Updated - December 17, 2018

Chandler v. State of Mississippi

Juvenile Offenders
Joey Chandler committed murder in 2003, when he was 17. He is currently in prison in Mississippi, serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole. If any juvenile offender can demonstrate rehabilitation, it is Joey Chandler. His disciplinary record over more than a decade of his incarceration has been virtually spotless. He has availed...

Filed - August 15, 2018

Updated - May 25, 2018

Virginia Department of Corrections v. Jordan and Chase (Fourth Circuit)

Death Penalty
Unlike Missouri and Georgia, Virginia provided some, but not all, documents in response to subpoena. But they would not allow depositions of their staff for use in the Mississippi trial in Jordan v. Hall. The Virginia DOC moved to quash the subpoena issued by our clients. After briefing but without oral argument, the District Court...

Filed - February 21, 2017

Updated - April 26, 2018

Brown v. Corinth

Cash Bail
The MacArthur Justice Center, in partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), filed a federal class action lawsuit targeting the City of Corinth, Mississippi for operating a modern-day debtors’ prison, unlawfully jailing poor people for their inability to pay bail and fines. As a result of the settlement, the City will ensure that defendants arrested without a warrant see a judge within 48 hours, will stop jailing defendants who cannot afford to pay a fine or money bail, will release most people on their own recognizance following arrest, and will allow defendants who are unable to pay their fine in full to choose between a $25 monthly payment plan and community service.

Filed - December 6, 2017

Updated - October 18, 2017

Georgia Department of Corrections v. Jordan and Chase

Death Penalty
Georgia has executed 17 prisoners with a pentobarbital-only protocol since Jordan v. Hall was filed in April 2015. In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, we served a subpoena for documents and testimony on the Georgia Department of Corrections. The Georgia DOC moved to quash the subpoena, arguing that its execution secrecy statute...

Filed - June 14, 2016

Updated - June 28, 2017

Burks v. Scott County

Cash Bail
The MacArthur Justice Center, the ACLU and the ACLU of Mississippi filed a class action lawsuit against Scott County (Mississippi) sheriff, district attorney, and judges after learning that the Scott County Detention Center has held people for as long as a year without appointing counsel and without indicting them. A settlement was reached in June 2018 which ended this practice by appointing public defenders at arrest.

Filed - September 24, 2014

Updated - May 22, 2017

Missouri Department of Corrections v. Jordan and Chase

Death Penalty
The MacArthur Justice Center served a subpoena for documents and deposition testimony on the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) on May 31, 2016. The subpoena sought to obtain facts on Missouri’s use of pentobarbital in executions. This included identification of the supplier of this drug, and documents or testimony explaining why Missouri chose to replace...

Filed - June 9, 2016

Updated - June 20, 2016

Bell v. City of Jackson

Cash Bail
The landmark settlement of this federal class action against the City of Jackson, Mississippi, brought an end to that city’s self-described “pay or stay” system that sent hundreds of people to jail each year because they could not pay fines and fees in misdemeanor cases. The City has agreed to give indigent defendants the choice...

Filed - October 13, 2015

Cook v. Mississippi (U.S. Supreme Court)

Jerrard Cook was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a crime he committed soon while seventeen years old. We argue in the Supreme Court of the United States that Mr. Cook should be resentenced to life in prison—but with the possibility of parole—because every juvenile, even those convicted of serious crimes, have the potential for rehabilitation and a productive, meaningful life. In fact, a court-appointed forensic psychologist testified that Mr. Cook “did not appear to be one of those . . . rare offenders who couldn’t be rehabilitated.”

Filed - July 20, 2018

City of Pearl Youth Court

Unlawful Fees and Fines
In August 2016, a young African-American woman was traveling through Pearl, Mississippi while looking for employment.  She was a passenger in a friend’s car, and her baby rode with them in a car seat.  When the car was stopped for a minor traffic violation, it was discovered that both adults had outstanding warrants for routine...

Filed - October 26, 2017

Jordan v. Mississippi

Death Penalty
Richard Jordan was first convicted and sentenced to death for capital murder in 1976. He has thus spent over 41 years incarcerated for the same crime. The initial judgment against him was vacated because Mississippi followed a form of capital murder proceeding held invalid by the Supreme Court in 1976. He was convicted and sentenced...