BATON ROUGE, LA – The Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Attorney General Jeff Landry today
in deciding that the United States Constitution does not require Louisiana to
provide air conditioning in the cells of three death row inmates.
“The State’s argument in this case has been that the inmates’ Eighth Amendment rights were not violated,” said General Landry. “We are pleased that the Fifth Circuit categorically rejected the inmates’ claims, ruling that the Constitution does not require air conditioning for them. The Constitution does not require prisons to be comfortable; it requires them to be humane.”
In June 2013, three death row inmates filed a complaint demanding air conditioning in their cells. A lower court ruled in favor of the inmates’ claim that their rights were violated and ordered the State to reduce the heat index to a temperature of at or below 88 degrees during the summer months.
General Landry’s office, on behalf of the Department of Corrections, filed an appeal of this decision with the Fifth Circuit arguing, among other things, that the Fifth Circuit had already taken air conditioning off the table for these death row inmates. Today, the Fifth Circuit agreed, reversing and sending the case back to the lower court.
“I applaud my Solicitor General Elizabeth Murrill, Deputy Solicitor General Colin Clark, Assistant Attorney General Winston White, as well as Mary Roper and Jeffrey Cody with the Shows, Cali & Walsh firm for their steadfast dedication to this case,” said General Landry.