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Prisons & Jails – Parole – Constitutional – Ex Post Facto Law – Board Quorum (access required)

Barton v. South Carolina Department of Probation Parole & Pardon Services A change in a parole statute -- requiring a two-thirds vote of the parole board rather than a majority vote to grant parole to violent offenders -- is an unconstitutional ex post facto law as applied to petitioner, who was convicted of murder before the statutory amendment. Even under the new law, a vote in favor of parole by four of the six board members who attended petitioner’s hearing was sufficient to grant her parole.

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Prisons & Jails – Claim Mooted for Prison Visitation Denial (access required)

Williams v. Ozmint Restoration of a prison inmate’s visiting privileges has mooted his appeal of suspension of those privileges for a two-year period as a penalty for the inmate’s suspected receipt of contraband; the 4th Circuit further concludes that the prison warden who imposed the suspicion is shielded by qualified immunity because the inmate did not have a clearly established right to visitation.

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Prisons & Jails – Constitutional – Due Process & Ex Post Facto Clauses – Parole Denial Policy – Violent Offenders (access required)

Burnette v. Fahey Plaintiff Virginia inmates have not stated due process and ex post facto claims against defendant members of the Virginia Parole Board in their official capacities for an alleged policy of denying parole to parole-eligible inmates convicted of violent offenses; the 4th Circuit affirms dismissal of the inmates’ complaint.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – ‘3 Strikes’ Dismissal – Inmate’s Appeal (access required)

Henslee v. Keller In an inmate’s suit alleging prison barbers do not sanitize equipment and put inmates at risk for infection, the district court’s dismissal of the suit cannot act as “strike three” that prevents the inmate from gaining IFP status to appeal the dismissal; the 4th Circuit joins the majority of federal appellate courts to consider the question to hold that a district court dismissal may not act as a third strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

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Prisons & Jails – Constitutional – Pretrial Detainee – Suicide – Deliberate Indifference Claim (access required)

Millmine v. Harris In the light most favorable to plaintiff, the evidence and permissible inferences indicate that the defendant-correctional officers knew that plaintiff’s decedent was on suicide watch and had been prohibited from having any potentially dangerous materials – such as tearable fabric...

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – Religion – Beard Policy – Health & Security Concerns (access required)

Couch v. Jabe Virginia prison officials failed to show how allowing a Sunni Muslim inmate to wear a one-eighth-inch beard would implicate prison health or security concerns, and the 4th Circuit vacates summary judgment for defendant officials in the inmate’s suit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – Constitutional – Eighth Amendment (access required)

Moore v. Laurens County Plaintiff brings his Eighth Amendment claim against the defendant Department of Corrections (DOC) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; however, as an administrative agency of the State of South Carolina, DOC does not qualify as a person subject to suit under ¤ 1983. Plaintiff’s federal claims are dismissed with prejudice. The court declines to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiff’s state claims, and they are dismissed without prejudice.

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Prisons & Jails – Civil Rights – ADA – Crutches Withheld – SCTCA (access required)

Moore v. Laurens County Where the defendant-county asserts that the county jail prohibited plaintiff from using his crutches only because the crutches were a potential weapon, and where plaintiff does not allege the jail prohibited his use of crutches on the basis of his disability, plaintiff has not made out a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court grants the county’s motion for summary judgment.

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Prisons & Jails – Parole Hearing – DOC – Prisoner’s Information – Unprosecuted Charges – Historical Facts (access required)

Compton v. South Carolina Department of Corrections The Department of Corrections is enjoined from forwarding to the parole board information about escape charges that were brought against the respondent-prisoner but never prosecuted; however, ...

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