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Articles by Edward Lyon

Tennessee Juvenile Murderer’s Sentence Commuted

New Book on Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration

North Carolina Case Involving Death of Black Prisoner: “I Can’t Breathe,” Revisited

Just before Neville, 56, lapsed into a coma at FCDC on December 2, 2019, he managed to rasp to the sheriff’s deputies and jail nurse who had hogtied him, “I can’t breathe.” Two days later, on December 4, 2019, he died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center without ever having regained consciousness.

In the interim, Kimbrough’s office got O’Neill’s office to drop its charges against Neville. As a result, the death did not technically occur in custody, so the sheriff was relieved of any duty to report its details to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The death was not publicly reported for six months and then only under pressure from the Winston-Salem Journal.

It sounds like they rushed to get him out of custody so they would not have ...

Missouri Executes Prisoner During COVID-19 Crisis

This is not so for the eye-for-an-eye and tooth-for-a-tooth state of Missouri where Walter “Arkie” Barton succumbed to that state’s murder machine on May 19, 2020. Making this particular execution even more horrible is the high probability that Barton is innocent of the murder for which he was convicted of — five separate times.

On October 9, 1991, 81-year-old Gladys Kuehler was stabbed over 50 times in her bedroom where her granddaughter and Barton later found her. The granddaughter embraced her body, then Barton pulled her away. Some of Kuehler’s blood had gotten on the granddaughter with some of it then being transferred to him. It would be this miniscule bit of blood that an expert on blood spatter (a now-discredited forensic method) would continuously testify resulted from a knife’s “impact” with the ...

Prisoners Exonerated in Michigan After Police Misconduct Revealed

Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy went on record stating, “These are the first cases that deal directly with fraudulent search warrant affidavits and other activities by highly unethical and compromised narcotics officers.” The narc who is responsible for these first of many expected exonerations is still employed by the Detroit Police Department (DPD) and is under investigation by its Internal Affairs Division (IAD). The probe is part of a wider investigation of the entire narcotics division in which the state police and FBI have joined.

Former DPD narc and current federal felon Michael Mosley presented false information regarding Richmond’s case. Mosley pleaded guilty in February 2020 before a federal judge to taking $15,000 in bribe money from a drug dealer. Mosley’s crimes led to the IAD raiding the narcotics division and seizing 50 computers and scores of case files.

DPD Chief James Craig admitted to the ongoing investigation uncovering a plethora of corruption ...

COVID-19 in the Country’s Largest Female Prison

The California Central Women’s Facility (CCWF) is large enough to easily comply with that court order and has assigned building 503 for that purpose, where 100 beds are used for isolating known infected prisoners.

But distressing stories have surfaced.

Prisoner Kandice Ortega was placed in 503 when her cellmate, not her, tested positive for COVID-19 in July 2020, according to the nonprofit newsroom The 19th. Ortega would test negative for the virus six times, but nonetheless remained there for several weeks.

CDCR public information officer Lt. Gene Norman denied this, stating, “When an inmate’s test [sic] have returned negative, they are released back into general population housing,” and further denied that any prisoners were placed in 503 before testing  positive for COVID-19 and stressed that 503 is kept clean and that guards wear ...

California Jail Prisoner Loses Limbs, but Faces Setback in Lawsuit Alleging Medical Neglect

The former inmate, Perry Belden, had sought documents proving the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office (SBCSO) failed to implement jail health care changes it agreed to in settling an earlier lawsuit. But U.S. District Judge Kenly Kiya Kato ruled against Belden.

Judge Kato noted that the settlement for that suit, Turner v. San Bernardino, was agreed to in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties in 2015, well before Belden lost his hand and limbs in April 2018. However, the settlement itself was not officially approved by the parties and the court until June 2018 – killing Belden’s motions pursuant to it.

Belden was 27 when he was captured on March 27, 2018, by SBCSO deputies, 11 days after his mother called them to say he had assaulted her husband, Belden’s stepfather. Tracking Belden to a friend’s attic, deputies used pepper spray to flush him out. But the spray obscured Belden’s vision. He went ...

New Documentary Released on Forced Sterilizations of Female Prisoners

The “freedom-loving” U.S. has been practicing the forced sterilization of its least desirable citizens since the early twentieth century.

At least 30 states began officially and formally sanctioning this practice under the “1907 Indiana Eugenics Law.” It is conservatively estimated that over 60,000 American citizens suffered this procedure until it was supposedly abolished little by little, state by state, in the 1970s.

Even now, however, forced sterilization through tubal and bilateral tubal ligation for females and vasectomies for males continues in the U.S. The group of undesirables targeted for these procedures now are prisoners. The largest demographic subset ...

Texas: Prison Air Conditioning Needs Revisiting

There are, without a doubt, many tens of thousands of former and current Texas prisoners who would gladly room with the General in his preferred lodgings after spending one summer in a typical Texas prison.

Texas currently operates 102 prisons across a state covering more land than some European countries. It is smack in the geographic center of the traditionally hottest states in the country from California on the West coast to Georgia and the Carolinas in the East. Some of the commonalities these states share is a lack of air conditioning in their prisons, excessive summer heat and, from Texas to points east, those states are known as the Bible Belt.

One would think that a state with such a reference would practice forgiveness, love and compassion. Texas seems to be mired firmly in the Old Testament’s “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth,” strict retributive doctrine where ...

North Carolina Temporarily Closes Three Prisons for Lack of Guards; Final One Reopens During COVID-19 Pandemic

DPS and DACJJ administrators decided to close three of their minimum-security facilities, on a temporary basis, to allow them to operate their remaining prisons at a constitutionally acceptable level. Yet prisoner Scott Whitmeyer was stabbed to death on the evening of September 28, 2019. He was assigned to Whiteville’s Columbus Correctional Institution and was living in a dormitory within the medium-security prison.

Republican state Senator Bob Steinburg questioned the closing of the three prisons. One of them is in Steinburg’s district and another is not far away, which would no doubt cause an economic slowdown for his constituents. Steinburg issued a statement saying that “Secretary Moose and senior staff at the Division of Adult Corrections have agreed to appear before the Senate Select Committee of Prison Safety so that other Senators may ask questions.”

There were multiple delays. However, by August 2020 all three prisons had been reopened. On August 10, State Treasurer Dale Folwell stated ...