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Articles by Mark Wilson

Looking Deep Inside America’s Legalized Torture Chambers

by Mark Wilson

There are many ways to destroy a person, but one of the simplest and most devastating is through prolonged solitary confinement. Deprived of meaningful human interaction, otherwise healthy prisoners become unhinged. … Not only psychological or social identity but the most basic sense of identity is threatened ...

Third Circuit Holds Consent of All Parties to Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction Required Before Judgment Against Pennsylvania Prisoners

by Mark Wilson

On February 10, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of two Pennsylvania prisoners’ federal civil rights claims because not all parties had consented to a magistrate judge’s jurisdiction.

In its precedential opinion, the Court said that the Federal ...

SCOTUS Lets “State Secrets” Privilege Bar CIA Contractor Testimony About Torture Already Publicly Known

by Mark Wilson

Saying that “sometimes information that has entered the public domain may nonetheless fall within the scope of the state secrets privilege,” the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers on March 3, 2022, blocking CIA contractors from testifying about brutal torture that a terror ...

Idaho Provides Nation’s Second Gender Confirmation Surgery for Transgender Prisoner

by Mark Wilson

“I feel whole and connected in myself.”

That’s what transgender Idaho prisoner Adree Edmo had to say after receiving gender confirmation surgery (GCS) in July 2020, just under a year after a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit cleared the way. Edmo, ...

After Summary Judgment Denied, California Jail Officials Pay $55,000 for Breaking Detainee’s Arm

by Mark Wilson

On July 27, 2021, just 25 days after a federal court in California denied summary judgment to San Mateo County Jail guards on a detainee’s excessive force claims, county officials quickly paid him $55,000 for breaking his arm.

When the detainee, Oscar Tapia-Carmona, was booked into the ...

SCOTUS Reinstates Boston Marathon Bomber’s Death Sentence

by Mark Wilson

In a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Clarence Thomas on March 4, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, reversing a lower appellate court to conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding a juror-screening ...

Ninth Circuit Strikes Nevada Ban on Muslim Prisoner’s Scented Prayer Oil, Allows Conditions-of-Confinement Claim Also to Proceed

by Mark Wilson

On January 26, 2022, a Muslim Nevada prisoner notched his second victory in as many months against state prison officials at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld a lower court’s decision ordering officials with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to allow ...

$1.4 Million Paid by King County, Washington to Settle Juvenile Solitary Confinement Class Action

by Mark Wilson

On January 18, 2022, the federal court for the Western District of Washington approved a class-action settlement awarding 76 juvenile offenders a total of $1,357,665, or $500 a day for their solitary confinement at two adult jails in King County. The court also approved a $50,000 award ...

Florida and California Experiments Use Direct Cash Assistance to Newly Released Prisoners to Combat Recidivism

by Mark Wilson

“Guaranteed income is a wayto recognize everyone’s inherent dignity,” declared an op-ed in Florida’s Gainesville Sun on November 5, 2021.

Penned by Mayor Lauren Poe (D) and Kevin Scott, a fellow at local anti-poverty non-profit Community Spring, the op-ed announced a pilot program that pays “justice-impacted” people ...

Ninth Circuit Won’t Spring Oregon Sex Offender Trapped in Self-Incrimination Box

by Mark Wilson

On September 8, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declined to offer any relief to an Oregon sex offender who challenged his removal from parole-required sex offender treatment—which led to jail sanctions—for refusing to admit to his crime even though he was then ...