TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Katharine Heriges on Apr 9, 2019
A federal appeals court last week said inmates had a right to sue a judge who shortened people's jail sentences if they agreed to get vasectomies or other forms of birth control, the Tennessean reports. The lawsuit, filed in 2017, said White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe and Judge Sam Benningfield violated the constitution by allowing inmates to get 30 days off a jail term if they agreed to a birth control implant or vasectomy. A federal district court judge said the lawsuit was rendered moot after the state passed a new law banning such deals. But the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, because the inmates who sued still stood to benefit from the 30-day credit they were denied because they refused to participate in the deal. The appeals court also said the inmates had standing to sue, suggesting the White County practice violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.