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Landmark Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against the City of Chicago Alleging Racially Discriminatory Policing and Violent Police Abuse

Chicago – A class action lawsuit seeking federal court oversight of the Chicago Police Department’s (“CPD’s”) operations has been filed on behalf of thousands of individuals, predominately Blacks and Latinxs, who have been subjected to the CPD’s policy and practice of using force in racially discriminatory and often brutal ways. Also joining the lawsuit are a number of community-based organizations that are deeply-rooted in Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities, including Black Lives Matter-Chicago, Blocks Together, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Justice for Families, Women’s All Point Bulletin, Network 49, and the 411 Movement for Pierre Loury.

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.

Lawsuit: Cash bail in Cook County violates rights of poor accused of crimes

Thousands of impoverished people, especially African Americans, are being illegally locked up before trial in Cook County because they are too poor to be able to post bond, a newly filed lawsuit contends.

Editorial: Youth offenders' lives hang in the balance amid dithering to fix St. Louis County Family Court

Juvenile offenders continue to get a raw deal from the St. Louis County Family Court while lawyers, judges and administrators wrangle with the U.S. Department of Justice over securing constitutional rights for youths in the justice system.

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.

MacArthur Justice Students Inspect Mississippi’s Death Row

Participants in the MacArthur Justice Clinic recently inspected Mississippi’s Death Row and conducted interviews of Death Row inmates at the State Penitentiary in Parchman. The visit was part of the Clinic’s ongoing monitoring of Mississippi’s compliance with a 2015 settlement negotiated by the Clinic on behalf of inmate Devin Bennett concerning the conditions of Death Row.

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.

Not much new in ‘new’ Supreme Court rules for muni courts

“There’s really nothing all that’s ‘new’ in the ‘new’ Municipal Court Standards,” said Mae Quinn, director of the MacArthur Justice Center in St. Louis. “They reflect an all-too-familiar failure to call out institutional actors who disregard rights of certain community members, continuation of a convoluted body of law that confuses litigants more than protects them, and a sense that coming close to constitutional is good enough when it comes to the primarily poor persons of color who are shuttled through Missouri’s countless lower courts on a daily basis.”

Chicago-based public law firm opens post in St. Louis

Since Michael Brown's death in 2014, firms like the Arch City Defenders and the legal clinics at Saint Louis and Washington universities have become household names.  Now, they have a new partner in their fight.

Ex-judge named to probe conduct of Chicago cops after Laquan McDonald shooting

A former Cook County judge was appointed special prosecutor Friday to investigate whether numerous Chicago police officers at the scene of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald covered up wrongdoing by Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Fighting the Lethal Injection

— Richard Jordan has been on death row in Mississippi for 40 years for kidnapping and murdering Edwina Marter in 1976, even though the average wait time for death-row inmates to be killed is about 14 years.

Chicago Police Department plagued by racism, lack of accountability, task force says

Locke Bowman with the MacArthur Justice Center was part of a working group offering insight about police oversight to the task force.

"The failed oversight system is at the heart of our problems with policing in Chicago. That failed system allows repeat offenders to remain on the streets," Bowman said.

Prisoners Sue Illinois DOC Over Parole Assessment

A group of the state's longest serving prisoners is suing the Illinois Department of Corrections.

St. Clair County Sheriff's officers sued after inmate hangs himself

The estate of a man who died after attempting to commit suicide while he was detained by the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department alleges the department failed to take the decedent's suicide threats seriously.

New Orleans' jail issues 'overwhelming,' experts say in new report ripping Sheriff Marlin Gusman

A team of experts issued a scathing report Friday blasting Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman over the worsening conditions at the city’s new jail, describing a “day-to-day crisis environment” endangering inmates and deputies.

Cook County judge weighs who hears case on Van Dyke special prosecutor

A ruling is expected Friday on which judge will decide whether a special prosecutor should be assigned to try the murder case against Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and review the actions of other officers in the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Inmate challenges faith-based rehab

An atheist prisoner in Illinois is suing the state and a private prison contractor for alleged unfair punishment stemming from his mandatory faith-based rehabilitation.

Editorial: Sheriff Gusman needs to show progress on jail consent decree

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman promised to hire a classification manager and someone to develop new policies and procedures for the city's troubled jail by June 1. He was supposed to hire a consultant to revamp the human resources department by May 16 and a new director for that department by July 1. . . .

Editorial: A welcome ray of sunlight at the Police Department

In law enforcement, the “Untouchables” are supposed to be the good guys — law officers who are absolutely incorruptible. . . .

Lawyers: Conspiracy Kept Mom From Suing

A 10-year “cover-up” by police and prosecutors prevented Nanci Koschman from learning that former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew killed her son, so she should be allowed to sue them, her lawyers said. . . .

Following lead attorney, OPP consent decree case transferred from Southern Poverty to new MacArthur Center

Inmates who were represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center in a civil rights lawsuit that led to a federal consent decree to reform Orleans Parish Prison will now be represented by a new organization. The case followed the lead plaintiffs' attorney as she changed jobs on Friday.

Nebraska Officials to Pay $1.65 Million Settlement for Fabricating Evidence and Coercing False Confession

Matthew Livers has settled his civil suit against the Nebraska State Patrol investigators and Cass County, Nebraska, Sheriff’s Deputies for coercing him to confess falsely to the brutal murder of his aunt and uncle and fabricating evidence to make the false charges stick.  

Lawsuit: Ill. Parole revocation hearings “a sham”

CHICAGO — Illinois authorities systematically violate the rights of thousands of parolees by sending them back to prison for alleged violations in hurried, convoluted hearings — often with no lawyers available for guidance, a new class-action lawsuit alleges.

Parole Revocation Hearings Result in the Arbitrary Imprisonment of Thousands of Illinoisans, Civil Rights Lawsuit Charges

CHICAGO –People released from state prisons routinely have their constitutional rights violated and are re-imprisoned for alleged parole violations without a fair hearing, access to legal counsel or the ability to cross-examine witnesses and review evidence presented at “sham” hearings, according to a class action lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court against the directors of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (PRB) and the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) and Governor Pat Quinn.

Finance Committee Approves $12.3 Million Settlement With Police Torture Victims Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves

CHICAGO – The Finance Committee of the City of Chicago on Friday approved payment of a $12.3 million settlement to be divided between Ronald Kitchen, a former Death Row prisoner who spent 21 years behind bars, and his co-defendant Marvin Reeves.