Legal Feature


Thomas Porter v. Harold W. Clarke: amicus brief



January 25, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. —The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments today challenging “dehumanizing” conditions in Virginia prisons. In asking the federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit on behalf of Virginia death-row inmates who were held in “dehumanizing” conditions of isolation, The Rutherford Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union joined forces in support of the prisoners, arguing that tactical policy changes adopted by the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) in order to sidestep court-mandated legal obligations (the practice of “tactical mooting”) leave prisoners at greater risk of having harsh conditions re-imposed upon them.

Affiliate attorneys David W. DeBruin, Carrie F. Apfel, Kelly M. Morrison, and Jeffrey A. Atteberry, of Jenner & Block, LLP, in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles assisted The Rutherford Institute and the ACLU in presenting the arguments in the Porter amicus brief.