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Articles by Mark Wilson

Ninth Circuit Holds Prosecutors Immune for Parole Recommendations

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that prosecutors are absolutely immune for making parole recom-mendations.

Liza Brown shot her husband to death and entered into an oral plea agreement. “During the plea colloquy, the prosecutor stated that, if Brown avoided disciplinary problems while in prison, she would be ...

Prisoner Loses Excessive Force Case in 10 Minutes; Judge Deems Suit Frivolous, Orders $3,000 Paid to Defendants

Christopher Bookhart had a fool for a client when he represented himself in an excessive force suit he filed against a guard at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) in Portland, Oregon.

Bookhart, 45, had sued MCDC guard Steven Meyer, alleging that Meyer had punched him in the chest without ...

1979 Jail Consent Decree Largely Gutted by PLRA; Reversed on Appeal

On October 7, 2008, a federal court in New York terminated large portions of a sweeping 1979 consent decree related to conditions at 14 New York City jails. However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision in November 2009, with instructions to afford the plaintiffs an opportunity to ...

Oregon Private Jail Guard is “Corrections Officer”; Prisoner’s Assault Conviction Upheld

The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed a prisoner’s conviction for assaulting a guard at a private jail, finding that the guard was a “corrections officer” under state law. Oregon’s Supreme Court upheld the decision on review.

Jeremy Tate was confined at the Northern Oregon Correctional Facility (NORCOR), a private regional ...

NY DOCS Lacks Authority to Administratively Impose PRS – But State’s Liability Uncertain

New York prison officials lack the authority to require prisoners to serve Post-Release Supervision (PRS) that was not ordered by the sentencing court, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

In February 2000, Sean Earley pleaded guilty to burglary ...

Massachusetts GPS Program Upheld by State Supreme Court

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court vacated a lower court order which found that a sheriff had violated state law when he released sentenced prisoners on a GPS-monitoring program.

On March 8, 2007, Edward Donohue was convicted of his third drunk driving offense. Twelve days later, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Diane ...

Assessment of Prison Account Without Seizure of Funds Implicates Due Process in Third Circuit

In an important case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that an assessment of a prisoner’s trust account without an actual seizure of funds implicates a property interest. On remand, however, the district court decided that the violation of that right resulted in ...

Defendants Denied Qualified Immunity in Tennessee Jail Detainee’s Death

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a lower court improperly deferred a qualified immunity determination to the jury. The appellate court decided that jail guards, a jail physician and a paramedic were not entitled to qualified immunity in a Tennessee prisoner’s death, though qualified immunity was granted ...

Eighth Circuit Rejects Debt Offset of EAJA Fees; Supreme Court to Hear Case

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that attorney’s fees awarded under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) may not be withheld to pay debts owed to the federal government.

South Dakota attorney Catherine G. Ratliff successfully represented two claimants in their efforts to obtain Social Security benefits. ...

Oklahoma Lawmen Charged with Sundry Crimes

In separate incidents, five Oklahoma prison and jail guards have been charged with crimes ranging from contraband smuggling and assault to murder.

Former Sequoyah County jail guard Jarrod Anthony Yates pleaded guilty on October 2, 2008 to violating the civil rights of an unnamed detainee by punching, kneeing and stomping ...