Part one: complete case summaries in alphabetical order.

Position:Case overview
  1. CIVIL RIGHTS: Aliens, Torture, Military Facility

  2. HABEAS CORPUS: Alien, Civil Commitment, Interrogation, Segregation

  3. LIABILITY: ATCA- Alien Tort Claims Act, FTCA-Federal Tort Claims Act

    Al-Zahrani v. Rodriguez, 669 F.3d 315 (D.C.Cir. 2012). Survivors of detainees who died at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base sued the United States and a host of government officials under the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA), the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and the Fifth and Eighth Amendments. The survivors asserted that the detainees had been subjected to physical and psychological torture and abuse, inadequate medical treatment and withholding of necessary medication, and religious abuse. The district court granted the government's motion to be substituted as the defendant on the ATCA claims and its motion to dismiss both the ATCA and the FTCA claims. The appeals court later denied the survivors' motion for reconsideration. The survivors appealed. The appeals court affirmed on other grounds. The appeals court held that habeas corpus statute amendments barred federal court jurisdiction over the action. (Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba)

  4. RELEASE: Timely Release, Release Date, Sentence

  5. SENTENCE: Review

    Alston v. Read, 663 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2011). A former state prisoner brought a [section] 1983 action against corrections officials, alleging that he was over-detained in violation of his due process rights and the Eighth Amendment. The district court denied the officials' motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity and the officials appealed. The appeals court reversed and remanded. The court held that the officials did not have a clearly established duty to seek out court records in response to the prisoner's unsupported assertion that he was being over-detained, and thus, the officials were entitled to qualified immunity. The court noted that the officials relied on state law and the prisoner's institutional file in calculating the prisoner's sentence, the prisoner offered no documentation to put officials on notice that his sentence had been miscalculated, and no caselaw established that the officials were required to examine any other records. (Offender Management Office of Hawaii's Department of Public Safety)

  6. EX-OFFENDERS: Claims

  7. LIABILITY: Injunctive Relief, RLUIPA- Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, Sovereign Immunity, Damages

  8. RELIGION: Free Exercise, RLUIPA- Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

    Alvarez v. Hill, 667 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 2012). A former inmate in the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) sued prison officials, alleging that ODOC employees substantially burdened the practice of his religion in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and the inmate appealed. The appeals court affirmed. The court held that Oregon's sovereign immunity barred the former inmate's Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) claims for money damages against corrections officials sued in their official capacity, where, for sovereign-immunity purposes, the official capacity claims were treated as claims against the state. The court found that the former inmate lacked a legally cognizable interest in the outcome of his claims for declaratory and injunctive relief, despite his contentions that his claims were capable of repetition, yet would continue to evade review, and that his claims challenged ongoing prison policies to which other inmates would remain subject. According to the court, there was no indication that the inmate, who had completed his sentence and his post-incarceration supervision, would again be subjected to the challenged prison policies, and current inmates could bring their own RLUIPA claims challenging the policies at issue. The court noted that an Inmate's release from prison while his claims are pending generally will moot any claims for injunctive relief relating to the prison's policies unless the suit has been certified as a class action. (Oregon Department of Corrections)

  9. CIVIL RIGHTS: Sex Offenders

  10. SENTENCE: Sex Offenders, Double Jeopardy, Ex Post Facto

    American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada v. Masto, 670 F.3d 1046 (9th Cir. 2012). The United States District Court for the District of Nevada, issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the retroactive application of an Assembly Bill expanding the scope of sex offender registration and notification requirements, and a Senate Bill imposing, among other things, residency and movement restrictions on certain sex offenders. The State of Nevada appealed. The appeals court affirmed in part, reversed in part, dismissed as moot in part, and remanded. The court held that the requirements of the Nevada law expanding the scope of sex offender registration and notification requirements did not constitute retroactive punishment in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause or the Double Jeopardy Clause. The court noted that the intent of the Nevada legislature in passing the law was to create a civil regulatory regime with the purpose of enhancing public safety, and the law was not so punitive in effect or purpose that it negated the Nevada legislature's intent to enact a civil regulatory scheme. The court found that the question of the constitutionality of retroactive application to sex offenders of the residency and movement restrictions of the Nevada law was moot. (State of Nevada)

