By Allie Winter, LAW WEEK COLORADO
DENVER — A lawsuit seeking to release a federal prisoner from a Supermax isolation cell was given approval to move forward in the U.S. District Court for Colorado thanks to legal pressure from a DU Law team.
Professor Laura Rovner and students from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Civil Rights Clinic have been working to get inmate Tommy Silverstein out of an isolation cell in the Supermax prison in Florence, Colo. Silverstein is said to have been held in solitary longer than any other person in modern prison history, beating out the “Birdman of Alcatraz,” Robert Stroud.
Rovner and her students sued the federal Bureau of Prisons on Silverstein’s behalf, requesting injunctive relief allowing him out of isolation. They also sued to get the court to require Supermax officials to go through due process of law if they ever tried to put Silverstein back in isolation. The Bureau of Prisons sought to have the case dismissed in federal court.
A ruling by U.S. District Judge Phil Brimmer on Wednesday dismissed several individuals from financial claims on the due process complaint, but upheld Silverstein’s right to proceed with his request for injunctive relief releasing him from the Supermax isolation cell.