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Articles by Edward Lyon

Death Sentences and Executions Ebbing in the “Capital of Capital Punishment”

by Ed Lyon

Harris County, Texas is known for many things. The county seat is Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States and the largest in Texas. It has its own shipping channel and a modern port for ocean-going vessels. It is also known as “the death penalty capital ...

Voting rights: Tennessee Man Convicted of Murder No Longer Infamous

by Ed Lyon

Tennessee places a great deal of reverence on voting rights. The state’s citizens do not automatically lose their voting rights upon conviction of a felony unless that crime is among those on a list qualifying the convictee "infamous" or ineligible to vote.

Randy L. May was convicted ...

Pro se Texas Prisoner Wins $250,550 Default Judgment in Use of Force Case

by Ed Lyon

William Gerald Fitzgerald was a pre-trial detainee at a jail in Harris County, Texas when, on May 18, 2013, he was attacked from behind by jailer Myron Nelson. Nelson struck Fitzgerald in the right eye hard enough to dislodge the lens, tearing both the iris and cornea, ...

Iowa Prison Guard Wins $2 Million on Retaliation, Disability Accommodation Claims

by Ed Lyon

Kristine Sink began working as a guard at the old Iowa State Penitentiary in 2003. She was initially assigned to a Clinical Care Unit that housed mentally ill prisoners, sex offenders and prisoners with behavioral problems.

Sink noticed that offenders in the Clinical Care Unit often watched ...

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirms dismissal of Nebraska prisoner’s jail rape claim

Rhonda L. Marsh, who was a prisoner in Nebraska’s Phelps County jail from June 22 to 27, 2012, alleged that during that time then-jailer Corporal Louis Campana raped her.

She sued Campana in his official and individual capacities, along with Phelps County, the sheriff and a supervising lieutenant.

After discovery, ...

$380,000 settlement in Cook County Jail abuse case

by Ed Lyon

A 26-year-old law student and former medical student was held in Chicago’s Cook County Jail for 27 days. She was arrested for the non-violent misdemeanor offense and was being held for extradition to another state for a non-violent misdemeanor offense.

“Jane Doe,” despite her minimum-security classification, was ...

Family of Deceased Colorado Prisoner Accepts Settlement for $5.3 Million, New Policies

by Ed Lyon

On November 7, 2015, Michael Marshall, who was mentally ill, was arrested for trespassing and disturbing the peace at a motel in Denver, Colorado. Upon being booked into jail with a $100 bond, he was video recorded pacing in a walkway after refusing to remain seated. He ...

South Dakota Prisoner Fights Porn Ban in Federal Court

by Edward B. Lyon, Jr.

Charles E. Sisney, serving a life sentence since 1997, has been active in the courts on prison-related issues for years. His latest target is the 2014 version of the South Dakota Department of Corrections’ (SDDOC) pornography policy, which prohibits state prisoners from purchasing, possessing or ...

Minnesota Prisoner Wins Reprieve from Jail Debt in Federal Court

by Ed Lyon

Erik Daniel Christianson spent time in the Martin County jail in Minnesota on four occasions between 2013 and 2014. Under state “pay for stay” laws, prisoners are required to pay $25 for each day spent in jail. Accordingly, Christianson accrued a total of $7,625 in jail debt. ...

Virginia Prisoner Defeats Summary Judgment, Settles Religious Diet Case

by Ed Lyon

Aaron Carter is a Virginia state prisoner; he is also a member of the Nation of Islam. Due to his religion’s dietary restrictions, he was enrolled in the prison system’s Common Fare program (CFP), which serves both halal and kosher meals.

On October 1, 2015, the CFP ...