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The Seventh Circuit evenly split on an en banc petition this week, five to five in Johnson v. Prentice, No. 18-3535. The tie vote meant the panel decision stood, and thus the Court would not hear the case en banc. The issue generated a concurrence from Judge Michael Scudder and a passionate dissent from Judge Diane Wood. At issue was whether the district court erred in awarding summary judgment to Defendants who kept the Plaintiff Michael Johnson in solitary confinement in hazardous cells for twenty-four hours a day for four years. The district court found no Eighth Amendment violation, and a panel of the Seventh Circuit affirmed. Prisoner Michael Johnson’s efforts for a rehearing en banc fell one vote short. Judge Wood in her dissent from the denial of the rehearing en banc argued the panel decision “sends the message that an inmate who behaves as badly as Johnson did is now fair game for torture, or starvation, or medical neglect, or wholesale deprivation of exercise. The Eighth Amendment assures that minimal human standards cannot be compromised.

About the Author
Christopher Keleher clerked for the Hon. William J. Bauer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  This unique opportunity provided Mr. Keleher with an invaluable understanding of the inner workings of an appellate court.  He saw what persuades judges and what does not, and utilizes this knowledge every time he writes an appellate brief. The Keleher Appellate Law Group handles all phases of appellate litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Read more here.