By Chris Zoukis The much-anticipated second edition of The Habeas Citebook: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, by Brandon Sample and Alissa Hull, is the fifth book to be published by PLN Publishing. As is the case with the previous four titles, The Habeas Citebook is an excellent, professional and informative publication. Former federal prisoner Brandon Sample,…

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A North Carolina prisoner with a history of mental illness who was found dead in a transport van after being transferred to another prison died due to dehydration, according to the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office.

However, the state pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Michael Anthony Kerr, 54, said records provided by the Department of Public Safety were so scanty and incomplete that she was unable to determine whether his death was accidental, a suicide or a homicide.

Prison records indicate that Kerr was held in solitary confinement for 35 days prior to his death and had spent the last five days of his life handcuffed and largely unresponsive. Prison officials repeatedly turned off the water to his cell because he had flooded it, and put him on a diet of milk and nutraloaf. The milk was later ordered withheld.

“They treated him like a dog,” said Kerr’s sister, Brenda Liles.

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By Michael Brodheim In the wake of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in In Re Shaputis, 53 Cal. 4th 192 (Cal. 2011) [PLN, Aug. 2012, p.16], lower courts in California continue to struggle with the issue of whether a denial of parole predicated on “lack of insight” is supported, in any given case, by the…

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By Prison Legal News

In March 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court’s dismissal of a pro se habeas petitioner’s claim that his 9-year detention while waiting for the State of California to initiate civil commitment proceedings was unconstitutional.

Just before convicted rapist Bobby Joe Knight’s scheduled release from prison in 2004 after serving a 20-year sentence, the state filed a civil petition against him under California’s Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA), Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 6600, et seq. The Los Angeles County Superior Court ordered that Knight be held in a secure facility pending trial.

Knight remained in custody, as no effort was made to bring the state’s petition against him to trial. Incredibly, between 2004 and 2009, Knight’s counsel requested (or stipulated to) continuances of the case. Not content with the quality of his representation – being deprived of one’s liberty indefinitely, without due process of law, can be frustrating – Knight repeatedly requested that he be appointed new counsel.

Exasperated, he filed a habeas corpus petition in state court in April 2009, claiming that his lengthy detention was unconstitutional. The petition was denied, and Knight’s counsel and the government agreed to still more continuances.

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By Christopher Zoukis Are you a blogger, author, website administrator, attorney, paralegal, prison consultant, or academic who produces content about prisoner’s rights, prison law, or prison in general?  If so, the Prison Law Blog wants to hear from you! As a multi-disciplinary, community-based publication, the Prison Law Blog is always seeking input from our readers…

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  Professor Daniel Manville is in the process of updating his Disciplinary Self Help Litigation Manual, which was last published in 2007.  The Prison Law Blog views the 2007 edition of Professor Manville’s Disciplinary Self Help Litigation Manual as extremely informative and useful, in that the book provides vital information concerning prison disciplinary proceedings in…

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