $400,000 to Settle Jail Prisoner’s Wrongful Death Suit

by Douglas Ankney

On April 18, 2019, the state of Alaska agreed to pay $400,000 to John Green, the father of Kellsie Green, to settle his lawsuit against the Alaska Department of Corrections over his daughter’s death in an Anchorage jail.

Alaska has a unified corrections system where the DOC ...