John M. Humphrey and Clifford A. Rieders were each awarded the Karl and Isabelle Patten Award by the Lewisburg Prison Project. The organization was celebrating its 40th anniversary in Sunbury at the Packard House. Humphrey is of counsel, and Rieders is a partner in the Law Firm of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Harris, Waters, Waffenschmidt and Dohrmann.
The award is in recognition for "following in the footsteps of Isabelle and Karl Patten who inspire us all with their lifetime of standing up for oppressed people here and everywhere." Lewisburg Prison Project was established 40 years ago to address conditions of confinement and other problems faced by inmates primarily at the Lewisburg Penitentiary, but also at other federal and state prisons in central Pennsylvania.
Humphrey was praised for his pro bono work on Jordan v. Arnold, addressing serious deficiencies in ventilation, sanitary conditions, exercise and punishment of prisoners without due process of law at the Lewisburg Penitentiary. As a result of the prison's non-compliance with the federal court order entered in that case, following a three-week hearing also handled by Humphrey, the warden of the Lewisburg Penitentiary became the first warden in the United States to be held in contempt of court.
Rieders handled the case of The Lewisburg Prison Project v. Fenton, where a federal court jury found that the warden violated the constitutional rights of the Lewisburg Prison Project by trying to interfere with its grant from the Catholic charity, Campaign for Human Development. The jury found that the conduct of the warden was outrageous and entitled the project to punitive damages. Rieders also handled that case on a pro bono basis.
Both attorneys handled the case of Ferri v. United States, which officially gained legal recognition and sanction for the Lewisburg Prison Project as a result of a trailblazing consent decree.
The lawyers have been longtime friends, colleagues and counsel in significant litigation. Both Humphrey and Rieders spoke of the enduring influence of Karl and Isabelle Patten, as well as Bridgette Cooke and other founders of the organization.
The annual event of the Lewisburg Prison Project was accompanied by a silent auction to help raise funds for the non-governmental, nonprofit Lewisburg Prison Project.