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Articles by Michael Rigby

Philadelphia Settles Negligent Supervision Suit for $3.5 Million

On November 19, 2004, the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, agreed to pay
$3.5 million to a former prisoner who suffered permanent brain damage as a
result of his failed suicide attempt in a city jail.

In 1999 Christopher Foster, 22, was arrested and imprisoned on an
unspecified charge. During intake ...

Maryland Man Awarded $6.4 Million For False Imprisonment, Police Misconduct

On August 30, 2006, a jury in Prince George?s County, Maryland, awarded $6.4 million to a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for the brutal rape and murder of his wife. During trial the jury heard compelling evidence indicating that County Police Department detectives lied about the suspect?s supposed confession, denied ...

Maricopa County, Arizona, Abandons Restraint Chairs Following Deaths, Multimillion Dollar Payouts

After three prisoner fatalities and two wrongful death payouts totaling $17.25 million, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, has finally discontinued the use of restraint chairs in county jails.

On August 21, 2006, Arpaio told The Arizona Republic that the jail?s restraint chairs have been replaced by restraint beds. ...

Georgia County Pays $5.1 Million for Community Service Turned Deadly

On August 21, 2006, a Georgia state court awarded $5.1 Million to the family of a college student who was killed when he fell from a DeKalb County garbage truck while performing community service.

Vince Currid, 22, had been sentenced to 40 hours of unpaid slave labor, euphemistically referred to ...

Many U.S. Prisoners Mentally Ill, Few Receive Treatment

Nearly half of the nation?s 2.3 million prisoners suffer from some sort of mental disorder, according to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released in September 2006. Yet fewer than a third of those receive any treatment.

The numbers are disturbing. Overall, the report reveals that 64% ...

Wyoming Federal Court Awards Attorney $18,000 for Compliance Monitoring

On March 9, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming awarded $16,200.50 in enhanced fees plus $2,105.28 in costs to an attorney for time spent monitoring compliance with remedial measures at the Carbon County (Wyoming) Jail.

In August 2003 Carbon County officials sought to terminate a 1987 ...

Still More Murder and Mayhem in Maryland

"Lock them up and throw away the key." Like the rest of the nation, this overriding penal philosophy in Maryland has led to a criminal justice system that is defunct at every level. The state's adult prisons are "in crisis." Its juvenile facilities are "beyond dysfunctional." And its jails - ...

Seizure of Washington Prisoners’ Cash at Jail Booking Unconstitutional

Seizure of Washington Prisoners' Cash at Jail Booking Unconstitutional

by Michael Rigby

On August 29, 2006, a, federal district court in Washington held that a state law allowing jails to confiscate money from prisoners during booking without notice or a hearing was unconstitutional.

In May 2003 the Washington legislature amended ...

Family of Texas Prisoner Murdered in Geo-Operated Prison Awarded $47.5 Million

On September 15, 2006, a jury in Willacy County, Texas awarded $47.5 million to the family of a prisoner who was murdered at a private prison operated by the Geo Group (formerly Wackenhut Corrections). The Florida-based company was spun off from Wackenhut's parent corporation in 2003 [see PLN, June 2004, ...

Illinois Jail’s Strip Search Policy Unconstitutional

Illinois Jail's Strip Search Policy Unconstitutional

by Michael Rigby

On December 16, 2005, a federal district judge ruled that the Will County, Illinois jail routinely violated prisoners' Fourth Amendment rights by subjecting them to a blanket strip search policy, paving the way for a potential multi-million dollar damage award.

In ...