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Articles by Edward Lyon

Civilly Dead Prisoner Unable to Sue in Rhode Island

by Ed Lyon

Rhode Island’s “civil death” statute (GL 1956 § 13-6-1) provides that a person serving a life sentence in that state is “civilly dead” and therefore legally unable to avail him or herself of relief in a state civil court after their sentence is affirmed.

On November 14, ...

Preliminary Injunction Sought Over Contaminated Drinking Water at Connecticut Prison

by Ed Lyon

Stamford, Connecticut attorneys David P. Friedman and Lorey Rives Leddy are representing prisoners at the Osborn Correctional Institution (OCI) over environmental hazards at that facility.

Not only are the prisoners routinely exposed to toxic and cancer-causing materials like PCBs and asbestos, they also have been drinking water ...

California Family Mourns Son Who Committed Suicide in Jail, Receives $1.65 Million Settlement

by Ed Lyon

At least three major federal lawsuits involving the jail in Monterey County, California had been filed prior to Erick DeAnda’s death at the facility on September 16, 2015, in an isolation cell in a unit designated for mentally ill prisoners.

DeAnda was 24 years old when he ...

Oklahoma Breaks Pattern of Protracted, Expensive Prison Conditions Litigation

by Ed Lyon

For the last 50 to 60 years, improvements in prison conditions have typically only come about through lengthy, adversarial litigation. During and after losing such lawsuits, state prison systems often delay, fail to adhere to consent decrees and are sometimes cited for contempt until, finally, they grudgingly ...

Deaths at Georgia Jail Spur Investigations, Lawsuit

by Ed Lyon

Shali Tilson, 22, had struggled with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia since he was eight years old. His conditions were managed by medication, though due to their adverse side effects he stopped taking them during high school. He appeared to be successfully coping through a combination of diet ...

Fifth Circuit Reverses Denial of Qualified Immunity to Prison Officials

by Ed Lyon 

On September 9, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Louisiana district court’s denial of qualified immunity to three of four defendants in a prisoner’s civil rights suit.

State prisoner Clarence Jason was on the recreation yard when another prisoner he had argued with ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Seizure of Funds from Federal Prisoner for Restitution

by Ed Lyon

In a case decided on August 28, 2019, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s order allowing the federal Bureau of Prisons to seize $6,671.81 from prisoner Lonnie Eugene Lillard’s institutional trust account. The U.S. Attorney had initiated the seizure process pursuant ...

Ohio Mother Loses Children and Job Due to False Arrest

by Ed Lyon

On April 11, 2019, Ohio police executed an arrest warrant for heroin trafficking in a Target parking lot in Hamilton County. Their target was Ashley Foster, who was in the lot not with a load of heroin but with her two sons – one of whom was ...

Colorado Prisoner Dies as Nurse Watches Videotape; $2.45 Million Settlement

by Ed Lyon

In September 2019, the final signature of an Arapahoe County, Colorado official was affixed to a $2.45 million settlement agreement in a civil rights lawsuit over the death of prisoner Jeffrey Scott Lillis. Lillis was 37 years old when he was booked into the Arapahoe County Detention ...

Illinois Prisoner Wins Partial Victory on Appeal in Hernia Treatment Suit

by Ed Lyon

On July 26, 2019, a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part a district court’s judgment as a matter of law against Illinois prisoner Gregory Wilson, who had filed suit against for-profit medical care provider Wexford Health Sources.

Wilson ...