Updated - February 27, 2019
Garza v. Idaho (U.S. Supreme Court)Access to Courts
Attorney: Amir Ali On February 27, 2019, the MacArthur Justice Center obtained a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in Garza v. Idaho. In an opinion written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court recognized that a criminal defendant has the constitutional right to an appeal where his defense attorney improperly forfeited it, and...
Filed - January 23, 2018
Updated - June 28, 2018
Lozman v. City of Riviera BeachRights of Protesters
In Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, the MacArthur Justice Center stood up for the rights of protesters in an amicus brief, showing that the mere existence of probably cause does not justify an arrest in retaliation for speech. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, holding 8-1 that at least in some circumstances, probable cause does not excuse a retaliatory arrest.
Filed - December 27, 2017
Williams v. Louisiana (U.S. Supreme Court)Wrongful Conviction
Corey Williams was wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder as an intellectually disabled 16-year old child, and spent 20 years in Louisiana prison for a crime that he did not commit. We represented Mr. Williams in a petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court and obtained his immediate release from prison through a settlement with the State of Louisiana.
Filed - March 2, 2018
Updated - March 2, 2018
Williamson v. Stirling (Fourth Circuit)Solitary Confinement
Following an order from then-Governor Nikki Haley, Mr. Williamson was transferred from general population in a county jail to solitary confinement in a South Carolina prison after he engaged in misconduct while awaiting trial. Mr. Williamson was not provided notice or a hearing prior to the transfer and was not provided process during the three...
Filed - November 20, 2017
Updated - January 25, 2018
Finley v. Huss (Sixth Circuit)Solitary Confinement
Mr. Finley suffers from severe mental illness, which compels him to swallow razor blades and engage in other acts of self-harm. After he swallowed—but did not pass—a razor blade, prison officials subjected him to solitary confinement, apparently because the blade lodged in his esophagus constituted dangerous contraband. A prison psychiatrist informed corrections personnel that solitary...
Filed - July 26, 2017
Updated - January 24, 2018
Lacaze v. Louisiana (U.S. Supreme Court)Wrongful Conviction
The MacArthur Justice Center filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of Louisiana death-row inmate Rogers Lacaze, challenging his conviction based on serious issues of juror misconduct and judicial bias. Our brief laid out the split among the circuit courts and state courts of highest resort on these issues and urged the...
Updated - October 17, 2017
Sanders v. Melvin (Seventh Circuit)Solitary Confinement
Prior to being incarcerated, Mr. Sanders was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. In prison, he was designated Seriously Mentally Ill. Nevertheless, for nearly ten years, Mr. Sanders was held in solitary confinement. As a result, his mental health deteriorated, he self-mutilated, and he attempted suicide. In 2016, Mr. Sanders filed a pro se lawsuit in which...
Filed - July 17, 2017
Priest v. Holbrook (Ninth Circuit)Freedom of Expression and Belief
Like many Native Americans, David Priest believes that eagle feathers are sacred and central to his faith. Recognizing the centrality of eagle feathers to the spiritual practices of some Native Americans, the United States Department of the Interior will provide them with 20 such feathers—but only once during one’s life. Mr. Priest, a prisoner in...
Filed - August 1, 2018
Sherman and Rafferty v. Trumball County (Sixth Circuit)Jail and Prison Conditions
Sexual abuse is rampant in American prisons and jails, supervisors often turn a blind eye to it, and incarcerated men and women who complain about sexual abuse face all manner of retaliation at the hands of their jailers. The MacArthur Justice Center filed an amicus brief, arguing that when an officer directs a detainee or prisoner to perform sexual acts for his gratification, it is offensive and absurd to call the encounter “consensual.”
Filed - July 20, 2018
United States v. Joseph Arpaio (Amicus Brief)Abdication of Civil Rights Oversight
The MacArthur Justice Center filed a brief challenging the pardon, supporting the guilty verdict against Arpaio, and arguing for the appointment of an independent attorney in the Arizona federal court. The Ninth Circuit granted the request by a coalition including the MacArthur Justice Center to appoint private counsel to the case because the Trump administration failed to defend the verdict against Arpaio.
Filed - September 11, 2017