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Articles by John Dannenberg

$25.5 Million Awarded in California County Jail Strip Search Suit

by John E. Dannenberg

The County of San Bernardino, California has agreed to settle a federal class action lawsuit filed against its Sheriff’s Department in 2005 for $25.5 million – one of the largest such payouts on record.

On September 26, 2007 the County preliminarily agreed to pay for damages ...

33,000 California Prisoners May Need Credits Recalculated Due To Retroactive State Court Decisions

by John E. Dannenberg

Three recent California court decisions interpreting California’s sentencing laws have spawned a need for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to recalculate the release dates of an estimated 33,000 current prisoners. It is unknown how many of the 33,000 will actually gain earlier release ...

Summer of Discontent

by John E. Dannenberg

Underlying the purported societal goal of prisoner rehabilitation lurks the reality of what impedes it: systemic violence that defines the adversarial relationship between all men and women behind bars, prisoners and guards alike.

Driven by racial animus, drugs, anger, gang rivalry, perceived disrespect and lack of ...

North Carolina Execution Laws Trump Medical Board’s Ethics Declaration

North Carolina Execution Laws Trump Medical Board's Ethics Declaration

by John E. Dannenberg

In September 2007, the Wake County, North Carolina Superior Court ruled that because executions are not "medical procedures," a state law that requires a physician to attend executions was not trumped by another state statute that sets ...

Pennsylvania Lifers' Commutation-Law Ex Post Facto Suit Remanded to Determine Standing

by John D. Dannenberg

In 1997, an amalgam of Pennsylvania prisoners, taxpayers and public interest groups sued the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons (Board) and top state officials in U.S. District Court, challenging restrictive 1997 amendments to Pennsylvania's commutation statutes as violating the Ex Post Facto clause of the U.S. Constitution. ...

Overcrowded, Understaffed California DOC Pays $471 Million in Overtime

A combination of prison overcrowding and a 10.9% staff vacancy rate in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) resulted in $471 million in overtime being paid in fiscal year 2006-2007 ? a 17% increase over 2005-2006. More than 8,000 CDCR employees collected at least $25,000 each in overtime, ...

Drug-Resistant Staph Infection (MRSA) Deaths Nationwide Now Exceed Those From AIDS; Prison Connection Ignored

by John R. Dannenberg

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that nationwide, more deaths in the United States are now resulting from drug resistant invasive MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) skin infections than from AIDS. Overall, an estimated 90,000 invasive MRSA infections occur annually nationally ? a ...

Federal Healthcare Receiver Investigates Out-of-State Deaths of Transferred California Prisoners, but Does His Authority Follow Them?

by John E. Dannenberg

The federal court-appointed Receiver for California?s prison healthcare system is investigating the deaths of four prisoners who were transferred to out-of-state facilities, but stopped short of declaring the deaths suspicious or negligent. His concern is heightened because the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is ...

California DOC and Joint-Venture Contractor Owe Over $1.8 Million in Attorney Fees for Protracted Suit Granting Prison Workers Prevailing Wage

by John E. Dannenberg

The California Court of Appeal, 4th District, has upheld the San Diego Superior Court’s award of $1,257,258.60 in attorney fees incurred during drawn-out litigation against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and CMT Blues (CMT), the CDCR’s joint venture contractor employing prison labor. The ...

Cumulative Tightening of Michigan Lifers' Parole Eligibility Rules Held Ex Post Facto

by John R. Dannenberg

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, has held that a decade of cumulative changes to parole eligibility regulations for Michigan's life-sentenced prisoners violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on ex post facto laws.

While the ruling, on behalf of seven named ...