It is a clear violation of the Ohio Revised Code and the Code of Ethics for a Judge to represent a criminal defendant in any capacity. The Ohio Revised Code holds: “A person that is a candidate for public office, or nominated, or has filed a petition or petitions SHALL not (A)Authorize, or employ the…

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Following a 2011 federal appellate court ruling, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initially tried to delay the release of federal prisoners who were wrongly convicted in North Carolina. The government later announced that it would halt such tactics, but has continued to oppose challenges filed by some offenders who are legally innocent. The DOJ’s…

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By David M. Reutter The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held in September 2013 that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) does not create a private right of action against state officials in their individual capacities. Anthony Washington, incarcerated at New York’s Woodbourne Correctional Facility, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983…

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By Prison Legal News The Oklahoma Supreme Court has held that jail officials are not immune from liability for excessive force claims under the Oklahoma Governmental Tort Claims Act (OGTCA). On May 17, 2011, Daniel Bosh was detained at the Cherokee County Detention Center for failure to pay a traffic ticket. Video surveillance showed him…

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By Prison Legal News

In the wake of a Tennessee federal district court hearing in a lawsuit challenging conditions at the Maury County Jail (MCJ), the number of suits filed by prisoners against the jail has nearly doubled.

At a September 2012 hearing, prisoners held at the MCJ testified they were losing weight and that the facility was overcrowded and infested with brown recluse spiders. They also claimed their requests for medical attention were often ignored.

At least 23 lawsuits concerning conditions at the MCJ have been filed. County Attorney Daniel Murphy, however, told the federal court at an October 29, 2012 hearing that the jail had made changes in response to prisoners’ complaints; for example, meals were increased from 2,700 calories daily to 2,900. He also said new meal trays were provided, hygiene supplies such as toothpaste and shampoo have been increased, and old mattresses, which were worn and moldy, are being replaced.

Murphy further noted that the MCJ had formalized its grievance and medical request procedures and that 25 state prisoners had been transferred out of the facility to state prisons, to address overcrowding.

U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes commended the MCJ on taking action, but still was concerned about “the things that you can plainly see.”

“[T]he bottom line here is that protecting the health of the inmates is the most important thing,” he said. “You still have the steel doors on the showers that are rusted, and the vents in the showers are heavily rusted.”

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