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ACLU files federal suit against corrections center

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Marion County Community Corrections Center in Indianapolis, alleging the facility's conditions violate the Constitution and threaten health and safety of inmates.

Filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court ;s Southern District in Indianapolis, the suit alleges that conditions at 147 E. Maryland St. remain deplorable despite improvements made in past months and more planned on the horizon. Specifically, the suit cites overcrowding and an Indiana Department of Correction report released in January that detailed leaking sewage, mold in the ventilation system, and security concerns. Inmate population has also been decreased from 340 to about 200.

Some of those issues have been addressed, but ACLU-IN legal director Ken Falk said the improvements to the 100-year-old facility are not enough and have happened too slowly.

The suit seeks class-action certification but is on behalf of inmate Anthony Buford-Lewis III, who's been incarcerated there since Feb. 2 for a probation violation on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. The suit claims he has been exposed to these "dangerous conditions" but also notes he is expected to be released next week.

This is the latest in a string of suits filed by the ACLU-IN regarding jail conditions. One filed in January on behalf of Grant County inmates claims the county jail is understaffed and overcrowding has contributed to fights and decreased safety. That suit is pending in the Fort Wayne division of the U.S. District Court's Northern District of Indiana.

According to the ACLU-IN Web site, at least six similar overcrowding or jail condition suits are ongoing or have been recently settled from counties that include Gibson, Elkhart, Knox, Brown, and Vanderburgh counties. The organization reports that it continues monitoring those situations to ensure compliance.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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