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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Cook County, Illinois to Pay $1.7 Million for Former Marine’s Suicide in Jail

by Douglas Ankney

In April 2019, the Cook County Board of Commissioners agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle a lawsuit over the death of Devin Lynch, a Marine Corps veteran and active reservist, while he was held at the Cook County Jail.

Lynch, 26, was booked into the facility ...

Alabama Jail Prisoner Accused of Conspiring to Get Pregnant, Claiming Rape

by Douglas Ankney

Twenty-six-year-old pretrial detainee and capital murder defendant Latoni Daniel gave birth to a baby boy on May 29, 2019. But she wasn’t pregnant when she was processed into the Coosa County jail in Alabama 17 months earlier, and claimed she didn’t remember having sex while incarcerated.

Daniel’s ...

Mentally Ill Prisoners’ Suit Against GEO Group Survives Motion to Dismiss

by Douglas Ankney

On March 29, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana denied in part a motion filed by private prison company The GEO Group, seeking to dismiss a class-action suit filed on behalf of prisoners in the Mental Health Unit (MHU) at ...

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 ...

First Step Act Update: Over 1,600 Sentences Reduced, 3,000 Prisoners Released

by Dale Chappell and Douglas Ankney

As of late July 2019, the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had released over 3,000 prisoners under the First Step Act, a landmark criminal justice reform measure signed in December 2018 by President Trump. [See: PLN, April 2019, p.1; Jan. 2019, p.34]. The ...

Virginia Jail Not Responding to Problems Cited in Department of Justice Report

by Douglas Ankney

"Help us.” “We are dying in here.” “They are trying to kill us.”

Those were just some of the pleas that civil rights and mental health advocates heard from prisoners who shouted through the walls during a tour of Virginia’s Hampton Roads Regional Jail (HRRJ) in March ...

Federal District Court Denies Nebraska Department of Correctional Services’ Motion to Strike Expert Declarations

by Douglas Ankney

On August 22, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska denied the “Motion to Strike Expert Declarations” (Motion) that was filed by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS).

Prisoner Hannah Sabata and other prisoners (Plaintiffs) within the custody and control of the ...

$250,000 Awarded to Mississippi Woman After Being Jailed 96 Days Without Bail Hearing or Lawyer

by Dale Chappell

 A woman who spent 96 days in the Choctaw County Jail in Mississippi without being granted a lawyer or bail hearing was awarded $250,000 by a federal jury March 26, 2017, after her lawsuit was reinstated on appeal.

The federal lawsuit brought by Jessica Jauch in the ...

President Trump Pardons Conservative Political Allies

by Douglas Ankney

In a continued pattern of granting clemency to conservative political allies, on May 15, 2019, President Trump pardoned former newspaper mogul Conrad M. Black, who served 42 months in federal prison after being convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007. The charges were related to ...

Allegation that Prisoner was Beaten after Guard Outed Him as Sex Offender Stated Eighth Amendment Claim

by Douglas Ankney

A federal district court in the Western District of Virginia held that a prisoner who alleged he was beaten after a jail guard informed other prisoners of his sex offender status had stated an Eighth Amendment claim.

John E. Lonewolf arrived at the Rockbridge Regional Jail (RRJ) ...