Faegre Drinker—in partnership with Albuquerque-based Law Office of Ryan J. Villa, the ACLU of New Mexico, the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and several incarcerated individuals—filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of New Mexico for failing to protect the lives and constitutional rights of people housed in the state’s prison system.
The lawsuit, which was announced during a press conference on Aug. 24, 2020, seeks to reduce the number of people incarcerated in New Mexico prisons to enhance safety and to ensure the State immediately implements safe social distancing, heightened hygiene practices, and proper medical treatment to protect incarcerated people from the ongoing threat of Covid-19.
"Regrettably, many who are incarcerated or who were incarcerated lost their lives – and the point of this lawsuit is that many, many more are at risk of losing theirs," Faegre Drinker attorney Chris Casolaro said during the press conference covered by KOB4. "So our goal is to require action by state officials that will limit the suffering, limit the loss of life and put an end to their ongoing constitutional violations."
Faegre Drinker attorneys John Mandler and Chris Casolaro are leading the Faegre Drinker team, which includes Katie Gray, Anthony Finnell, Rachel Burkhart, Mary Hershewe, Andrew Jackson, Katrina Kelly, Allie Lakshmanan, Becca Smith, Sharena Smith, Heather Strack and Stephanie Gigliotti.