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Articles by Kevin Bliss

Report on Capital Punishment in Pennsylvania Released; Moratorium Continues

by Kevin W. Bliss

In June 2018, a death penalty task force commissioned by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly in 2012 finally released its report. Finding that neither judicial economy nor fairness is served – because 97 percent of all capital cases are converted to lesser sentences after post-conviction judicial review – ...

Multiple Charges, Lawsuits Filed Against Lackawanna Prison Staff for Sexual Abuse

by Kevin Bliss

Employees at the Lackawanna County Prison (LCP) in Scranton, Pennsylvania have been under a year-long investigation into the sexual abuse of women prisoners at the facility. The culture of abuse, said to have continued for over a decade, is so pervasive that those accused include the highest-ranking ...

Seventh Circuit Reversal: Guards Immune from Prosecution in Wrongful Death Claim

Daniel Martin was booked into the Clay County, Indiana, jail on December 13, 2013, for drunk diving. His intake was performed by officers Landon Herbert and Zachary Overton. The two logged a 0.16 percent blood-alcohol content on Martin, and stated that he was coherent and without great impairment of coordination. ...

Mississippi: Former Jailer Acquitted of Criminal Charges in Prisoner’s Death

by Kevin Bliss

Victor Smith was found not guilty of aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, stemming from an incident when he was employed as a jailer with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) in Mississippi. He is also being sued by the family of Joseph “Joey” Sturdivant ...

California Prisoners Seek to Enforce Settlement Provisions in Ashker Litigation

by Kevin Bliss

On March 29, 2018, a federal magistrate judge in California held that prisoners in a class-action lawsuit over long-term solitary confinement, who entered into a settlement agreement with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), had not proven a material breach of the agreement. That decision ...

The Secret World of Missouri DOC Internal Death Investigations

by Kevin Bliss

The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) has been accused of not being transparent or competent when it comes to conducting investigations into deaths that occur in state prisons. The DOC is responsible for the care and treatment of numerous dangerous and mentally ill prisoners, yet death reviews ...

Humanism to be Recognized as Approved Faith in North Carolina Prisons

by Kevin Bliss

On March 28, 2018, a federal district court entered a summary judgment order that held Humanism was in fact a faith group that must be recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS).

Kwame Jamal Teague, incarcerated at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution, continually asked prison ...

Lawsuit Over Prisoner Assault at Tennessee Jail Results in Settlement, Dismissal

by Kevin Bliss

A civil rights complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of a pretrial detainee who was severely beaten by his cellmate at the Rutherford County jail, was dismissed in May 2018 following a settlement by the county defendants.

Robert ...

$35,500 affirmed by Sixth Circuit in Michigan guard retaliation, free speech case

by Kevin Bliss

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the jury finding against Lewis Condon, Joseph Downard, and Gary McMurtrie, guards at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, was proper and that the three violated Randle Griffin’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights by retaliating against him for ...

Former district attorney in Maine sued for misconduct

by Kevin Bliss

Former Assistant District Attorney Mary Kellett was sued by Vladek Filler for allegedly withholding and editing exculpatory evidence and advising police not to comply with subpoenas in relation to a 2009 conviction of a sexual assault against Filler, which had been overturned.

Ligia Filler, Vladek’s wife, was ...