Lawsuit by underage prisoners thrown out on technicality

The Michigan Court of Appeals struck down a major class action lawsuit.

It was filed by juvenile prisoners they claimed they are being raped and nothing is done to stop it.

"They were raped in prison and now they are not going to get their day in court," said Dan Korobkin, American Civil Liberties Union legal director.

A Michigan Appellate Court, in a 2 to 1 decision, said that prisoners have no right to sue if they've been sexually assaulted while in prison.

"When someone brings basic human rights violations to a court - rather than get the case dismissed on a technicality - the attorney general should be trying to figure out what happened," Korobkin said. "

Seven male child prisoners under the age of 18 were allegedly put in prison with adult prisoners.

According to their lawsuit, those minors said they were repeatedly raped by the adult male prisoners and some were sexually assaulted by Michigan Department of Corrections staff. 

And that technicality was the court said these minors failed to disclose how many other lawsuits they filed in the past, and that technicality means their case was thrown out.                    

The Department of Corrections issued this statement: "The department is thankful and hopes this case will come to a swift end. This case has been defended at a great cost to taxpayers. While we take these allegations very seriously, the department feels that the allegations that rampant sexual abuse was taking place in our prisons, is false."

Korobkin said that in a civilized society we shouldn't carve out an unpopular group and say you don't deserve any human rights.

The case was thrown out of state court but the same child prisoners brought the same case in federal court alleging violations of federal law.

"You make sure when there's a basic human right being violated," said Korobkin. "That they have their day in court."