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Articles by Douglas Ankney

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 ...

Third Circuit: Retroactive Application of Amended New Jersey Parole Guidelines May Violate Ex Post Facto Clause

by Douglas Ankney

On September 22, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a district court’s dismissal of a pro se prisoner’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint, after determining he had presented a plausible claim that retroactive application of amended guidelines to his parole hearings violated ...

Suit by HRDC Alleging GTL and Securus Violated Sherman Anti-Trust Act Survives Motion to Dismiss

by Douglas Ankney

A suit brought by the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) alleging a price-fixing and kickback scheme by prison telephone service providers Global Tel*Link Corp. (now known as ViaPath), Securus Technologies, LLC, and 3Cinteractive Corp. (3Ci), survived a motion to dismiss by Defendants on September 30, 2021.

HRDC, ...

Ninth Circuit Continues Trend of Reversing Injunctive Relief Protecting Prisoners From COVID-19

by Douglas Ankney

On October 20, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s injunction ordering system-wide relief to protect detainees held for federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from COVID-19. In so doing the Court continued a trend of reversing protective injunctions put ...

Former AZ Assistant AG Disciplined for Misconduct in Muslim Prisoner’s Lawsuit

by Douglas Ankney 

In August 2021, the Arizona State Bar disciplined a former state Assistant Attorney General, Michael John Hrnicek, for his misconduct while opposing a prisoner’s lawsuit against several employees of the state Department of Corrections (DOC).

The prisoner, Tyson McDaniel, is a practicing Muslim who filed suit in ...

Eighth Circuit Rules District Court Must Use Federal Law for Admissibility of Expert Testimony

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit agreed with Plaintiff Craig Shipp that a district court erred when it failed to rely on federal law in determining the admissibility of the testimony of Shipp’s expert, but in this case the error was harmless.

Shipp was ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Illegal Juvenile LWOP Sentence Undermined Validity of Later Conviction

by Douglas Ankney 

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that an illegal mandatory sentence of life without parole (“LWOP”) imposed upon a juvenile undermined the validity of a later conviction for assault by a life prisoner predicated on the LWOP.

In 1970, James Henry Cobbs was 17 years old when ...

Federal District Court Orders All CDCR Employees be Vaccinated

by Douglas Ankney

On September 27, 2021, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ordered implementation of the Receiver’s recommendations that “(1) access by workers to CDCR institutions be limited to those workers who establish proof of full vaccination or who have established a religious or ...

Fourth Circuit Rules Prisoner Sex Offender has No Right to In-Person Visitation with His Minor Children

by Doug Ankney

James Desper is a convicted sex offender incarcerated at the Augusta Correctional Center in Craigsville, Virginia. For six years, Desper received visits from his minor child without incident. None of Desper’s crimes or convictions involved his child. But in March 2014, the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) ...