Civil RightsDo privacy rights supersede the Open Records Act?
Do the privacy rights of an inmate confined in a county jail supersede the Oklahoma Open Records Act? A recent lawsuit against a Title 60 public trust that operates an Oklahoma jail facility is asking a court to answer that question. The Petition is available here. The issue arises from the custodial death of Kongchi… read more…CoreCivic facility on lockdown after prison riot
A riot broke out at a Tennessee prison operated by CoreCivic on Sunday night. According to news reports, 3 inmates were assaulted by others at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility. You can access the article here. Despite the number of involved inmates, CoreCivic insisted on referring to the incident as a “disturbance” and not a… read more…Private prison: will lie for money?
Would a private prison company mislead the government to avoid paying taxes? According to New Mexico, that’s what CoreCivic did when it requested and received a multi-million dollar tax refund for housing federal inmates within the state. Article here. The scheme uncovered by New Mexico involved the mechanism used to house federal inmates. Rather than… read more…Liability for excessive force includes violations of agency policy
Police misconduct is often defined by the use of excessive force. In Oklahoma, these excessive force claims can be proved in two ways. The first method is grounded in a constitutional standard that substantially borrows from the Fourth Amendment. There is one primary difference between the state and federal standards: whether the reasonableness of the… read more…Aurora shooting of innocent man: will federal law provide a remedy?
Posted in Civil Rights on August 1, 2018
Richard “Gary” Black was a decorated Vietnam veteran. He also lived in Aurora, CO, where city officials permit officers to kill citizens and resume their duties before the investigation into the killing is completed. On Monday, this practice resulted in Mr. Black being gunned down by an Aurora police officer while Mr. Black was defending… read more…Judgment entered against City of Westville, Okla., two police officers
Posted in Civil Rights on January 5, 2018
On December 28, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma entered judgment against the City of Westville and two police officers in a case involving a failure to train and unlawful warrantless residential entry in violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of Mr. Brent Walker. The law firm of Bryan… read more…Court sets Clark case for oral arguments
On January 2, 2018, the Tenth Circuit set Clark v. Colbert for oral argument on February 15 in the ceremonial Bell courtroom at the University of Oklahoma law school. The case raises several important questions regarding the intersection of the Fourth Amendment and the ADA. The issues under consideration by the Tenth Circuit arise from… read more…Court: Its not a seizure if the suspect flees
Posted in Civil Rights on December 28, 2017
If police shoot at a fleeing suspect– and miss– does the conduct implicate the Fourth Amendment? Here’s how the Tenth Circuit recently framed the issue in Farrell v. Montoya: Oriana Lee Farrell and her five children claim that Defendant Elias Montoya, while on duty as a New Mexico state police officer, violated their Fourth Amendment… read more…Inmate-on-inmate violence supports failure to protect claim
Posted in Civil Rights on December 26, 2017
In a recent opinion issued by the Tenth Circuit on December 19, 2017, the court was tasked with determining whether an inmate could pursue a claim against two corrections officers and a case manger for failing to protect him from an attack by members of a rival prison gang. You can access the decision in… read more…Savanna, OK Officer Accused of Sexual Assault
Posted in Civil Rights on June 14, 2017
A McAlester news outlet is reporting former police officer Jerry “Jay” Lynn Gragg, Jr., 40, of Savanna, OK was arrested for sexually assaulting a motorist during a traffic stop in January 2017. A woman alleges Gragg said if she’d perform sex acts and/or allow him to perform acts, he wouldn’t write her a ticket. After her… read more…