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IDOC Enables and Encourages Sexual Assaults and Harassment Targeting Trans Woman

New claims against the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) were filed on behalf of Strawberry Hampton, a prisoner currently held at Dixon prison. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks emergency relief and demands that IDOC protect Ms. Hampton from further abuse and immediately transfer her to Logan Correctional Center (a women’s prison).

Cash Bond Class Action That Led to Widespread Changes in Cook County Bond Court Dismissed on Legal Technicalities

A landmark class action lawsuit targeting Cook County’s unconstitutional cash bail practices, which spurred widespread reforms in pretrial detention, was dismissed by a Cook County judge due to legal technicalities. The lawsuit was filed by the MacArthur Justice Center, Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. and the Civil Rights Corps.  The case was supported by a memo issued by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, attacking Cook County’s cash bail practices.

Community-Driven Federal Class Action Lawsuit & Report Targets Chicago Police’s Inaccurate, Racially Discriminatory Gang Database

The Chicagoans for an End to the Gang Database, a coalition of individuals and community organizations, gathered in City Hall on Tuesday to announce a new federal class action against the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Department (CPD), targeting CPD’s unconstitutional Gang Database, and urging City Council to take action.

Intellectually disabled man wrongfully convicted as a teen wins release after 20+ years in prison

Corey Williams, who was wrongfully convicted at age 16 by prosecutors who acted with no regard for truth or justice, will finally regain his freedom after more than 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

In response to a petition filed by the MacArthur Justice Center in the U.S. Supreme Court, Caddo Parrish District Attorney James Stewart has agreed to stop its defense of this tragic injustice and release Mr. Williams’ immediately.

Community Groups Finalize CPD Consent Decree Demands

The Campbell v. City of Chicago coalition of  community-based organizations that are deeply-rooted in Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities, release the Chicago Community Consent Decree. The Decree contains their demands related to the CPD consent decree currently being negotiated by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

In a Major Step toward Federal Oversight of Police Reform, Community Groups Enter into Agreement with City of Chicago and Illinois Attorney General

In a major development in the fight for federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), over a dozen community groups today reached an agreement with the City of Chicago and the Illinois Attorney General. 

Trans Woman Files Emergency Order to Stop Continuing Abuse by Prison Officials

Strawberry Hampton, a 27 year old transgender woman currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center in Illinois, has filed her third lawsuit in federal court seeking immediate action to protect her from ongoing harassment and abuse at the hands of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). 


VICTORY: After 24 years in solitary confinement, Darrick Hall finally has a chance at life in general population. 

Wrongfully Convicted “Marquette Park Four” Sue City of Chicago, Chicago Police Officers

Four men, known collectively as the “Marquette Park Four,” who each spent more than 20 years in prison for crimes they did not commit, are suing the City of Chicago as well as the Chicago Police officers and the Assistant State’s Attorney responsible for their false imprisonment.

Man cleared in murder case goes free 19 years in prison, month in ICE detention

Chicago Sun-Times reports on release of our client, Gabriel Solache, from ICE detention where he had been held for over 40 days. He was detained by ICE immediately after a judge vacated the criminal charges which has falsely detained him in prison for 19 years.

13 Muslim, Faith-Based, and Civil Rights Community Orgs File Amicus Brief In Support of Guantánamo Bay Muslim Detainees

Washington, DC – Today, Muslim Advocates and the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center filed an amicus brief on behalfof 13 Muslim, faith-based, and civil rights community organizations in support of Guantánamo Bay detainees for whom the Center for Constitutional Rights filed habeas petitions last week.  At issue in these cases is whether President Donald Trump’s blanket policy against release or transfer of any of Guantánamo’s Muslim detainees, regardless of their individualized circumstances, is unlawful under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution and exceeds the authority granted to the President by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (“AUMF”).

Trans Woman Imprisoned in Illinois Seeks Emergency Court Order to Protect Her From Ongoing Abuse and Retaliation

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center and the Uptown People’s Law Center have asked the federal court for an emergency order to protect Strawberry Hampton (incarcerated under the name Deon Hampton) from further abuse and harassment at the hands of Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) employees. Ms. Hampton is a 26-year old transgender woman currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. IDOC officials refuse to acknowledge that Ms. Hampton is a woman and insist on housing her in men’s prisons, where she has been repeatedly sexually assaulted by correctional officers.

MacArthur Justice Center, SPLC Sue City of Corinth and Judge for Running Debtors’ Prison

The City of Corinth, Mississippi and Municipal Court Judge John C. Ross are operating a modern-day debtors’ prison, unlawfully jailing poor people for their inability to pay bail and fines, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

MacArthur Justice Center Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Gretna, Louisiana for Using “Mayor’s Court” as Modern Day Debtor’s Prison to Balance Books

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center has filed a federal class action targeting the Mayor’s Court of Gretna, Louisiana for its inherent financial conflict of interest and focus on generating revenue to sustain the City budget.

