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Articles by Mark Wilson

ICE Ignores Inspector General’s Call for Immediate Removal of Migrant Detainees from CoreCivic New Mexico Detention Facility

by Mark Wilson

Months after a government watchdog found wretched conditions at a privately operated New Mexico prison and called on federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to remove its migrant detainees, they remained there, holding a hunger strike in protest in September 2022.

Both ICE officials and the prison’s ...

COVID-19 Injunction Lapses in Oregon, Another Fails in Massachusetts

by Mark Wilson

On June 21, 2022, a preliminary injunction granted by the federal court for the District of Oregon expired, ending its mandate that state prison employees comply with the COVID-19 masking policy of the state Department of Corrections (DOC).

Aaron Hanna, a prisoner at Two Rivers Correctional Institution ...

Fourth Circuit: Prison Officials Not Liable for Poor Conditions Unless Prisoner Also Alleges They Knew About Them And Did Nothing

By Mark Wilson

Prisoners making court challenges to their conditions of confinement must walk a legal tightrope to avoid pitfalls fatal to their claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit schooled a North Carolina prisoner in this on January 20, 2022, when it dismissed claims he was ...

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 ...

Ninth Circuit Vacates California’s COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Prison Employees

by Mark Wilson

On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit vacated a lower court’s order that California prison officials implement a mandatory COVID-19 employee vaccination policy. The Court concluded that prison officials were not deliberately indifferent in not requiring all employees to get vaccinated, ...

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 ...