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Lawsuit Targets Orleans Magistrate Judge Cantrell’s Unjust Bond Practice

NEW ORLEANS – A federal class action lawsuit alleges Orleans Magistrate Judge Harry E. Cantrell has consistently violated the constitutional rights of impoverished pre-trial arrestees by setting high bail amounts without any consideration of the person’s ability to pay or alternative no-cost conditions of release.

Federal Lawsuit Seeks Order Prohibiting Lafayette Parish Officials from Keeping Poor People in Jail After Arrest Solely Because They are Poor

LAFAYETTE, La. – A federal class action lawsuit alleges that officials of the 15th Judicial District Court and Sheriff’s Office in Lafayette routinely violate the constitutional rights of impoverished people through the use of an assembly-line system of setting secured money bail without giving any consideration to what any individual can afford to pay or to alternative, non-financial conditions of release.

Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s Controversial Subpoenas Prompt Lawsuit and Demand for Public Disclosure

NEW ORLEANS – A lawsuit was filed Friday against Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro in light of his office’s controversial practice of gathering evidence using subpoenas that do not have the required advance approval of a court.

Filed by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, the suit asks the Orleans Parish Civil District Court to order Cannizzaro to comply with a 2015 public records request for copies of district attorney subpoenas from 2013 to the present.

Baton Rouge Protesters File Lawsuit Alleging Baton Rouge Law Enforcement Officials Conspired to Suppress July 2016 Peaceful Protests With Mass Arrests on Phony Charges

BATON ROUGE – Soon after peaceful demonstrations brought national attention to brutal and racially discriminatory policing by Baton Rouge area law enforcement, local government leaders and law enforcement officers conspired to break up the protests by making scores of unwarranted arrests of law-abiding protestors, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed late Thursday night.

Lawsuit Alleges State Judges in Bossier Parish Routinely Violate Constitutional Rights of Poor Charged with Minor Offenses

SHREVEPORT, La. – A federal class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of impoverished people charged with minor crimes in Bossier Parish, where orders from the 26th Judicial District Court result in days, and sometimes weeks, of jail time for people unable to afford either bail or an application fee for the Public Defender.

Kill Now, Think Later: MDOC has not studied any of the alternative methods of execution proposed by HB 638

NEW ORLEANS – The civil rights law firm that represents Mississippi death-sentenced prisoners in litigation against the lethal injection drugs chosen by the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) has learned that MDOC has not studied how any of the alternative methods of execution proposed by House Bill 638 would be implemented.

Jim Craig, Co-Director of the New Orleans office of the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center and lead counsel in the method of execution lawsuits, today released correspondence between MDOC and MacArthur attorney Emily Washington. On January 3, 2017, Washington sent a public records request to MDOC. One of the specific requests in the January 3 letter sought any and all documents from March 2016 until January 2017 that direct or discuss “how MDOC will carry out executions or has contemplated carrying out executions (including but not limited to by lethal injection, by electrocution, by firing squad, and by nitrogen gas).”

Men Freed After MacArthur Justice Center Files Lawsuits Over Illegal Jail Time

NEW ORLEANS -- One day after litigation was filed to secure their freedom, prisoners Jessie Crittindon and Eddie Copelin have been released by the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

MacArthur Files Suit Against Illegal Jail Time

NEW ORLEANS – After moving New Orleans prisoners hundreds of miles away to a jail in East Carroll Parish, state and local officials are now failing to release men who have completed their sentences and should have been freed months ago, according to lawsuits filed Thursday by lawyers with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in New Orleans.

Louisiana Prison Officials Sued for Retaliating Against Whistleblower

After communicating with journalist, prisoner was banished to “the Dungeon”

BATON ROUGE – A federal lawsuit has been filed against filed against Louisiana prison officials who retaliated against a prisoner after he communicated with a journalist investigating prison conditions and financial irregularities at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.

Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds the Right of Condemned Men and Women to Challenge Torturous Methods of Execution in State Court

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the way for a Death Row prisoner to seek a state court order prohibiting a torturous method of execution.

 

Coroner: 15-year-old in Orleans jail died of suicide; lawyer says he had been 'jumped' month before

Preliminary autopsy results show that a 15-year-old died in the Orleans Parish jail Monday night by hanging himself, the Orleans Parish coroner said Wednesday.

Death penalty stalls in Mississippi

JACKSON - With sprawling litigation over Mississippi’s use of execution drugs now scheduled to stretch into 2017, the state could go five years without executing a death row inmate.