  11. ACCESS TO COURTS: PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act, Exhaustion

  12. FAILURE TO PROTECT: Officer on Prisoner Assault, PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

  13. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES, PRISONER: Exhaustion, PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

  14. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Failure to Protect, PLRA- Prison Litigation Reform Act

    Annoreno v. Sheriff of Kankakee County, 823 F.Supp.2d 860 (C.D.Ill. 2011). A federal pretrial detainee brought a [section] 1983 action against a county sheriff, correctional officers, and others, alleging that the officers assaulted him while in their custody. The defendants moved for summary judgment and the district court granted the motion. The court held that the detainee failed to exhaust administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) prior to filing suit. According to the court, the detainee's submission of a "sick call slip," rather than an "inmate grievance form," regarding an alleged assault committed upon him by corrections officers, was inadequate to exhaust administrative remedies under PLRA, and thus the district court lacked jurisdiction over the detainee's [section] 1983 action. The court noted that sick call slips were submitted directly to medical department and not forwarded to administrative staff who received inmate grievance forms, the inmate handbook required that complaints be submitted in writing on an inmate grievance form, and the detainee knew that grievance forms were used in the facility and had filed multiple grievance forms prior to the incident in question. (Jerome Combs Detention Center, Kankakee County, Illinois)


  16. LIABILITY: Class Action, Damages

  17. PRETRIAL DETENTION: Searches, Intake Screening

  18. SEARCHES: Strip Searches, Pretrial Detainees

    Augustin v. Jablonsky, 819 F.Supp.2d 153 (E.D.N.Y. 2011). Arrestees brought a class action against a county challenging the county correctional center's blanket strip search policy for newly admitted, misdemeanor detainees. After the county admitted liability, the plaintiffs' class action involving more than 17,000 members was certified for the issue of general damages and the district court awarded general damages of $500 per strip search. The county moved to decertify the class for purposes of determining the issue of arrestees' special damages. The district court granted the motion. The court held that the resolution of special damages could not proceed on a class-wide basis, since questions of law or fact common to the class no longer predominated over questions affecting individuals. (Nassau County Correctional Center, New York)

  19. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT: Cells, Crowding, Use of Force

  20. CRUEL & UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT: Cells, Searches, Use of Force

  21. FACILITIES: Crowding, Cell Size

  22. SEARCHES: Cell Searches, Use of Force

  23. USE OF FORCE: Excessive Force, Stun Gun

    Bailey v. Hughes, 815 F.Supp.2d 1246 (M.D.Ala. 2011). A state prisoner brought an action against a county sheriff's department, a sheriff, corrections officers, and others, alleging unconstitutional deprivations of his rights while in custody in a county jail. The defendants moved to dismiss and for an award of attorney fees. The district court granted the motions. The district court held that: (1) neither the Fourteenth Amendment nor the Fourth Amendment's excessive force prohibition applied to the sentenced offender; (2) the sheriff and supervisory officials were entitled to qualified immunity; (3) allegations did not state an Eighth Amendment claim based on jail overcrowding; (4) the officers' alleged conduct in tasering the prisoner did not violate the Eighth Amendment; (5) allegations did not state a [section] 1983 claim for an unconstitutional strip search; (6) placement of the prisoner alone in closet-sized cell for eight hours after the alleged incident did not amount to unconstitutional confinement; and (7) the officers' alleged conduct in searching the prisoner's cell did not amount to retaliation for prisoner's prior lawsuit. The court noted that the prisoner admitted that he repeatedly refused the officers' verbal commands and fled his cell, he was repeatedly warned that he would be shocked if he did not comply with the officers' commands, and he was shocked by a taser only once before he fled his cell and then two to three times after he did so. (Houston County Jail, Alabama)


  25. LIABILITY: FTCA- Federal Tort Claims Act

    Baker v. U.S., 670 F.3d 448 (3rd...

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