Legal Challenge to Virginia Death Row Inmate Conditions Revived

Mar 27, 2017

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging conditions on Virginia's death row.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the lower court improperly dismissed a case brought by five condemned inmates.

The lower court said the case was resolved because prison officials had eased restrictions and granted death row inmates more privileges, including more recreation time.

But the condemned inmates' lawyers fear the changes won't stick; they want the courts to forbid the state from reinstating what they consider to be "dehumanizing conditions."

The 4th Circuit reversed the lower court ruling, saying prison officials have not guaranteed they won't re-impose these conditions on men awaiting execution.