Lawsuit: Louisiana State Police harass, use excessive force against black people in French Quarter

The Louisiana State Police routinely harass and use excessive force against black people in the French Quarter, a civil rights law firm alleged Friday in a lawsuit, citing what it called the "unconstitutional and baseless" arrest last year of a young man visiting New Orleans on an architecture field trip.

Lawsuit: Louisiana State Police Use Excessive Force and Make Racially Biased Stops and Arrests of African-Americans in the French Quarter

NEW ORLEANS – The wrongful arrest, unjustified use of force and detention of an Indiana teenager has resulted in a lawsuit alleging that aggressive, unjustified harassment of African-Americans is a regular practice of Louisiana State Police (LSP) on patrol of the French Quarter.

Department of Health Agrees to End Lengthy Waitlist for Admission of Prisoners with Mental Illness to State Mental Hospital

Under terms of a settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought by the Advocacy Center of Louisiana and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) will end the practice of warehousing certain mentally ill detainees in parish jails. The Agreement will instead require the Department to admit them promptly to a mental health hospital for treatment.

Federal Appeals Court Orders Disclosure of Missouri’s Lethal Injection Methods

A federal appeals court has refused to overrule U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough’s decision ordering the Missouri Department of Corrections (MO-DOC) to disclose information about Missouri’s use of pentobarbital in a single-drug protocol for lethal injection executions.

Federal Court Clears Path for Disclosure of Missouri Lethal Injection Methods

NEW ORLEANS – U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough of the Western District of Missouri has denied a motion filed by the Missouri Department of Corrections to quash a deposition and subpoena seeking information about Missouri’s use of pentobarbital in a single-drug protocol for lethal injection executions. Missouri’s Department of Corrections must now answer questions and share documents about its death penalty protocols.

Lawsuit Challenging Unconstitutional Conflict of Interest in Ascension Parish Court Spurs Legislative Reform

BATON ROUGE, La. – In response to passage of Act 612 by the Legislature and its signing into law by Governor Edwards in June, the MacArthur Justice Center on Tuesday filed a request in federal court to dismiss its class action lawsuit challenging an unconstitutional conflict of interest in the funding scheme of the Ascension Parish Court.

New Independent Jail Compliance Director to have final authority over all operations of the Orleans Parish jail

NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, which represents the people in the Orleans Parish jail consent decree litigation Jones v. Gusman, issued the following statement, concerning the federal court order approving the agreement to have the court appoint an Independent Jail Compliance Director with final authority and administrative control over the Orleans Parish jail.

Behind Bars for 10 Months and Without Access to Lawyers, Five Defendants Ask Louisiana Courts to Uphold Their Constitutional Rights and Give Them Freedom

NEW ORLEANS -- Attorneys with the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center on Thursday asked the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal to order the release of five men and women arrested in LaSalle Parish more than 10 months ago and left in jail without a lawyer to defend them in court.

Federal Court Asked to Strip Sheriff Marlin Gusman of Authority Over Orleans Parish Prison

NEW ORLEANS -- Citing the grave danger imposed on men, women and children incarcerated in Orleans Parish Prison (OPP), attorneys for the prisoners and the United States Department of Justice have asked a federal court to take the extraordinary step of stripping Sheriff Marlin Gusman of the authority to operate the jail, which has been under federal oversight since 2013.

Federal Court Asked to Strike Down Law Creating Unconstitutional Conflict of Interest in Ascension Parish Court

“Conviction Fees” Directly Fund Salaries of Parish Court Judge and Staff

Recent Monitors’ Report Confirms Continued Failure to Improve Conditions in Orleans Jail

In April 2012 the men, women, and kids in Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) sued the Sheriff to improve conditions in the jail. That lawsuit was filed to stop rampant rapes, beatings and stabbings in the notorious lock-up. It resulted in a consent decree that was approved by the federal court in June 2013. As part of the consent decree a team of independent monitors is appointed to report on the Sheriff’s compliance with the various consent decree provisions.

Resignation adds to woes at New Orleans jail

An official hired to help with reforms at the violence-plagued New Orleans jail has resigned — the latest complication in court-ordered reform efforts.

Attorney for New Orleans Prisoners Reacts to Resignation of Chief of Corrections

Statement by Katie M. Schwartzmann, Co-Director of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in New Orleans, in reaction to the resignation of Carmen I. DeSadier as chief of corrections for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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