Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Posts Tagged ‘section 1983

SCHR Files Lawsuit over Beatings of Handcuffed Prisoners in Georgia Prison

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The Southern Center for Human Rights has filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of four men who allege they were beaten by prison guards at Georgia’s Hays State Prison while handcuffed. You can download the full complaint here (PDF). Here, quoted from the complaint, are the plaintiffs’ core allegations:

3. While handcuffed, Plaintiff Nwakanma was punched, stomped on, kicked in the groin and in the face, struck with a flashlight, hit with batons, and beaten until he was unconscious. While handcuffed, Plaintiff Spencer was punched, kicked, and beaten with a baton-like instrument until he vomited and lost consciousness. While Plaintiff Towns was handcuffed, officers kicked him in the head, beat him with a baton on his bare feet, and struck him with a baton in the head until he was unconscious. While handcuffed, Plaintiff Haines was punched, kneed in the face, and kicked in the face. At no time did any Plaintiff offer any resistance or do or fail to do any act that justified the use of force.

4. As a result of these assaults, the Plaintiffs suffered injuries including: a “possible healing left mandibular fracture” (Plaintiff Nwakanma), jaw pain and fractured teeth (Plaintiff Nwakanma), a facial injury requiring oral surgery to remove tooth fragments from the lip (Plaintiff Nwakanma), loss of consciousness (Plaintiffs Nwakanma, Spencer, and Towns), fractured toes (Plaintiffs Nwakanma and Spencer), contusions on the feet impairing the ability to walk unaided (Plaintiff Towns), a baseball-sized hematoma to the head (Plaintiff Spencer), a lacerated mouth (Plaintiff Haines), and possible neurological damage including memory loss, fatigue, and inability to concentrate (Plaintiffs Nwakanma and Towns).

5. Despite these injuries and additional injuries suffered by the Plaintiffs, the officers who participated in these assaults did not file any incident reports indicating that they had used force on any inmates assaulted in the SMU. No Plaintiffs were disciplined for acts occurring in the SMU on August 12, 2010 that would have necessitated the use of force.

SCOTUS Cases to Watch in the Upcoming Term

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So far, the upcoming Supreme Court term looks to have a few interesting prisoners’ rights cases in the pipeline, including those listed below. I’ll alert readers again when the oral arguments are coming up. In the meantime, all the basic info and briefing for each case are easily available thanks to the folks over at (the newly redesigned) SCOTUSblog:

  • Skinner v. Switzer — Can a convicted prisoner seeking access to biological evidence for DNA testing raise this claim through a Section 1983 lawsuit, or must he raise it on a habeas petition?
  • Sossamon v. Texas — Are states and state officials subject to suit for violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)?
  • Schwarzenegger v. Plata — The next round in the ongoing class action litigation over overcrowding in the California prison system.

Written by sara

September 8, 2010 at 7:43 am

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