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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Condemned Texas Prisoner Ruled Too Mentally Ill to Execute

by Matt Clarke.

Condemned Texas prisoner Scott Louis Panetti, 65, was taken off the state’s death row on September 27, 2023, when the federal court for the Western District of Texas found him too insane to kill—or as the Court said, because he “lacks a rational understanding of the connection ...

Oklahoma Jail Withholds Death Records, Fails to Report Five Since 2018

by Matt Clarke

Since 2018, at least seven vulnerable detainees have died at the 366-­bed Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center, 30 miles east of Oklahoma City. Yet despite state law requiring deaths be reported within five days to the Oklahoma Health Department’s jail division, the jail failed to report five ...

South Carolina Sheriff Ordered to Pay $37,500 in Fees and Costs in Jail FOIA Case

by Matt Clarke

On August 1, 2023, a South Carolina court awarded the parent company of a local newspaper $37,500 in attorney fees and costs in a successful action to enforce the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), S.C. Code. § 30-4-30, against Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano. The action successfully ...

New York Prisoners with Chronic Pain Win Injunction to Receive Denied Medication

by Matt Clarke

On November 22, 2023, the federal court for Southern District of New York granted a permanent injunction to a class of prisoners held by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) who sued for relief from chronic pain they suffer. It replaced a preliminary injunction ...

New Jersey Supreme Court Revives Parolee’s Challenge to Administratively Imposed Treatment Program

by Matt Clarke

On August 3, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a state prisoner’s parole could not be conditioned on his enrollment in a residential treatment program (RTP) when he is eligible for automatic release under the Earn Your Way Out (EYWO) Act, N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.55b to ...

Eighth Circuit Affirms $800,000 Award After Arkansas Jail Detainee’s Fatal Appendix Rupture

by Matthew Clarke

On August 24, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed an $800,000 jury award against a contract doctor at an Arkansas jail, in a suit brought on behalf of a detainee who died of sepsis after her appendix ruptured while incarcerated.

Linda S. ...

Seventh Circuit Reinstates Wisconsin Prisoner’s ADA Claim for Untreated Knee Injury

Matt Clarke

On August 25, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reinstated a Wisconsin prisoner’s claim that officials with the state Department of Corrections (DOC) violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ch. 126 § 12101, et seq., by refusing to make ...

Ohio Prisoner Wins $2,000 Settlement for Guard Abuse Claims, Loses Appeal to Uncover Identity of Prison Officials Who Negotiated It

Matt Clarke

On July 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that a state prisoner who previously settled his excessive force claim against the state Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (DRC) for $2,000 had no clear right to the names of DRC personnel involved in settlement negotiations.

In 2016, ...

Tenth Circuit: No Qualified Immunity for Oklahoma Jail Guard Who Kneed Handcuffed Prisoner’s Face

by Matt Clarke

On July 11, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed denial of qualified immunity (QI) to an Oklahoma jail guard because a reasonable jury could find that kneeing a handcuffed pretrial detainee’s face “sufficed to show a legal violation.”

Jesse Wise had been ...

DOJ Concludes BOP Pretrial Detainees Need Improvements in Access to Attorneys

by Matt Clarke

On July 23, 2023, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published a report and recommendations concerning access to attorneys for pretrial detainees in federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities.

The report focused on detainees’ confidential communications with their attorneys, their ability to review discovery documents provided electronically ...