By Christopher Zoukis Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has signed legislation effective September 1 that will ostensibly allow former inmates to register to vote. This hopefully paves the way for other states to follow suit, as the presidential election campaign enters its final stretch. The state requires government action or petition before suffrage is restored to…

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By Christopher Zoukis Concluding a case started over 20 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court early this month refused to accept an appeal in a lawsuit filed by Native American prisoners in Alabama, who argued hair length rules set by the state’s Department of Corrections infringed their religious beliefs and practices. In declining to hear…

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By Christopher Zoukis Inmates at an Alabama correctional centre are developing, crowdfunding and taking other necessary steps to launch their own radio about health issues in the prison system. The program at William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Jefferson County, is facilitated by Connie Kohler, professor emeritus at the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham.…

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A shortage of skilled laborers in the craft of welding is poised to seriously hinder America’s production capacity in the coming years. With education policies emphasizing that all students should pursue “traditional” college upon high school graduation, there’s been a serious drop in the number of individuals pursuing vocational training in the last decade or…

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Twenty-five miles from Montgomery, Ala., in the middle of the tough-on-crime, fiscally conservative Deep South, sits an unusual place of learning. A 20-foot fence with razor wire surrounds the campus. Armed guards stand at the entrances. Students wear jumpsuits, with ID numbers printed on the right side of the chest. This is J. F. Ingram…

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By Prison Legal News

The Alabama Supreme Court has held that a third party to a lawsuit may be made a party when a counterclaim is filed. The Court also held a sheriff named as a defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity on a federal claim in her individual capacity, but was entitled to immunity on a federal official capacity claim and state law claims.

The case involved a lawsuit filed by Scott Cotney, an administrator at the Clay County Jail, against former jail guard Phillip E. Green and prisoners Anthony Haywood and Daniel Hall, alleging defamation, slander, libel, invasion of privacy, negligence and wantonness. The claims resulted from a report filed by Green, Haywood and Hall with the Alabama Department of Corrections, claiming that Cotney had used his position to sexually abuse or assault Haywood and Hall while they were held at the jail.

Haywood and Hall filed a counterclaim against Cotney for violations of their Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. They also filed counterclaims against the Clay County Commission and Sheriff Dorothy “Jean Dot” Alexander, in her official and individual capacities. They alleged Alexander “had knowledge of [Cotney’s] unlawful acts … and permitted the abuse to occur,” and made the same claims against her as those against Cotney in addition to a claim of negligent supervision.

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