Skip navigation

Articles by Mark Wilson

Oregon Governor Commutes All Death Sentences

by Mark Wilson

“I have long believed that justice is not advanced by taking a life, and the state should not be in the business of executing people – even if a terrible crime placed them in prison,” said outgoing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) on December 14, 2022, in commuting the 17 remaining Oregon death sentences to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP).

During the last 60 years, Oregon has executed only two prisoners. Both of them waived their appeals and asked to be executed in 1997, and the State obliged. Oregon Governors have imposed a moratorium on capital punishment since 2011. During her first press conference after becoming governor in 2015, Brown announced that she was continuing the moratorium during her administration.

The Oregon Legislature enacted Senate Bill (SB) 1013, effective September 29, 2019, redefining Oregon law to prohibit the death penalty in all but three cases: the murder of a child under 14 years of age; the murder of a law enforcement official; and a prison murder committed by someone who has previously been convicted of murder. Most of those on Oregon’s death row could not have been sentenced to death under the new definition. ...

Nebraska Pays $479,000 for Restrictive Housing Prisoner’s Murder While Double-Celled

by Mark Wilson

On May 10, 2022, the federal court for the District of Nebraska granted dismissal to the estate of a prisoner murdered by his cellmate, while the two were double-bunked despite being classified for restrictive housing. Under the settlement negotiated in exchange, Nebraska prison officials agreed to pay ...

$2.4 Million Judgment Against Michigan Jail Doctor Convicted of Sexually Abusing Three Prisoners

by Mark Wilson

On July 8, 2022, the federal court forthe Eastern District of Michigan awarded $2.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages to three prisoners sexually abused in 2018 by a former physician at the county jail where they were held. Two years later, prosecutors secured a sexual abuse ...

$4.25 Million Paid by King County for Two Jail Beatings By Improperly Housed Mentally Ill Detainees

by Mark Wilson

On March 29, 2022, the federal courtfor the Western District of Washington approved a $3 million settlement between King County and a mentally ill man who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) when savagely beaten by a cellmate that jail officials allegedly knew was dangerous and psychotic, ...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Order Vacating Conviction in Oregon Prison Director’s 1989 Murder; SCOTUS Declines Review

by Mark Wilson

On September 29, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision to toss the murder conviction of Frank Gable, now 62, in the 1989 killing of Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) Director Michael Francke outside his office. Although the claims ...

Montana Pays $2,500 to Settle Prisoner’s Failure-to-Protect Claim

by Mark Wilson

On March 9, 2022, Montana prison officials paid $2,500 to settle a federal suit alleging that they failed to protect a state prisoner from a known threat of brutal beating by other prisoners.

Andrew Yellowbear, Jr., is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe. He is ...

Alaska Supreme Court Says Parole Challenge Must Be Sought via Post-Conviction Relief, Not Lawsuit

by Mark Wilson

On October 28, 2022, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a prisoner is required to challenge a discretionary parole decision in a post-conviction relief (PCR) action, rather than a civil suit. Though a loss for Donald McDonald, the case is instructive – and not just in proper ...

“I Was Scheduled to Die in Solitary Confinement” – and May Soon Be Again

by Mark Wilson

Locked in solitary confinement for decades, mentally ill Illinois prisoner Anthony Gay engaged in severe and shocking self-mutilation. Stabbing a razor blade into his eye. Eating his own flesh. Cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door. He also packed a fan ...

Hospitalized California IST Defendants Entitled to Jail Conduct Credits

by Mark Wilson

On April 29, 2022, the California Court of Appeals held that incompetent to stand trial (IST) defendants who are confined in a state hospital receiving treatment to restore competency must be granted the same opportunity for presentence conduct credit as defendants who remain in the jail receiving ...

Oregon Supreme Court Holds Corizon Health and Other Jail Contractors Liable Under State Disability Rights Laws

by Mark Wilson

On June 3, 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that private companies providing services in jails and prisons are liable under state disability rights laws — even though jails and prisons themselves are not liable.

In October 2015, Andrew Abraham was arrested and confined in Clackamas County ...