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Fri Apr 24, 2020, 03:55 AM

Judge dismisses suit seeking releases from federal prison with COVID-19 outbreak

On Wednesday evening a federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit that was aimed at getting medically vulnerable prisoners released from the federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, where seven prisoners have died from the coronavirus.

Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that he did not have the authority to mandate releases or home confinement, and that doing so would make the court a “de facto ‘super’ warden of Oakdale.”

The lawsuit, filed by the ACLU on behalf of the prisoners at the facility, had argued that medically-vulnerable prisoners — which they defined as anyone over the age of 50, or with a range of pre-existing medical conditions — should be released from the prison, and that being incarcerated while the virus was spreading in the facility violated their Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment.

In a press release, Bruce Hamilton, an attorney at the ACLU of Louisiana, encouraged the federal Bureau of Prisons to move forward with releases despite the judge’s ruling.

Read more: https://thelensnola.org/2020/04/23/judge-dismisses-suit-seeking-releases-from-federal-prison-with-covid-19-outbreak/

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