Many people accept violence between prisoners as an every-day facet of life for incarcerated individuals. Some even argue that such violence should be tolerated as part of the punishment for committing a crime. While these issues often remain unaddressed by policy-makers and prison officials, the Eighth Amendment provides recourse for certain individuals who have been the victim of violence at the hands of another inmate. An Eighth Amendment claim for failing to protect an inmate from violence is difficult to bring. However, a recent decision, Lane v. Philbin shows that these causes of action remain viable in the Eleventh Circuit. The Lane case reversed a lower court which had granted a prisoner's motion to dismiss.
Recently, our office had the pleasure of assisting a man who was seeking presidential clemency for a non-violent drug offense. We were shocked to find out later that this man was a war hero who had been sentenced prior to the amendments to U.S.S.G. §5H1.11 which allowed military service to be considered in determining whether a departure is warranted. With the client's permission, we would like to share with you an excerpted portion of the clemency package we prepared on his behalf, along with the video we shot at our office on Veteran's day.