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Articles by Mark Wilson

Oregon Federal Court Issues Groundbreaking, Model COVID-19 Damage Class & Wrongful Death Class Certification

by Mark Wilson

On April 1, 2022, the federal court for the District of Oregon granted class-action certification to a suit brought by state prisoners accusing Gov. Kate Brown (D) and officials with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) of inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court created two ...

Washington Pays $3.25 Million for Negligent Medical Care Causing Preventable Prisoner Death

by Mark Wilson

On July 6, 2021, a Washington state court disbursed $3.25 million paid by state officials to settle a lawsuit filed by the estate of a prisoner who died of a treatable condition that went ignored for months by medical staff at Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), the state’s ...

Kansas Appeals Court Vacates Prison Dentist’s Conviction for Sexually Abusing Prisoner, Says Touching Wasn’t “Lewd”

by Mark Wilson

“Not all touching is lewd, even when committed with sexual intent,” the Kansas Court of Appeals declared on December 23, 2021, vacating a former prison dentist’s conviction for sexually abusing a female prisoner.

As previously reported by PLN, the former dentist, Dr. Tomas Co, worked for ...

Washington Pays $3 Million to Murdered Prisoner’s Family After Overriding Single-Cell Recommendation for Violent Cellmate

by Mark Wilson

On November 19, 2021, the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) agreed to pay $3 million to a murdered prisoner’s family for overriding recommendations to house his violent cellmate in a cell by himself. Together with another $3.25 million settlement in July 2021 [See: PLN, June 2022, ...

Third Circuit Joins Fifth, Tenth and D.C. Circuits in Holding Heck Favorable-Termination Dismissals Are PLRA Strikes

by Mark Wilson

On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit handed a New Jersey prisoner a legal defeat. But in the process, it joined the Fifth, Tenth, and D.C. Circuits in holding that a dismissal for failure to meet the “favorable-termination” requirement laid out ...

ICE Settles Florida Detention Facility COVID-19 Class Action, All Detainees Offered Vaccination

by Mark Wilson

On December 22, 2021, a Florida federal court approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit challenging conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic in three U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities in Florida. Under the terms of the agreement, vaccinations will be offered to all detainees at ...

$1 Million Default Judgement for Michigan Jail Prisoner Against Health Care Provider in Sexual Assault

But She Probably Won’t Collect It From the Defunct Provider

by Mark Wilson

On April 1, 2021, a Michigan federal court entered a $1 million default judgement for a woman who was impregnated by another patient while she was detained in a mental healthcare facility.

Felicia Quizel Morgan was a ...

Four Female Prisoners Seek Damages Over Abuses at Oregon Prison Called A “Cesspool” of Staff Sexual Abuse, Latest in Abuse Saga

by Mark Wilson

In a report on pervasive sexual abuse of prisoners at Oregon’s only women’s prison in 2017, Prison Legal News reached another five years back in history to quote Brian Lathan, an attorney for some of the women who warned in 2012, “It now really is an epidemic.” ...

Wrongfully Convicted Man Freed for Murder of Oregon DOC Director, But State Wants Him Back In Prison

by Mark Wilson

"The State can no longer afford to manufacture a case built on lies and half-truths,” wrote Patrick and Kevin Francke in their letter to a federal judge in support of the man wrongfully convicted of killing their brother.

After serving 28 years in prison, Frank E. Gable, then 59 years old, walked out of prison on June 27, 2019. He was a free man but he had a cloud hanging over his head that remains there still. The state of Oregon had filed an appeal to the court order that released him, which remains pending.

On April 18, 2019, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta released the stunning decision that Gable was “probably” innocent of murder. In a 94-page opinion, he ordered the state to retry or free Gable within 90 days.

Gable was convicted for the 1989 murder of Michael Francke, Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC).

Francke’s brothers wrote in their letter to the judge that the state should “abandon this fruitless endeavor” of trying Gable again. They hoped officials would “concede that they convicted an innocent man.” The sooner they do so, “the better and justice will be served!”

The ...

Oregon Suspends Outside Prisoner Work Crews After Prisoner Escape Sparks International Incident

by Mark Wilson

On September 22, 2021 Oregon prison officials suspended outside prisoner work crews “in order to review any potential changes following a walk away earlier this year” according to an internal memo sent by Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Director Colette Peters and Deputy Director Heidi Steward.

The pause comes in the wake of a high-profile international incident. Fourteen-time felon, Jedaiah Lunn, 36, was incarcerated at the South Fork Forest Camp, a 200-bed minimum-security prison on the Oregon coast operated by ODOC and the Oregon Department of Forestry. While on a work crew at the Gales Creek Campground on April 14, 2021, Lunn walked away, accosted two women who are Japanese nationals, brutally beating them with a large stick, and severely injuring both of them. He then stole their car. Later that day he was caught and arrested. Lunn faces multiple charges, including attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and escape. 

The incident prompted angry Japanese government officials to write Oregon Governor Kate Brown demanding answers. After taking several months to respond, Brown initially stood by the program. The Forest Camp has “largely been successful” Brown wrote to a Japanese diplomat.

Of course, the program’s success was little ...