Important Prisoners' Rights Decision by Tenth Circuit
Important victory for prisoners’ rights to access the court system handed down by Tenth Circuit.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) is the 1996 federal law, which governs how an individual in prison can bring forth constitutional violations within the court system. It imposes a number of obstacles specifically designed to reduce the amount of litigation coming from prisoners. One of these obstacles is the “three strikes” rule, which requires the prisoner to pre-pay a filing fee if the individual has had three previous cases dismissed.
The Tenth Circuit ruled that that the three-strikes provision does not apply to cases that a prisoner initiates in state court. Litigation is often one of the few, and most important, means for prisoners to address issues of abuse and mistreatment. This ruling means that, regardless of previous cases or ability to pay,many prisoners will have access to state courts to raise constitutional violations and hold prisons accountable. 
Ruling available here.
Amicus Brief Opposing Trump's Muslim Ban Filed in Fourth Circuit

Legal challenge to President Trump's Muslim Ban continues. MacArthur Justice Center again filed amicus brief, the detailed record of President Trump's hatred towards Muslims, in the Fourth Circuit. 

New Prisoners' Rights Case [Carter v. Fleming] Before Fourth Circuit

Appellate Director David Shapiro is arguing a new prisoners' right case before a special meeting of the Fourth Circuit. Our client, a member of the Nation of Islam, accepted one non-halal meal (on Thanksgiving) and for that, the Virginia prison suspended his halal meals entirely, arguing that he lacked religious sincerity. But that can a prison really rule on a person’s religion, even after just one transgression? We don’t think so. That would like the government barring the doors of a church on Sunday for all those absent the previous Sunday, on the ground that they are faking it. 

Court Moves Forward Class Action Challenging Unjust Parole Process for Missouri Juveniles Previously Sentenced to Death Behind Bars

A Missouri federal court has ruled in favor of plaintiffs who sued the Missouri Department of Corrections (MDOC), challenging the Parole Board’s disregard for the constitutional rights of youthful offenders. The class-action complaint argues such defendants are entitled to a meaningful opportunity for release under a recent series of United States Supreme Court decisions.

MacArthur Justice Center’s Cutting-Edge Case Calling for Juvenile Offender Parole Standards Moves Forward

St. Louis, Missouri – In a victory for the rights of Missouri youthful offenders, a judge rejected the State’s motion to dismiss a suit brought by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center of St. Louis (MJC-STL), alleging the Missouri Department of Corrections’ (MDOC) parole system violates the constitutional rights of defendants convicted while juveniles.

New Prisoner’s Rights Case (Snodgrass v Messer) Submitted for Consideration to the US Supreme Court

We are asking the Supreme Court to hear Snodgrass v. Messer, a case about the First Amendment rights of prisoners. Our client, a prisoner at the notorious Red Onion State Prison in Virginia, alleges he was threatened with rape by a prison guard. When he said he'd complain - the guard responded with potentially fatal retaliation, falsely labelling him a “snitch.” We want the Supreme Court to resolve two important questions.  Does the First Amendment protect a prisoner when he says he's filing a grievance? And is labeling a prisoner a "snitch" for complaining a threat to free speech rights?

City of Pearl, Mississippi Youth Court Judge Resigns Under Pressure; City Closes Court Upon Learning That Judge Prohibited Young Mother From Seeing Her Baby Due to Unpaid Court Fees

Late Wednesday, in the Jackson suburb of Pearl, Mississippi, Youth Court Judge John Shirley resigned under pressure and the Pearl Municipal Youth Court was permanently closed in the wake of demands made by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi School of Law on behalf of their client who was deprived of contact with her four-month-old child until she paid court-imposed fees.

Mississippi judge resigns after barring mother from seeing newborn because of unpaid court fees

Washington Post's coverage of Mississippi "judicial kidnapping" case demanding the resignation of judge and termination of his court after he barred young mother from her baby for 14 months due to unpaid court fees.

Nine leading civil rights groups urge Supreme Court to reform how compensation is awarded for victims of prison abuse

Prison staff have held prisoners down in boiling water until their skin peeled off, shocked prisoners with cattle prods, and kneed pregnant female prisoners in the stomach. Today nine leading civil rights groups are telling the Supreme Court that, when victims are subjected to torture at this level, a 1996 federal law does not require judges to reduce jury awards of victim compensation in such cases by 25%.

Community activists demand to be part of the Chicago police reform effort

Relatives of those killed in police shootings as well as community activists called on both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday to include them in Chicago police reform efforts, saying they feared their voices would be lost.

MacArthur Justice Center Urges Court to Uphold Arpaio's Conviction

Amicus brief filed with the US District Court of Arizona argues that Trump’s pardon is both invalid and unconstitutional because it eviscerates judicial power to enforce constitutional rights

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