Skip navigation

Articles by Mark Wilson

As Prison COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Rise, Washington State Supreme Court Looks Away

That was a claim by a Majority of the en banc Washington state Supreme Court on July 23, 2020, in a 5-4 decision ...

Two-Thirds of Nevada Prisoners Confined in Arizona Private Prison Test Positive for COVID-19

That’s what the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Nevada said in a July 2020 statement criticizing the “outrageous and disturbing” infection of 69.7 percent of Nevada prisoners confined within an Arizona prison operated by Tennessee-based CoreCivic, one of the largest private prison firms in the country.

The novel coronavirus that causes the disease ravaged Arizona like a wildfire in the summer of 2020, with one in five Arizonans testing positive. On a single day, July 18, 2020, the state reported 147 new deaths to COVID-19, versus just nine deaths in Nevada the same day. Arizona has no statewide mask mandate like Nevada’s to combat the pandemic.

Thanks, in part, to a comprehensive testing initiative, just 18 (less than 0.15%) of Nevada’s 12,000-plus state prisoners, as well as 54 guards, had tested positive for COVID-19 by July 2020. But a group of 99 prisoners that the Nevada Department of Corrections (NOOC) sent to CoreCivic’s 1,926-bed Saguaro Correctional Center, in Eloy, Arizona, was not so lucky.

As of July 16, 2020, four CoreCivic staff members and 69 ...

Idaho Arrestees Act Voluntarily When Declining Opportunity to Surrender Contraband Before Entering Jail

by Mark Wilson

On July 15, 2020, the Idaho Supreme Court held that an arrestee acts voluntarily when given an opportunity to surrender contraband before entering jail but chooses to continue possessing it.

On January 20, 2018, Idaho Falls Police arrested Nicole Lyn Gneiting on drug charges. Police felt a ...

Seventh Circuit: Wisconsin Jail Officials’ Response to Detainee’s Suicide Risk Objectively Reasonable

by Mark Wilson

On July 15, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a lower court’s conclusion that a detainee’s attempted suicide was not caused by objective unreasonableness of jail staff.

Wisconsin police arrested Zachary Pulera during the early morning of April 21, 2012. He ...

Dismissal Not Authorized for Oregon Victim’s Refusal to Comply With Subpoena

by Mark Wilson

The Oregon Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a criminal proceeding when the victim refused to comply with a subpoena to appear for trial.

Alex David Murray Lorenzo was charged with attempted third-degree assault, constituting domestic violence, for attempting to physically injure his stepfather. ...

Seventh Circuit Rejects Retaliation Claim Based on Suspicious Timing Alone

by Mark Wilson

On July 20, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment on a prisoner’s retaliation claim. The court found that suspicious timing alone is insufficient evidence of retaliatory motive.

Illinois prisoner Elijah Manuel’s disabled cellmate became hostile ...

Theft, Lies and Bribes Force California Warden’s Early Retirement, $11,500 Monthly Pension

Joe Lizarraga began working for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in 1986. He was appointed warden of the Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) in 2013, where he was named Warden of the Year by the California Prison Industries Authority in 2017.

Lizarraga reportedly stole from the Interfaith Food Bank Thrift Store in Sutter Creek, California on September 14, 2018. Despite earning an estimated $150,000, annually, he allegedly removed price tags from merchandise, then suggested lower prices to the cashier.

When Sutter Creek police investigated the matter, Lizarraga allegedly lied to the police chief, claiming that he did not suggest prices to the clerk. He also told the chief that he purchased the equipment for his family when it was allegedly for personal financial gain.

Lizarraga wrote a $125 personal money order in an attempt to dissuade a witness from participating in a criminal prosecution and later made a second bribery attempt using prison charitable funds, according to investigative reports.

On January 25, 2019, FBI agents raided Lizarraga’s Mule Creek office, seized his computer and escorted him off the ...

San Francisco Eliminates Fees on Jail Phone Calls

Maine DOC, Medical Provider, Pay $250,000 Settlement Due to Excessive Force on 11-Year-Old

Tioga County, New York Police Informant Paid $50,000 to Settle False Arrest Claims

In March 2014, Russell D. Towner was a ...